Two chance diabetes encounters while traveling two weeks ago. This conversation took place in the lobby of our hotel in Bar Harbor, Maine:
“Excuse me? Is that your bag?”
The lady in the hotel lobby pointed at my tote bag, the one that said Children with Diabetes on it, the yellow smiley face grinning out at her.
“It is,” I said.
“Oh! My daughter has diabetes.” She pointed to the blue JDRF bag near their luggage. Her young daughter waved at me.
“I do, too. I was diagnosed when I was seven.” I pointed to my toddler who was being closely followed around the lobby by his sister. “These two are my little ones.”
“Oh! We saw your bag and assumed that you were in our club somehow. It’s nice to meet you! What’s children with diabetes?”
I explained what Children with Diabetes was and encouraged them to join us in Florida next summer for the Friends for Life conference. “It’s a whole pile of us, pumps hanging out and carbs counted, hanging out and supporting one another,” I said. The little girl smiled and lifted the edge of her shirt to show me her pump belt. “My pump is in here. I was two when I was diagnosed. I’m eleven now.”
“Mine is right … here,” I said, turning my shoulder around so she could see the infusion set on the back of my arm. “And I was seven. I’m … I’m not seven now.” I smiled at her.
“It’s really nice to meet you. We’ll surely run into one another again while we’re here,” said her mom. “And if you need glucose tabs or snacks, I have plenty.”
* * *
Conversations from the pool in Maine
“Hey! We’re twins!”
The lady called out to me from her pool chair, pointing to the Medtronic CGM sensor on her arm, then pointed to the Dexcom sensor on my thigh.
“Hey, yeah!” I had my son in my arms and my daughter was hollering, “Watch my dive!” from across the pool. “Nice sensor! Are you pumping, too?”
“Yeah, the 670 G. But I had an issue where it died when I was on a beach vacation so I don’t wear it on vacations anymore. Is yours waterproof?” she asked, gesturing to the Tandem pump clipped to the shoulder strap of my bathing suit.
“Here’s hoping,” I said, stepping into the pool. “When were you diagnosed?”
“When I was 12. You?”
There was a moment of electric kinship that sparked between us, two moms with our kids at the pool, sporting sensors and talking pump shop and simultaneously acknowledging that diabetes is a Thing but someThing we do so we can do other Things.
Chance encounters … close encounters. Of the pancreatic kind.