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?