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Magic Kingdom, Magic Bathrooms.

“Is that an insulin pump?”

I was standing outside of the stall in a bathroom in Tomorrowland, waiting for my daughter to wash her hands.

“Yes, on my arm here?  Yes, it is.”  I pointed to the infusion set on my right arm, the tubing snaking back up my sleeve into my dress.

“Oh!”  The lady smiled really big, relieved.  “Do you mind if I show my son when he comes out of the stall?  He’s five – was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was three.”

“Of course!”

The bathroom continued being a bathroom for a minute more, then her son came out.

“Henry, this lady is wearing an insulin pump.  Remember I told you about those?  Look, it goes right into her arm here!”

His little face was so little, just a few years older than my own son, a few years younger than my daughter.

“Hi, Henry.  I’m Kerri.  I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was seven.  This insulin pump is what I use instead of shots to take my insulin.  Want to see?”

He nodded.

“This is the little spot where the insulin goes in, and this tube connects here,” I pulled my pump out so he could see it.  “And the insulin is stored in here.”

Henry’s mom smiled.  “I was telling you about this!”  She turned to me.  “I was telling him about this.”

“If you touch this screen, it lights up.  Want to try it?”

His face broke into a grin.  I showed him how to tap the 1 … 2 … 3 buttons on my t:slim X2 to wake it up.  “If I wanted to take some insulin to have a snack, I’d press this button, tell it what to give me, and then I’d be all set!”

I turned to his mom.  “Are you guys here for the conference?”

She looked confused.  “What conference?”

Showing her the green bracelet on my arm, I explained that we had just spent the week at Friends for Life, hanging out with friends and making diabetes feel commonplace for a few days.  “So many families go.  Some parents bring their kids who have diabetes.  And in my case, I’m the one with diabetes, so I bring my kid to meet other kids of parents with diabetes.”

(This whole conversation is taking place while our kids are washing their hands and playing with the hand dryers.)

Before the next stall could flush, we’d figured out that we lived close-ish to one another, and that we had some common stomping grounds.  At my urging, Henry’s mom opened my phone and started an email to herself.

“I’ll send you an email after we leave the park with some details on the conference.  And if you have any questions about insulin pumps or connecting Henry with other kids who have diabetes, or anything at all about anything, I’d be so happy to connect,” I said.

All hands washed, we shook them, laughing about the awkwardness of meeting in a bathroom.  And then I sent my now-new favorite email intro ever, opening with, “We just met in the bathroom at Magic Kingdom (great way to start an email, right?) and I wanted to email you right away.

A few days ago, I heard from Maggie.  Our bathroom connection has come full circle.  Advocacy can happen anywhere: in a conference hall, on an airplane, in the grocery store.  Even in a bathroom at Disney World, our community is flush with connection and possibility.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Michelle #

    That’s wonderful!! My son used to get embarrassed when I’d approach PWD’s to see “pumps int he wild” but a few weeks ago he had the tables turned and he didn’t find it not embarrassing at all.

    He was at Six Flags with his sister and they were riding a 4 person ride. A random mom and son got put in their ride vehicle, and as the ride was starting the mom was giving my son a few weird looks. When the ride ended, the mom asked “is that a CGM, and a pump? my son has diabetes too” my son happily showed the little boy the CGM and his pump and he didn’t find it embarrassing at all. I wish they had exchanged names so that I could have gotten the mom more info or connections to other people.

    07/18/17; 6:34 pm
  2. Stephanie #

    Hi Kerri, I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now. I remember reading a post and you had said something along the lines of “Just because you have a crappy BG level, dosn’t mean you are a crappy person. It’s your pancreases fault, not yours” I remember at the time how LIFE changing that statement was for me. To realize I don’t need to feel guilt or shame if I have a bad BG day.
    You had told this lady in the post you could help her connect with other diabetics and such, do you have any connections in Canada? Hearing about FFL and meeting so many people that just “get it” sounds wonderful, but there dosn’t seem to be anything like that where I live (closest major city being Vancouver BC)
    Any suggestions?
    diagnosed type 1 ’95, pump ’05, CGM ’14

    07/18/17; 6:36 pm
  3. Melanie E. #

    “Flush” with connection and possibility. hehe I see what you did there. Great story!

    07/18/17; 7:05 pm
  4. OMG, I was diagnosed while at Disney World in 1974. So when I read Magic Kingdom, Magic Bathrooms, it brought back very bad memories. I am glad it was not that.

    Now the good part of my DX story? I occasionally use the hashtag, #Disneygavemediabetes and #Heydisneyyouowemeavacation. So far no response.

    07/18/17; 9:32 pm
  5. Melissa Anderson #

    Hi Kerri!

    We have a Magic Kingdom FFL bathroom story, too! Three years ago, when we first went to Friends for Life, we started with a day at the Magic Kingdom before the conference began. It was Howard, our 3 kids, my parents and my friend’s daughter who also has T1D.

    Just before leaving the park, the girls and I stopped in the restroom. As I came out of the stall, I found a woman speaking with my friend’s 13-year-old daughter asking what was on her arm (her Dexcom). Turns out that woman had a 3-year-old son waiting out front who also had T1D.

    My daughter and my friend’s daughter went out to greet him and you should have seen the look on that little boy’s face when the girls each pulled out Medtronic pumps that perfectly matched his Medtronic pump!

    He then told us in adorable 3-year-old speak that he got M&Ms for site changes and whenever he went potty in the toilet. It was a beautiful thing.

    And that family didn’t know about Friends for Life either.

    07/19/17; 1:23 am
  6. Wendy #

    We ran into so many diabetics in the wild this year at FFL. One lady was from Scotland read back of my shirt from last years FFL. She said are missing cell novo. Then showed us her liber and cell novo pump. Actually looks pretty cool in someways. Another time was taking bus back to Ranchos 7a, I saw a man who works for a medical supply company in Ohio wearing an Animas ping pump on his hip. They had just came to eat at Coronado. They were not there for conference either.

    07/19/17; 2:59 am
  7. Jennifer Dunton #

    We met you in a bathroom once too! You must do some of your best work in there! 😉 you and my daughter exchanged autographs later.

    07/19/17; 10:39 am

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