I just happened to be in the living room when Mr T took off his insulin pump, left it on the table and went to the toilet to change into his cozzie. His new friend from the neighbourhood, a girl of the same age, was waiting for him to get ready so that I could take them both swimming.
She noticed the pump and naturally asked what it was. As we have just met her a few days before, we had not gotten around to mentioning diabetes, so she did not know. I was about to explain it to her when Mr T entered the room, so I thought this is a great opportunity for him to explain and for me to hear what his approach and thinking is. Sneaky, I know;).
Mr T’s explanation went something like this:
“You know how you have an organ in your body, called a pancreas. It produces insulin that we all need. Well, my pancreas is not working so I have this pump instead. Inside is a cartridge full of insulin and every time I eat food with carbohydrates I have to operate the pump and give myself insulin that way.”
Ha, I thought. I could have not explained it in so few words. Spot on. I waited for the girls’ reaction.
“Pretty cool !” is what she said with genuine surprise in her voice, as a child who has just seen a new magic trick …… and off we went to the pool for an afternoon of fun.
It would be wonderful if it remained that simple when they grow up: Mr T’s “these are the facts, lets go, the pool is waiting” attitude and her reaction: “ aaa, I didn’t know that such a cool gadget existed, lets not waist any more time, we need to swim”. If only the grown ups would learn a thing or two from the kids. If only they wouldn’t be so quick to judge and more open to accepting the differences.
I just hope Mr T meets lots of people like her in his life. People who will accept him for who he is. People who will understand that diabetes is just a part of him and not a condition that defines him. I hope.