Boarding Pass Encounter

I was fortunate to be able to attend the dinner and concert on Thursday evening, that preceded the awarding of the annual Midway American Patriot Award to Lee Iacocca on the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum in San Diego Harbor on Sept 2. Iacocca was being honored for four things: 1) designing the Mustang, 2) his revival of the Chrysler Corp, 3) leading the restoration of the Statue of Liberty, and 4) his life-long dedication to finding a cure for diabetes (complications took the life of his first wife). So there were lots of people connected with diabetes there.

On Friday I was standing in line to use one of the two terminals in the lobby of the Manchester Hyatt set up especially for printing boarding passes for the airlines. A mother and her 7-year old daughter were directly in front of me in the line. They went to one of the terminals, and then I went to the other terminal right next to it. After a few seconds the mother turned and spoke to me, to tell me that her daughter had noticed my insulin pump, which was clipped to the belt on my trousers. Then the daughter pulled out her Cozmo to show it to me. (I didn't tell how fortunate she was, to still have a Cozmo. My Cozmo reached the end of its 4.5-year life just one month ago.) We talked some more after we finished getting our boarding passes, and we were joined by Michael Sullivan, of Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. If I recall correctly, the mother and daughter live in Washington, DC, and the daughter already has about five years of experience with diabetes. And of course, they were in San Diego for the ceremonies for Lee Iacocca, too.

Tom Beatson

Tom, that was a very unique ceremony you attended, and the encounter with the young lady pumper is something that has not happened to me. Nobody has ever asked me about my pump, I assume they think it is a cell phone, or some such communication advice. I went to a diabetes support group meeting last year, and it was the first time the diabetics there had ever seen a pump. I was the only Type 1 at the meeting, so that was part of the explanation for that. There are many type 2 pumpers though.

[quote user="Richard Vaughn"]Nobody has ever asked me about my pump, [/quote]

This young lady wasn't asking about my pump. She had pointed it out to her mother, who then noticed it and spoke to me. Since my pump is now a Ping, it isn't identical to the young lady's Cozmo, so I'm not sure if she figured out that mine is a pump, or if maybe she had to ask her mother for a judgement. But this was one of only a few times in my 15 years of pumping when I have been confronted by a stranger with a pump. And because of her age, this one was really special.

Tom Beatson

 

 

[quote user="Richard Vaughn"]Tom, that was a very unique ceremony you attended[/quote]

The USS Midway is an aircraft carrier that was commissioned eight days after the Japanese surrender that ended World War II. She served the US Navy until she was decommissioned in 1992 and is now moored at the wharf in San Diego, serving as a museum. All the ceremonies for Lee Iacocca were held on the flight deck, starting at 6:00 PM. Of course we had to go through part of the hanger deck, where many naval fighter-class aircraft are on display. I'm not sure how many people were there for this black tie event, but I heard 375 mentioned.

The first thing on part of the flight deck, was the reception and cocktail party. Serial number 1 of the limited edition 2009 Mustang was on display, and was later used to drive Lee Iacocca from the reception to the banquet, on another section of the flight deck. The dinner tables were arranged in front of the stage, which had multiple screens with the speakers projected on them, so everyone could see. Before dinner, Miss America 2010 sang The Star Spangled Banner, and after dinner the Jack in the Box head stepped to the front of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra and led The Washington Post March by John Philip Sousa. My Boston friends were not familiar with Jack, and I had to explain who he is. Then there was a concert by Frank Sinatra, Jr. performing several of the songs made famous by his father. 

At this point we returned to the hotel on one of the many pedicabs in the San Diego downtown. About five minutes after returning to my room I heard a loud boom. It was the start of the fireworks at the Midway. I had a great view from the window of the hotel, probably a lot better than it would have been from the flight deck of the Midway.

My special thanks to Michael Sullivan, Exec VP of Development at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, for inviting me to join him and Dr. Ken Quickel (CEO) and Dr. George King (Dir. of Research) for this very special event.

Tom Beatson

I love these kinds of stories, Tom!  I actually had a couple of similar encounters a few years ago.  I used to teach drawing to elementary children from pre-k to 5th grade.  Most of them who have observed my pump would ask if it was a cell phone or pager.  But in one particular class, a 5 yr. old boy kept noticing it, but he was too shy to talk to me about it.  One day, his mom approached me before class and told me that her son had been noticing my pump.  He knew it was a pump b/c he's been wanting to get on one for awhile, but he was still on shots for whatever reason.  So, the mom started asking me how long I've been diabetic and have been on the pump.  Then, it made her feel better since my class was an after-school activity.  She told me about her son's diabetes and how he still has to take shots.  I assured her and him that if he should ever need help that I knew exactly what to do.  He was no longer shy to talk to me after that and he drew me a special drawing when I had to move away and could no longer teach his class.  I wish I had known about juvenation back then and I could have suggested it to them.  He was a good kid with lots of creativity.   The other encounter I had was when babysitting while I was in school.  The family who hired me to babysit didn't tell me right away that one of the girls (also 5) was T1 diabetic and the girl wore her necklace under her clothes so it was hidden.   The girl then noticed my pump and she was not on one yet...She didn't know what it was, but was smart enough to sense that it had something to do with diabetes too.  So, she asked me about it.  When I told her that it was for my diabetes, her eyes lit up and she exclaimed, "Oh, I have that too!"  The mom was kind of embarrassed for not telling me right away and I told her, "This is one of the most important things you have to tell a babysitter or nanny.  If I had not found out, I would not have known to give your daughter injections for her meals."  The mom apologized to me and said, "I'm sorry, I didn't want to scare you off right away...It's why I've had a hard time finding a sitter."  So, I told her that if other sitters don't feel like they can handle it, they shouldn't be sitting for her children then because eventually, she needs someone who is not afraid to give shots to someone who absolutely needs them. 

