A Serendipitous T1D Encounter

Sometimes, when you’re in the most random of places, surrounded by a couple of people you know but mostly strangers, but the vibe is juuuuuust right and you feel perfectly at home?

That kinda describes how I felt at…an arcade bar, of all places, on a Saturday night outing earlier this month.

I was at the local arcade bar with my boyfriend and a bunch of our friends. I always have a blast when we go there, and this particular evening was no exception. But what made it extra special was what happened when I was playing pinball.

I don’t have a picture from this particular evening, and YES I know that Galaga isn’t pinball…but it IS my favorite arcade game, and this picture also features a sunburn around an old Dexcom site…so it works well enough for this post.

I was using arguably the best pinball machine on the property (the Lord of the Rings themed one), and my favorite band from my teenage years (okay, and admittedly probably my favorite band of all time…My Chemical Romance) was blaring on the speakers. I was on cloud 9 from that alone, but then this happened: The person playing Pirates of the Caribbean pinball next to me (another excellent choice), nonchalantly said to me, “I miss my Omnipod…my insurance won’t cover it for me anymore.”

I glanced sideways at him, not wanting to lose track of my silver pinball but also wanting to show my interest in the conversation. I nodded empathetically, and said something about how insurance matters can make things so difficult. He agreed, before quickly showing me his “ancient Medtronic pump”, deftly maneuvering it from his pocket so the tubing wouldn’t get tangled around anything. I smiled and we both returned our attention back to our respective games, which we went on to play in a companionable silence.

It was totally random, not at all expected, but a sweet and subtle reminder that I’m not alone, even in places where it seems like diabetes is the last thing on anyone’s mind except mine. I hope this guy felt the same way…a little positive reassurance that we’re all in this together and doing a really great job of living well with diabetes.

Highs Won’t Ruin My Happy

High blood sugar isn’t fun.

When I experience it for prolonged periods of time (say, 2+ hours), I’m far from a happy camper. I anxiously check my Dexcom every 5 minutes until I see my blood sugar start to come back down to range. I gulp down glass after glass of water. I stack insulin (only sometimes). And I will even march or dance around in place as a means of getting my number to come down faster.

Needless to say, my mood tends to be pretty foul when I have a high blood sugar…

…except on the occasions when I refuse to let it steal my happiness.

One such event recently occurred. I was away for the weekend to attend a wedding that I was so dang excited to go to. I couldn’t wait to get all dolled up and spend some quality time with my partner and his friends. It was the first large event that I was going to since the pandemic began, and I admit there were some nerves despite being fully vaccinated. However, I felt better knowing that 1) everything was taking place outdoors, 2) I was surrounded by other like-minded individuals, and 3) I would still be taking extra precautions (e.g., using copious amounts of hand sanitizer all weekend long) to make sure that I was protecting myself and others, too.

I just wanted to have fun without worrying about the what-ifs…delta or diabetes be damned.

High blood sugar was no match for me and my happiness bubble.

And I just wanted to live in what I’ve since dubbed my “happiness bubble”, otherwise known as my own personal la-la land, in which everything is lovely and safe and none of the world’s many issues can penetrate.

An ignorant and naive place? Yes, for sure, but one that allowed me to embrace everything about the weekend:

It allowed me to enjoy every bit of food and drink all weekend long, even though it caused crazy high blood sugars.

It allowed me to forget about my diabetes for awhile and just soak up the company of others and the (truly beautiful) environment that I was experiencing.

It allowed me to feel bliss that I hadn’t really felt since before the pandemic.

Sure, it’s not sustainable to live this way all the time, and it definitely is not an effective diabetes management tactic. However, it was beyond worth it, just for a weekend, to live in my happiness bubble that high blood sugars or diabetes couldn’t ruin, no matter how hard they tried.