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Looking Back: Hawkey Playah.

It’s a balmy 8 degrees in Rhode Island this morning, and we’re snapping icicles off of everything by the dozen.  Going out into the driveway and attempting to get into the car becomes an accidental hockey rink.  Which reminded me of the time a lady caught me changing my infusion set in a restaurant bathroom and then talking about her “hawkey playah” brother who had type 1, as well.  Which brings me to this throwback post from 2011.  Which brings me to the end of this intro paragraph.  Hi!

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I clicked the button on my Dexcom receiver and saw a “212 mg/dl” with two arrows pointed straight on up.  This was the third effortless high in as many hours, and I was convinced my pump site had crapped out.

“I am going to run to the bathroom.  I need to switch out my site,” I said to Chris, moving my napkin from my lap to the table.  “Do you mind sitting here …”

“At this giant hibachi table all by myself?  Sure,” he grinned, gesturing towards all the empty seats.

“I know.  I hope this table fills up while I’m gone.  Otherwise this is going to be awkward, just us and the hibachi chef guy.”  I patted his shoulder as I stood up from the table, the small, gray inset tucked into my hand.

I am not a fan of doing site changes outside of the comfort of my home. When I’m at home, I prefer to put the new infusion set, insulin cartridge, the bottle of Humalog, and any other necessary accoutrements on the bathroom counter.  I like looking in the mirror to see where the site is going to end up, because I have specific preferences as to where it lines up with the waistband of my pants or the sleeves of my shirts.  Picky little parsnip that I am, I like putting my new sites on in a measured manner.

So when it became clear that my pump site has conked out on me and needed to be changed immediately, my first thought was “thank goodness I carry a purse big enough to throw a spare set into” and then “Oh shoot – now I have to do this in the public bathroom?”

I went into the ladies’ room and was greeted by very dark lighting, two large stalls, and no bathroom counter.  (The sink appeared to be suspended in midair.  I think it was deliberately trying to mess with me.)  I casually went to the stall and disconnected the infusion set from my arm.  The cannula was piped with blood, so I knew it was definitely uncooperative.  I set the pump to start rewinding, and the BUZZZZZZ of the pump motor echoed in the empty bathroom.

“Man, that never sounds so loud at home,” I said to myself.  “Awesome.”

I finished disconnecting and rewinding/priming the pump, and I stepped into the hand-washing area of the bathroom so I could use the mirror to line up my new site.  I pulled up the back of my shirt enough to see my hip, and then placed the inset against my skin.

And then bathroom door opened and a friendly-looking woman came in, just in time to see me pressing the buttons on the inset, pushing the infusion set needle into the skin on the top of my hip.

“Oh, I’m sorry!” she said.  “I didn’t mean to interrupt … what … whatever you’re doing.”

“No worries.”  I felt a little embarrassed – nothing like being caught with your shirt all gathered and a needle in your side.  “I am a diabetic and I have to fix my insulin pump.  I needed to use the mirror … it’s totally a medical thing.”  The words flapped out of my mouth like spastic birds.

She walked over to get a better look at what I was doiThis is a wicked hawkey playah.ng.  “Insulin pump?  My brother is a diabetic.  Has been for almost twenty years.  He’s forty and just got married.  I’m having dinner with him right now!”  She smiled and gestured towards my pump.  “I wish he’d go on that thing.  He’s been doing shots for like … evah.  He has thought about a pump but he hasn’t done it yet.”

“Whatever keeps you healthy is best, right?”  The new infusion set shot in with a quiet shunk, and I tucked the pump back into the pocket of my jeans after taking a correction bolus.

“True.  He’s done this for a long time.  He and his wife are talking about having kids.  Do you have kids?  Can you have kids?”

I have a nine month old.  She’s happy and healthy.  And so am I.”

The woman put her hand to her heart.  “Oh doll, that’s wonderful.  I hope my brother can have kids.  He’d be a good dad.  But if he goes on a pump like you’ve got there, he’ll have to be careful with it.  Gettin’ it knocked around, you know?  He’s a wicked hawkey playah.”

“Hockey is awesome.  Give your brother my best, okay?”

Back out in the dining room, a quick look at the Dexcom showed me that the correction bolus was working, and that the new site was on track.  And from across the crowded room, I saw the woman sitting at a table with her group, the wicked hawkey playah at her side.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Interesting anecdote! I wonder if it would be easier to be on MDI if you’re an avid hockey player. Hockey is, after all, a physical sport. Also, you’d be sweating a lot, which causes problems with the adhesive on pumps.

    01/30/14; 10:51 am
  2. Being a hockey player (a bad one, not a wicked one) was possibly the #1 reason I was so reluctant to go on the pump. Only until my wife and I decided to start a family did I decide that my health was more important than my hockey, so I took the plunge and went for it.

    A few years later, I wonder how he’s doing. There are some pro-hockey player-pumpers that inspired (and still inspire) me…

    01/30/14; 10:52 am
  3. “The words flapped out of my mouth like spastic birds.” : )

    01/30/14; 12:02 pm
  4. Don’t you love interactions like this with strangers? Just to be able to connect and know someone a little. And the “words flapped out of my mouth like spastic birds” line is stellar!

    01/31/14; 9:42 am

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