Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Diabetes Boobers...er, I mean...Bloopers

Day 3 of Diabetes Blog Week (#dblogweek) asks us to consider the lighter side of the big D - those funny, embarrassing, or ridiculous moments that diabetes has brought into our lives.

I had trouble with this one.

When I "oops" as a diabetic, it's usually a pretty big "oops."

Oops. I left my insulin in Germany and boarded an 8-hour train ride to the Czech Republic for the weekend.

Oops. I suspended my pump during a low and forgot about it until 5 hours later when I started vomiting. During Ryan's voice lesson.

Oops. I didn't refill my pump cartridge before my singing gig and fainted in front of 800 people while singing because I felt so nauseated from the skyrocketing blood sugar.


I know I've had genuinely funny moments, too, though.

There was the time my cat was on a mission to defeat my vibrating Cozmo while I was in the shower.

There was the time I participated in the ADA walk and was so busy chatting it up about diabetes that I walked into a fire hydrant and busted up my shin. Funny if you know my dad is a firefighter.

Or the time (this last Spring Break) when I dropped into the 40s at a meetup of D-parents and they all started whipping out bananas and glucose tabs - every flavor I could imagine. (There is no better place to go low than in a gathering of D-parents.)

But the one that jumps out at me was when my boobs beeped.

I was a junior in college and was being inducted into a prestigious honors society. My essay was one of only three selected to be read aloud and I was receiving a special award along with my new membership. So I was pretty dadgum proud.

My no-frills parents and I were seated at a banquet table with an associate provost and a vice president of the university.

In the middle of the room.

And my Minimed 508, nestled fairly discretely in my cleavage, decided that its cartridge was in urgent need of refilling.

For those of you unfamiliar with the MM 508, when it was empty, you knew. Everyone in a two mile radius knew. It screamed. Progressively louder. Six beeeeeeps in succession. And there was no silencing its beeeeeeeeeping until you'd refilled it.

My first instinct was to try to muffle it.

I pawed at my breasts with the grace of an 8th grade boy.

Heads turned. My boobs squealed.

I don't remember how I got it to stop. I know we didn't run back to my dorm room. I know I never carried pump supplies on me back then, in the spring of 2001. I vaguely remember going out to the bathroom. I'm guessing I stepped away, yanked it out, and removed the battery. Or maybe I just ripped the whole infusion set out and stuffed the pump in a purse, hoping it would hush.

I'm sure I came out and finished a big dinner with a smile on my face and no bolus on board, trying to appear elegant in an environment that felt far too uppercrust for my modest upbringing.

I went on to deliver my speech that night and impressed everyone when the microphone died and I used my vocal training skills to project the rest of it without a mic. I remember getting to shake hands with the university president.

I know that when I look at the pictures from that night, I remember that I felt sick and high the moment they were taken...

...But I felt like that a lot of the time, to be honest.

My college days were not wild, misspent, or noncompliant, though my then-endo often accused me of as much.

But my A1c was over 9, my blood sugars were high all of the time, and I didn't have any support.

I didn't know an entire blogroll of people who would have groped their own boobs if they heard a loud beep at the dinner table.


  1. I have such mixed emotions reading this. It is so genuinely funny - pawing with the grace of an 8th grade boy - but to hear you say how poorly you felt so much of the time and to hear the accustory demeanor of your endo - it saddens me, Melissa.

  2. I love the honesty of your post. "Bloopers" was a tough post. I found that most of my bloopers were only funny NOW, but at the moment they occurred they were downright scary for those around me. We've done well Melissa. We survived the teen/early 20s years highs, lows, boob-bloopers and all!!!!

  3. I keep my pump in my boobs too sometimes! It's so funny when it beeps or when I need to bolus and I have to go diving for it. Congrats on your honor though!

  4. oh, disco boobs, how i love thee...not. i've had mine start beeping at quite inopportune times too.

    and ya know, that blogroll of people would probably even grope one another's boobs in order to find the source of the beeping... ;)

  5. I think college and 9+ A1C's must go hand-in-hand!

    I often forget to bring my remote with and have to bolus through my shirt - which probably gets me the same looks it got you, too. ;)

  6. I totally would grope my own, be looking for the disco lights in everyone else's...we'd have it handled for sure. Wouldn't that be a fun event??! ;) College would have been so much better for me if the DOC were around back then. As it was, I felt a lot like you did w/ the high BGs much of the time...it was just easier for me than having to deal with lows. Thanks for sharing this "blooper."

  7. I'm sorry about the endo you had.
    Thanks for the giggle with the pump boob beeps!