T1 Represent

I’m gradually learning the names of the people I swim with. There’s Pat, who I seem to have known for as long as I’ve been swimming. “Pink Suit Lady” is actually Jennifer. Then there’s Joy, who hasn’t been to the pool much since her first triathlon in September. Katie is the young woman in the blue suit; I learned her name this morning. A fellow swimmer pointed out Chappy the Pool Guy’s real name on a plaque with all of the other people in the Massachusetts Swim Coach’s Hall of Fame. Yup, Pool Guy is a hall of famer.

Today I met Ned.

It started out weird. I was walking out of the shower—a time when I try to ignore anyone and everything between me and putting on my clothes—when he asked, “Do you have an insulin pump?”

“Yes. Have you heard it beeping?” My pump, which is also my CGM, starts complaining loudly after a half-hour of being away from me.

“No, I saw your infusion set.” Clearly here’s a man who knows something about diabetes. I’ve always wondered whether people see the diabetes paraphernalia attached to me and what they think about it. “I used to have one of those, but I found it too easy to be complacent and cheat. And my A1c kept going up, so I switched back to pens.”

“Hey, you go with what works,” I said. “I like the pump, and I need the tenth of a unit dosing that it allows.”

We chatted a bit about being diagnosed as adults. Before he was diagnosed 32 years ago at 29, he told the doctor, “I think I have diabetes,” and the doctor replied, “Let me be the judge of that.” His 800 mg/dL blood sugar was quite convincing. Like many adults, he was misdiagnosed as type-2. If I remember correctly, he was on pills for a year before starting insulin.

Then he said something that surprised me about his diabetes—— Let me back up.

In the water we all move in our own way, while on land we’re pretty similar in how we walk around. I’ve noticed Ned walks with a limp and a cane. For years, his doctors assumed that the problems with his legs were diabetes related: “You’ve had diabetes for decades. These complications are normal.” He finally found a specialist who was able to see past the diabetes to the underlying cause: adult-onset muscular dystrophy. “At 61, I’m finally one of Jerry’s Kids,” he joked. Here was the surprising thing. The doctor who diagnosed him indicated that there’s some evidence his diabetes may, in fact, be partially caused by the same thing behind his muscular dystrophy.

The human body is a fascinating thing in its pathologies.

This entry was posted in Diabetes, NaBloPoMo, NaBloPoMo 2012, Swimming. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to T1 Represent

  1. Whoa!

    How easily docs blow things off, blaming it on the betes.

    You know, for what it’s worth, I’ve met the most non-DOC type 1′s ever in the locker room at the YMCA. I think that says a lot.

  2. StephenS says:

    Great story Jeff. The only time anyone asked about my infusion set at the gym was when a guy said “Did you just get an EKG? I think they forgot to take one of the things off”.

  3. KarenL says:

    Hmmm…in the women’s locker room, I’ve been asked numerous times about my CGM sensor, less often about my pump site (which is usually on the top of a butt cheek — I can see why people might wonder but not say anything). Really didn’t want to hear about D and MD, though. La la la I can’t hear you!

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