“You test how many times a day?” The nurse at the Blood Bank says to me, disbelief covering her face.
“10 – 15 times a day. Well actually less now because I wear a continuous glucose monitor. But its up there for sure.
The nurse shakes her head. “Wow. I have never heard of anyone checking that much.”
“I know,” I tell her, “It’s a lot, but it’s the best tool I have for management. I need to know where I am so I can dose my insulin correctly.”
“She has it,” she says, nodding her head at the nurse attending to one of the blood donators. “She checks it before lunch and stuff. But that’s it. And he has it too,” she continues, looking over at the man checking folks in. His gut hangs over his belt. He was easily 280 pounds. “I don’t think he ever checks,” she says, shaking her head.
I don’t know what to say in moments like this. That I grew up in an educated family who was able to afford insurance and medical care? That I was diagnosed by my grandfather, a well-know endo at the Mayo clinic? That I was lucky enough to go to college and get a good job with great insurance after graduating? That my dad was a doctor who encouraged me to play any and every sport that I wanted to? That I was lucky enough to still have a job at a diabetes pharmaceutical company, even in this economy, with access to the latest information and diabetes gadgets?
I don’t know what to say in moments like this. I truly am one of the luckiest diabetics in the world. I don’t take my position of advantage for granted for one second. I know that not every person with diabetes has insurance that covers 90% of her pump and CGM supplies.Or even has a pump or CGM. Or has a doctor who writes them a prescription for 300 test strips a month so I can test 10 times day without going broke. I know damn well how lucky I am, and I also know that people with diabetes are suffering unnecessarily because of lack of access to good education and effective healthcare providers.
I look around the blood donation bus again, the two diabetic staff members cheerfully ushering people through the process. They’re someone’s husband, sister, father, and daughter. They’re unhealthy and overweight. They need help before it’s too late. I don’t know what to say in moments like this.