d-convo (#HAWMC day 8)

April 8, 2012

smartDpants (professional, 39 year old woman with type 1 diabetes) sits in a grant-funded project meeting with about 100 other people she has not met before today. Second by second, the large institutional clock at the front of the room ticks away while the project leader speaks to the group.

It is almost noon. smartDpants wonders what her blood sugar is and when she will get to eat lunch.

A woman who looks like she’s in her early 60’s enters the room and looks for a seat. There is an empty seat next to smartDpants. The older woman walks over and settles down in the empty seat.

smartDpants reaches down to her work bag on the floor and pulls her purse into her lap. She removes a OneTouch Ping blood glucose meter, her poker, and a bottle of test strips. She puts a test strip in the meter, pokes her finger, and puts a drop of blood in the strip.

As she has done the last 41,820 times she’s tested her blood sugar, she licks the remaining blood off her poked finger.

The meter reads “86.”

The older woman leans over to smartDpants. As the project leader keeps speaking, the older woman looks kindly at smartDpants and speaks quietly to her.)

Older woman: How are you doing this morning?

smartDpants: I’m doing well, thank you.

(smartDpants thinks to herself: What is she talking about? Just how am I doing in general? Or did she see my meter? Is she talking about my diabetes? Or is she just exchanging pleasantries? How much should I get into this with her? I should really be listening to the speaker. Plus, when are we breaking for lunch? How much insulin do I have on board?)

Older woman: My son has diabetes.  (Glances at the meter.) He doesn’t do so well with it, though. He’s not comfortable with testing in public, and he doesn’t test much at all.

smartDpants: It’s hard to take care of it all the time. I’ve had diabetes for 31 years. I haven’t always done so well with it, and I spent many years barely testing at all.

Older woman: Good for you for testing and taking care of yourself. Keep up the good work. (Smiles.)

(About 10 seconds later, a man in his 60’s, sitting on the other side of smartDpants, points to the MedicAlert bracelet on her left wrist.)

Older man: What’s your bracelet for?

smartDpants: I have type 1 diabetes.

Older man: Diabetes? I have diabetes too–type 2. I’ve had it for about fifteen years.

smartDpants: Oh, really? I’ve had type 1 for 31 years now.

Older man: It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

smartDpants: I know. Me too.

(Older man smiles at smartDpants. A few minutes later, the group breaks for lunch. smartDpants is happy to not have to break out any juicy juice boxes or glucose tabs during the meeting.)

True confession: this d-convo happened last month, but it was such a cool experience that I wanted to be sure to capture it–and where better than this blog, for this post? It was fun to have those 2 moments of connection about diabetes with strangers/allies in the struggle.

This post is for wego Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge. The best conversation I had this week: Try writing script-style (or with dialogue) today to recap an awesome conversation you had this week.

Want more Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge posts: Check out wego Health on Facebook!

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