ast week I lost a friend. Not the type that you normally would think about. The friend you call up on the weekend to take a walk, go to a movie, or meet for a cup of tea. This friend was my diabetes friend. We met because she had diabetes and I was a diabetes educator.
After 25 years as part of her diabetes team, I will miss her dearly. She made me laugh, sharing stories of episodes in her life with diabetes. The time when she roomed a patient in the linen closet because she was low and not thinking quite clearly! The time she announced I had ruined her life by helping her obtain an insulin pump and sensor and so those cute EMTs were no longer at her door every month.
She was the best of the best. She teared up as she shared that her sister contributed to her life by donating a kidney. She laughed even when arthritis reared its ugly face and made getting out of bed a challenge. She helped elevate our diabetes fundraisers far above what they would have been without her. Not only the money she helped raise with her extended network of friends and family, but the enthusiasm she brought to the events.
Every day in so many things that I do, I think about our patients with diabetes.
Every day of her life she struggled to keep her blood glucose in a range that would not damage her donated kidney. She checked her blood glucose multiple times even after she obtained a sensor.
She was like so many of our patients. They are not just briefly in our lives, but a huge part of our lives as we help to coach them on how to prevent lows with exercise, how to deal with insulin pumps prior to surgery, how to obtain supplies when the options seem to be running out.
Every day in so many things that I do, I think about our patients with diabetes. From early years through later years. I admire them for doing the tedious work of taking care of their diabetes. For making appointments, letting us into their lives, and even showing us the records of the food they eat and exercise they have or have not done. Really having us judge their days... not sure I would want someone watching over my shoulder so closely!
I salute every person with type 1 diabetes that goes through life with this disease and cheer on the development of the artificial pancreas, and hope in the near future, for a cure.
About the Author:
Carla Cox is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator. She has been a certified diabetes educator for over 15 years, and has served as an assistant adjunct professor for 14 years, teaching in areas of sports nutrition and exercise physiology.