Thursday, February 15, 2007

Me and The Joshua Tree

Often times I feel compelled to post about a subject that has already been covered by the OC. But sometimes when you have your own personal experience, your story may touch someone differently or click with someone else.

Here is my story.

If you read this blog then you know that I have not known any Type 1’s in my life until recently (that included the OC). The two I have met are both children and are newly diagnosed. The connection I have with them is mostly with their parents as a guide or a sounding board for their concerns. All and all I feel as though I am helping my fellow D-lifers but how sweet would it be to meet like a 20-30 something Type 1? I know many online but none I can “hang out” or go out to dinner with. That would be cool.

Then I hear that a business associate that I talk too all the time is a Type 1! A salesperson came into my office, asked about Master P and after I told them that I am a type 1 they said, “Oh you have Juvenile Die a beat us, so does Karen!”

Woah! I talk to Karen all the time and she is so freaking cool. We have met several times and I know she is getting married. Wow, another 30 something couple that we could get to know! That would be cool. I wonder when she was diagnosed. Does she use a pump and if so, which one? What kind of Glucose Tabs does she use? What’s her A1C? Does she have diabetic shoes? What does her fiancĂ© know about the D? Will she wear the “BE FRI” side of the little half heart necklace or the “ST ENDS?”

I was out of control (or “double O C” which is about as long to type but more fun to say!)

The next day I had a reason to call. I needed to check on a sample order I had emailed her about so I gave her a call.

“Hey Karen, what is happening?”

“Not much dude, how are you?” she replied.

“Good as always. So, Rick was in here the other day and was asking me about my Insulin Pump and he told me that you were a Type 1 too. I didn’t know that.”

“Yeah, I was diagnosed when I was a kid. How old were you when you were diagnosed?”

We chatted for a long time. We shared diagnosis stories. How our significant others deal with it. How much insurance sucks. I even got a plug in about the OC. It was going really well.

“So do you or have you ever gone to a support group or anything like that? I am trying to find one but I can only find Type 2 groups and I feel like I need to hear from other Type 1’s.”

“Nah, that is nothing I am really interested in. I mean, we all know what to do and how to take care of ourselves. Why would I sit around and cry about it with a bunch of other people that ignore what they already know just to have a massive cry fest? That is so pointless. We know what to do so we should just do it, ya know?”

I was not sure how to respond. I was honestly shocked. Was she trying to be helpful? It seemed so cold and honestly made me feel like a completely idiot.

One thing I did figure out is that this is not the kind of person that I could connect with. Not that she is wrong or a bad person or anything like that. I just knew that we could not be friends. I am too connected to emotions and how they effect people to be

“I guess that’s true but man is it hard.” I replied in an unsure voice. “So I need to get a tracking number on that Sample request I sent you the other day.”

I got the info and I never spoke about diabetes again with her.

I respect the fact that some people are open about their diabetes and some are not. I understand that we all deal with things differently and I respect that too. It felt like she did not respect anyone who struggles. She did not understand how anyone could stumble. She could not comprehend why I would need support.

Did I find Wonder Woman?

Well, one thing is for sure...

"I still haven’t found what I’m looking for."

get it?


cassandra said...

That really sucks. What a disappointment.

I have to admit though... About 5 years ago, I was in a similar situation. A guy I knew and was friends with found out that I was a diabetic. Turns out he was too. But, I was not exactly "out of the closet" so to speak, and I didn't really like talking about it with other people. He was so excited to talk to me, but all I could feel was embarrassment, and resentment that he had "discovered" my secret. I brushed him off. And I think I really hurt him.

I feel so bad about it now. And so regretful that I didn't know how much it would have been helpful to have a friend with diabetes. Recently I ran into him again, and tried to bring up diabetes with him, but we probably won't become good diabetes pals now.

I think, for some people, if they have lived their whole lives caring for their diabetes without any fellow supporters, it becomes a bad habit. And opening up takes time. Maybe someday she will find the value of the community too?

I saw U2 Live in their recent Virtigo tour. It was awesome. ^0^

Scott K. Johnson said...

You know something I've found? We all deal with things in our own separate ways.

I too am very emotional about it, and really feel more of a psychological struggle than a physical one (most of the time).

There are others that just do what they gotta do and move on with life.

We need both kinds I think, as well as all the other varieties that are out there.

Kassie said...

even those who acknowledge the struggle sometimes get turned off by the idea of a support group, in the traditional sense.

I'm so bummed she's not your new dia-BFF!

Megan said...

That sucks. Sorry George.

One of my best friends is type 1, and we talk about it a lot and support each other a lot, so I am lucky in that sense.

Allison said...

Karen kind of sounds like my dad. My dad, while concerned and obviously affected by my diagnosis, mostly takes it as is. He doesn't dwell very much on the emotions and instead focused the family to integrated diabetes as much as possible into our lives so that it wasn't this huge emotional disruption. Diabetes was what we did and we dealt with what happened as it came up. We didn't dwell on what could have happened and we didn't dwell on how horrible our lives are. It wasn't until I was much older and in college that these kinds of thoughts surfaced, and I think that mostly came with having to deal with it so much on my own and being completely accountable, rather than sharing it with my parents.

I think some people just want to focus on what needs to be done and that's how they survive. Just surviving with it is enough with them. When I was a kid, I remember telling my mother, "Why on earth would I want to spend any more time talking and thinking about this disease than I have to?" For me, the rest of my life was more important and that's what I wanted to focus my time on. Now that I'm older, I've obviously found some benefit from talking about diabetes, not only the influence it has on me, but the influence I have on others.

I don't think she necessarily is Wonder Woman, but I think she prefers to deal with the ups and downs of diabetes on her own terms.

MileMasterSarah said...

People in general talk about my diabetes way too much for my comfort. I don’t have any friends that have type 1 diabetes, either. I wouldn’t mind one, I would love one, but I vary from being completely anal about it to extremely lackadaisical about it, and could they handle that? I don’t know. Life never gives you what you expect.

Kerri. said...

I know this is a serious post, but the idea of you and Karen sharing the halves of a Best Friends necklace had me giggling at my desk.

But I agree with the rest of the commenters - everyone deals with diabetes in their own way. Not everyone wants to blog. :)

(FYI - The Joshua Tree is my favorite album of all time. And I've seen U2 twice - they just about blow you away.)

Shannon said...




B. I'm sorry you couldn't make a friend connection with her. I belong to a support groups with parents who do all they need to do for their kids, but sometimes it's nice to get together to learn about something new, to bounce ideas off each other, or to sooth and reassure the newbies whose kids were just diagnosed.

Support groups don't have to be bitch sessions or cry fests...just joining people who have a common bond. It's a shame she's missing the point.

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Jonah said...

I have a diabetic classmate who doesn't think D is a big deal or anything, but she was still willing to show me her Medijector, answer some of my questions about what having had diabetes for a decade is like for her.
I also met up with two diabetics to talk about diabetes (both have had diabetes for longer than I've been alive) and they both told me that diabetes support groups are a bad experience.