Anyway, I love your story and thanks for sharing it!  I hope you had fun at the dinner too!

Tom, I didn't know that about Lee Iacocca's involvement with D.

ScrappyDy, that's a scary story that a Mom wouldn't tell a babysitter about the T1, but glad it all worked out!

[quote user="Sarah"]Tom, I didn't know that about Lee Iacocca's involvement with D.[/quote]

I understand that Lee Iacocca is the principal supporter of the research of Dr. Denise Faustman at Mass General Hosp in Boston. And I have been told by a very reliable source that Lee Iacocca is the largest all-time donor to Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.

I didn't get to meet her, but I observed that Dr. Faustman was present at the USS Midway event on Thursday evening.

I love encounters like this as well! I was only diagnosed a year and a half ago and got my pump in July of 2009, I've had at least 3 people come up to me and talk to me about my pump who actually had on or had a child that had one. This is the reason why I love not hiding my diabetes.

I was actually on the beach last year about 2-3 weeks after getting my pump, wore a bikini, which most people are surprised by when they see that I have my pump out in the open. I had two different families in the same weekend come up to me and tell me that they had a child with diabetes who also had a pump.

Another incident happened actually 2 weeks ago. A women working at the bank at my college campus asked me what was clipped to my pants, the gentleman working with her said it's an insulin pump. I asked him how he knew, because  most people don't know what it is, he lifted up his shirt and had one as well! I talked to him for about 20 minutes.

I have been using a pump for 15 years, and have always worn it on my belt, where it's almost always visible to others, but I've had surprisingly few encounters with other pumpers who were strangers. When I was a teen and a young adult (long before my first pump) I didn't advertise my diabetes, but as the years have gone by I have become more and more open about it. When I go bike riding I always remain connected to my pump, and wear it clipped to the waistline of my bike shorts, but it's always underneath the bottom part of my jersey, so as to protect the short length of tubing that would otherwise be exposed to the Arizona sun.

I also live in AZ and I wear it almost ALL the time. Especially at the gym. I workout at the downtown YMCA in phoenix (my college is right across the street from it. Go Devils!) and sometimes people stare at it when I'm on the eliptical machine or something. But I've had the D for almost 20 years so it really doesn't bother me. I wear it almost ALL the time. Well, except for swimming. and with the heat this past labor day weekend, I'm suprised it didn't die out on me! I'm also the genius who left lantus and humalog pens in my car back in the day. I find as long as I have a t-shirt ot towel near by and don't expose it to the DIRECT sunlight, I'm good to go.

[quote user="Tom"]

I have been using a pump for 15 years, and have always worn it on my belt, where it's almost always visible to others, but I've had surprisingly few encounters with other pumpers who were strangers. When I was a teen and a young adult (long before my first pump) I didn't advertise my diabetes, but as the years have gone by I have become more and more open about it. When I go bike riding I always remain connected to my pump, and wear it clipped to the waistline of my bike shorts, but it's always underneath the bottom part of my jersey, so as to protect the short length of tubing that would otherwise be exposed to the Arizona sun.

[/quote]

Tom, maybe this has something to do with regional occurrences of diabetes? I've actually been surprised to meet a lot of people in Maryland with diabetes. Maybe we are on to something here?

Quote from Courtney:

Tom, maybe this has something to do with regional occurrences of diabetes? I've actually been surprised to meet a lot of people in Maryland with diabetes. Maybe we are on to something here?

quote
Although I have lived in Phoenix for 50 years, I didn't arrive here until 14 years after I was diagnosed., so I can't blame Arizona for my diabetes. I lived in New Rochelle, NY for the first 20 years and was dx when I was 10.

Tom, I have lived in Kingston, NY for 40 years. Kingston was the first capitol of NY state, burned during the Revolutionary War, but rebuilt after the war. I don't think Kingston is too far from New Rochelle, but I don't have a map handy now.

Thats funny. My aunt blames the east coast for my cousins' diabetes. They both live in Kingston and have type 1 too. Weird.

[quote user="Richard Vaughn"]

Tom, I have lived in Kingston, NY for 40 years. Kingston was the first capitol of NY state, burned during the Revolutionary War, but rebuilt after the war. I don't think Kingston is too far from New Rochelle, but I don't have a map handy now.

[/quote]

I know that Kingston is on the Hudson River, somewhere north of West Point. New Rochelle is in Westchester County on Long Island Sound, and was founded by the Huguenots back in the 17th century. The stop-and-go train ride to Grand Central took 35 minutes on the NYNH&H. Mrs. Wise, my 7th grade teacher at Mayflower School, gave me a pretty good education about NY State. I was dx when I was in the 5th grade.