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It Started as Just a Cute Story

March 31, 2011
Yesterday was a crazy day.
After dropping Girl Genius off at school, I was over 370.  An hour later after finishing #sweatbetes at the gym, I was 70.  Then 50s.  Then 30s.  Then 50s.  Then 80s.  Then 200s.
This is Coffee
I wasn’t a happy camper.  Except that I was because it was sunny and warm and I get to go skiing at my favorite of all weekends up at Sunday River this weekend.  I would try to talk with Girl Genius and the words coming out of my mouth made no sense whatsoever.  We needed to go to the dry cleaners, and Starbucks is right across the street.  I wanted something, but I’m limiting myself to one cup of coffee per day during Lent, and I knew what I was going to order walking in.  And what did I order?  My usual coffee.  And as we’re driving back, Girl Genius is talking about how Coffee makes his own coffee if we’re not at the house.  When we’re at the dry cleaners, or school, or the grocery store, or this, or that, I just zoned.  It can be mentally challenging to follow the logic of a really smart 4 year old!  And then I hear
“juice. Because he has diabetes too.  And sometimes he goes low.  And he wears an insulin pump like you.  But when he doesn’t have his insulin pump on, he takes shots until we can get to the store to get him another one.”
 
Seriously child?!  I mean, you know I take juice if I’m low.  And you know that when we eat snack or lunch I push buttons on the pump.  But you put all that together for the dog?!  And I know that imaginative play is a way for children to help themselves understand something really complicated.  So not only is she asking questions, noticing my diabetes, paying attention when I talk to her, but she is actively trying to understand it.
And then I’m thinking about it.  And I relate diabetes to a foreign language.  I took Spanish & French in junior high, German in high school and American Sign Language in college.  And I know very little of any of these.  Why?  Because I don’t use them on a regular basis.  Diabetes for nonPWDs must be the same thing.  You hear us get angry, frustrated, and flabbergasted trying to explain diabetes.  But I don’t remember or understand things I don’t use a lot.  So why would people who don’t experience it a lot understand it?  When it comes to explaining diabetes, I am really patient with Girl Genius, because, ya know, she’s four.  But maybe that’s just how it needs to be done.  Answer people’s questions as they have them, not when we want them to know.  Let’s all find a new friend who doesn’t know much about diabetes and through the course of getting to know them better, they’ll know diabetes better, and they’ll be able to correct that third person, and so on.  Baby steps.  I’m taking baby steps.  Who’s with me?
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