Embrace Your Friends Who Can Embrace Your Diabetes
When & Where: A recent night out spent with good friends at a crowded bar with great pizza and excellent Chianti.
I test, I bolus, and indulge in pizza, the likes of which will shake my taste buds to their very core- not to mention my blood sugars. The two slices I devour are thicker than I’m comfortable with, but it’s a special occasion and I’m going to enjoy every aspect of it.
An hour goes by and the pizza’s long gone. I excuse myself, grab my bag, and go to the bathroom. I wash my hands carefully - like a Dr. prepping for surgery - removing any remnants of the pizza’s DNA. I take out a new lance (a rarity in itself) and test - 230. Not terrible. Not great, but according to my pump, no correction bolus needed. I can live with 230 for now - but can my friends?
I slink back into the dining room and take my seat at the table filled with friends - all type 3’s. I smile and join in the simultaneous conversations about El Nino and the havoc it’s brought over the winter and the pros and cons regarding Lady GaGa. For the record, I’m a fan.
I look around the table at this group of people I’ve known for years. These are people who have stood by me through thick and thin, and who have learned all about diabetes, carb counting, and potential complications on my behalf. These are the people who know that it’s easier for me to bolus for cupcakes then it is for pasta. They accept and love me unconditionally; imperfect pancreas and all, and I feel the same way about them.
Like anyone who loves me, they have their diabetes concerns and they voice them. And I understand why they worry – I worry myself.
One of my oldest friends (lets call her Ella Fitzgerald,) is sitting directly to my left asks quietly: Everything OK? You need anything?
Me: Nope, I’m fine, couldn’t be better.
Ella Fitzgerald: So, that was some pretty tasty pizza- but it had a really thick crust and I know that doesn’t always work for you. What’s your blood sugar?
Me: What was the number the last time you stepped on the scale?
Ella Fitzgerald: Come on Kel…
Me: Ella, relax. Why do you need to know?
Ella Fitzgerald: Because I’m your friend, I want to make sure your OK, and if your numbers are high, I’m going to feel like a total bitch for suggesting this place.
Me: OK, I confess- I just took my blood sugar and it was a whopping 230 an hour after eating pizza, but it’s OK El, I expected that and my insulin pump and I had a meeting and we have things under control.
Ella Fitzgerald: Crap Kel, I’m sorry! I knew we should have gone to Robert’s (another bar/restaurant) for wings instead.
Me: High blood sugars happen and this isn’t high because of the unknown, I just ate pizza. I’m not feeling guilty for indulging in two slices of pizza and a glass (or two) of red wine and neither should you - it's OK.
And then I thought about our friendship. Ella had my friend since the first day of college. She’d been there through family funerals, bad break-ups, major moves, my obsession with Seinfeld, and everything since.
Ella is the friend who always has a roll of spearmint LifeSavers in her handbag just incase I need them, and she’s never once told me not to eat something (not once) all the years we’ve been friends.
She’s taken the time to learn and go with the diabetes flow 98% of the time we’ve been friends. Was I going to fault her for the 2% freak out, or would I take a step back and take the time to understand the reason behind it?
Then she smiled and said: I’m sorry I’m acting like the Diabetes Police Kelly. I just worry sometimes. I know you’ve got a handle on things- but I can’t help it, your one of my best friends.
Me: Do you know how impressed I am that you used the term “Diabetes Police” correctly in a sentence? You’ve been hanging around with me way to long, you’ve got the D lingo down like a pro!
Look, I know you worry and I know the reasons why. And you know that if I had a problem, diabetes or otherwise, I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you. And I know you’d if you had a problem or issue, you’d come to me- or at least I hope you would.
Good friends lookout for each other, diabetes or not.