I’ve had diabetes for four years and my insulin pump for three. I spot other insulin pump users every now and then. If I catch their eye, I might wave my pump at them as a sort of salute “Me too”, I’m telling them. I battle the demon diabetes too.
Today I spotted a little boy two tables across from me at a picnic. He’s very carefully trying to shield others from spying his blue pump as he enters his carbs that he has in front of him for lunch. I decide not to flag him with my “pump wave”.
My grandson spots him too and looks up at me for recognition. Later the two of them are playing. The boy hangs upside down on the monkey bars and holds his t-shirt over his stomach to shield his pump, he plays alone. My grandson, a good four years younger, approaches him. Oh, no. My grandson points at the boy’s pump and back at me, he’s outed me.
The boy ambles slowly over, pretending to be busy at other activities. But I’m on to him. I’m a Grandma type, 52, and he’s only 10. It would be so uncool to talk to me, wouldn’t it?
He sits with his mom, sitting across from me. I give him a wave with my pump. We have the same pump I tell him. His eyes brighten and he displays the hidden pump, same one as me, different color. Suddenly, we have the world in common. He asks when I was diagnosed, I smile and tell him. He tells me he was diagnosed a long time ago, when he was nine. I tell him the pump is a whole lot better then needles and he agrees. We have a quiet discussion about the pump. I don’t feel so good he says, I think I’m low, and his parents pop out a juice pack for him.
HIs mom begins to discuss various diabetes related topics and he drinks his juice. I have to go, I give him another wave with my pump and he waves with his. We are diabetes buddies, forty years apart. I hope he finds another buddy closer to his age, although I’m pretty cool with all my body gadgets, I’m still a grandma type. I know very little about the embarrassment and isolation he feels. I’m way past that, I don’t care who sees my pump, I test my blood without regard for anyone looking, I don’t hang upside down and I don’t have a spiderman sticker on my supply case. But we’re still buddies, aren’t we?