My people all together – #type1diabetes

blood testing equipment type 1 diabetesEver sat in a room and thought, “I am with my people”? That was my experience this week as I attended an education session the NHS had put on; my attendance a condition for prescription of the Abbot FreeStyle Libre.

I doubt I’ve ever been in a room with so many other type 1 diabetics. Sure, type 1 is a hidden condition. Perhaps others travel on trains with me or flit about the offices of the University of Glasgow dropping their test strips wherever they go?* Still, my original statement holds. I reckoned on about 200 people there, with perhaps a third of them partners or parents.

All shapes and sizes

I arrived at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital early and watched in fascination as folks trooped in to the lecture theatre. We come in all shapes and sizes—all ages, all colours and all creeds. Who were the ones with diabetes? I put it down to those of us who carried our precious bag—the FreeStyle Libre and the doctor’s letter handed out when we registered—tightly. I’d expected lots of young people, but that wasn’t the case. The average age, I reckon, was mid to late 30s. Every time I saw someone who looked a lot older come in, I cheered silently.

Take that, reduced life span, and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

Our session took the form of a PowerPoint presentation by one of the diabetologists at the hospital, followed by some Q and As. I didn’t bother asking anything. As an introvert, I’m not going to raise my hand in a room that full of folks—even if they are my people. But there were plenty who didn’t suffer from shyness who dived in.

Can you scan your sensor through clothes? Yup. (So handy!)

Can you swim with it? Yes, but only half an hour is recommended. (Seriously, do people swim for longer than that? It’s the world’s most boring form of exercise unless you’re in open water.)

How long does it take for the prescription to come through once you hand the letter to your doctor? About 48 hours.

Can you connect it to your phone? Yes—there’s an app for it.

What happens if it keeps falling off? Some people have slippier skin than others. Thankfully, the two times I tried the sensor it stayed in place for its allotted fourteen days.

Talking to my people

I longed to talk to my people, but didn’t. See above-mentioned introvert tendencies. Who would I have chosen? The Indian girl who talked about running, exercising and wearing a sensor? The man behind me who asked if the Libre 2—the one with alarms that sound if your blood sugar levels go up or down too rapidly—would be available for us in the future? The glamorous young couple where I couldn’t work out which one would hold out the fingers covered in black dots from too much finger-pricking?

No. The one I’d have picked out was the woman I guessed to be in her late 30s who came in with an older man and woman I took to be her mum and dad. I watched her sit down near me and wiped away a wee tear. That might have been me once upon a time, attending with my lovely, supportive ma and pa. My father died nine years ago and how I’d love to have shared this new, wonderful development in diabetes care with him.

Session over, my precious bag and I got onto the bus to go home. “A new chapter, Emma B,” I said to myself. “How terribly exciting.”

*About to become a non-problem. Yay!

6 thoughts on “My people all together – #type1diabetes”

  1. I am so intrigued by the training. Heck in the US we get a web site address to watch a ‘suggested video” most do not, and off you go. I have not heard of anyone not figuring it out. For me, I have to read the application instructions each time, I use two sensors every 4 months and I still have not watched the video. Maybe in September I will?

    Nope,,, won’t happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was an hour long an d the doctor did apologise for presenting so much information in so little a time. At the end, I did notice a big queue of people waiting to talk to him and the woman from Abbott, so heaven knows when they got away! We were also meant to have done the Abbott Academy online course before attending, and bring with us our certificate proving we’d ‘passed’ it. I must admit, I’m not one for videos either…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow I didn’t know that you can attend such a session with the Libre! 😀 In my own area the doesn’t allow the Libre, or even an accu-check mobile which was what I wanted for a few years (postcode lottery) 😦 More stories of positive experiences though and maybe they’ll change their mind, I’m hopeful. I hope your monitor is making your life much easier 😀
    I think there’s plenty of diabetics on public transport or walking past us everyday, with all their equipment stashed away in bags. There’s no way of telling that I’m one except for my overly big bag of monitor, injections and hypo fixes, lol 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there, it’s early days but I will report back here on my experiences. I’m in the Greater Glasgow area and I know issuing of flash glucose monitoring systems has been slower here than in the Lothian area, for example. However, I’m ridiculously grateful I’ve finally got one. And yes, I too need a big handbag for my stash. Emma

      Liked by 1 person

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