Offline encounters…

I’ve gotta be honest… I almost never come across someone living with diabetes in my daily life. Well, maybe I should quantify that: There are 30 million people in the USA living with diabetes, so there’s a pretty good chance I cross paths with one or more of those people every day.

But I don’t see the outward signs of diabetes, like someone testing in public. I never encounter anyone with an insulin pump unless it’s at a diabetes conference or get-together. Not even at my endocrinologist’s office.

That’s why I feel weird when I read about someone’s talk with another pump user, or hear about someone’s impromptu experience helping someone they don’t know through a low. That kind of thing just simply does not happen in my life.

I used to think I wasn’t looking hard enough. That these moments, these people, were out there waiting to be discovered, and I was somehow missing them in my singular focus to go from point A to point B.

But… no. That’s not the case. Even when I thought I found someone using a pump, it turned out to be an iPod or something similar. From time to time, I’ve come across used lancets or test strips that someone’s discarded, but it’s been a couple of years since I can even remember seeing something like that.

Of course, there could be any number of reasons for this. I’m not even going to go into them here. It just seems like a waste of space.

Thinking about this makes me remember that I’ve wanted to start a local in-person meetup for some time. No, it hasn’t happened. I don’t know if it will happen this year even, but I’m thinking I really need something. Because my sense of connection to my fellow People With Diabetes seems to feel less connected at times, then punctuated with high notes when conferences or other in-person opportunities present themselves. That’s enough to keep me going, but I feel as though I’m missing out on the obvious benefits that result when pancreatically-challenged people meet and share one-on-one. How do I get more of this in my life? Or, flip side… would more of this make it feel less special?

I don’t know, and I don’t have any answers right now. Also, my life is far from empty. I am meeting new people, working on new things, engaging with PWDs in ways that do not involve speaking face to face. That’s not all bad. In fact, it’s been great.

I just don’t think I have a balance yet. Yeah, maybe balance is what I need to seek. Anyway, that’s how I’m feeling about my offline diabetes life right now. Next post: I’ll talk a little about my online life.

Do you seek out real life opportunities to share with People With Diabetes? Do they just happen? What has been a common thread in how you feel about these encounters?

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  • dougtallman  On July 13, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Stephen —

    I think you’re right. We need more face-to-face encounters with other people living with diabetes. And not the big conference hoedowns, but smaller groups. Maybe like Alcoholics Anonymous, only I don’t think a pancreas will respond to a 12-step program.

    When I was first diagnosed 10 years ago, my county had an office where you could go for diabetes education, for first-timers and for old-timers who wanted a refresher. Plus, they had lots of free samples that could help you navigate through the worthless come-ons to the worthwhile products. It’s disappeared, possibly swallowed by our local hospital, which has its own ideas about educating PWDs.

    Somehow we need to get back to that.



  • cdlefevre85  On July 13, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    You basically just summed up my same feelings. I’ve thought about and tried a couple times to start something up but I don’t even know where to start. I rarely see other PWD either and when I have I’m too intimidated to chat them up. I know I’m not giving any help but I’m hopeful to see how this goes for you because I am in the same boat

    Liked by 1 person

  • Phyllis  On July 13, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Yes! I am all about more programming for adults with T1D. I see people from time to time with insulin pumps — sometimes
    they want to chat, sometimes not. But not a lasting bond, PWD often have.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Scott E  On July 15, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    I also look, and never seem to find. When the family is at the local town pool, I look extra hard — thinking diabetes is more obvious among the “less dressed” — and still never find other D-folk.

    But then I look at myself. I tend to keep myself covered up, so my pump and CGM sites don’t make an appearance. So how can I expect to find someone else with D when I don’t allow them to find me?

    I suppose there’s a bit of karma, or karma-like forces at play. The extent that we camouflage our diabetes in public is directly proportional to the extent that others around us will do the same.

    Liked by 1 person

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