Observations from a day at diabetes camp…

With little over a day under my belt at the ADA Camp before I returned home, I was surprised at how many interesting things I observed.  When you get lots of diabetics or people familiar with T1D together…unique situations abound.

Observation #1 — I am a newbie.  Really.  Under our names and medical certifications (if you had any) on our badges was either “T1” or “T2” and the  number of years since diagnosis.  So mine read “Sara Fant, EMT — T1-8 years” (it should have been nine years, but they rounded down)  It was fascinating to look around and realize I am in the minority being under ten years since diagnosis.  I saw 17 years, 22 years, even 33 years!  Incredible!  I cannot even imagine what living with T1D was like 30 years ago.  And these people were inspiring in their chillness.  Nothing phases them, I’m sure.  I thought I was getting up there, but no…I am still a toddler.

Observation #2 — There were A LOT of diabetics there.  This in itself presents unique circumstances.  But for a moment let’s just appreciate the environment created when people are accepted completely and without a single thought.  Nobody blinked an eye when I had to eat three donuts throughout the day to fend off lows (thanks CGM).  Or when the girl lifts her sleeve to adjust her OmniPod.  Or when practically everybody’s belt holds at least one device if not more.  I felt odd that my pump wasn’t visible (long shirt, you know).  Talk about strange peer pressure.

Observation #3 — You know you’re at a diabetic gathering when an alarm goes off, the conversation pauses, and EVERYBODY looks down at their belts.  It was funny to watch.

Observation #4 — Only at a diabetic gathering would you get this much interest in new medical devices.  If you have something unique, be fully prepared to provide a demonstration, explanation, and observations about your device.


Observation #5 — Diabetes is very private.  But when you are at diabetes camp, all privacy goes out the window.  You are expected to tell what you are doing, how you are doing it, and why in regard to all aspects of your care.  Especially if you’re having problems.

Observation #6 — Needles and drugs are more abundant than at Woodstock.  And it’s normal.

Observation #7 — If you’re up at 0300 in the morning, chances are somebody else is low and will sit with you as they snack.  It’s a fun low-party with no questions and lot’s of munching. 🙂

Observation #8 — I really enjoyed not being the most medically savvy person in the room when it came to diabetes.  Basically everyone around me had had diabetes for longer and/or was a higher-trained medical professional.  Which is lovely.

All of this in just over a day!  Can you imagine what a whole week would provide?

But it is a good thing I came home as I have received the go ahead for the next step in getting a job!  Yay!  Now I have to go study for a test.  Oh yes…


4 responses to “Observations from a day at diabetes camp…

    • I got connected through my provider (Barbara Davis Center). But the ADA website is a good place to connect as well!

  1. Reflecting a bit on observation #4 (and to some extent, #2), I’ve found myself expecting all people with T1D to use some sort of pump or CGM… and I know that’s not really true and I keep trying to stop myself from coming to those conclusions. Perhaps I think it because most of the other T1Ds I deal with are computer/social-media addicts and have a general tendency towards electronic devices.

    I’m curious to know how many T1’s you encountered “wear” their technology as opposed to just carrying it. It was just seven short years ago (out of 32) when I finally gave up the old-fashioned needles…

    • Most of the T1’s there had a pump of some sort. Less had CGMs, but I would say at least 90% of them had “wearable” technology. But these were providers and “older” diabetics. People who are experienced and invested in the world of T1 Diabetes. It was cool to see!

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