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  1. Tuesday already! Today's guest is Jacquie from Typical Type 1. I love what she said to me when she emailed this across to me. 'Diabetics of the world unite!'. Couldn't put it better myself. So I'll let her take it away with a story of a far off land...

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    "How much do I bolus for a pan-fried fish with the head attached?"

    It was the first time I'd ever asked myself that particular question. Then again, it was also the first time I'd ever been in Greece -- or anywhere outside of the United States, for that matter.

    But there I was, on one of the peninsulas of Halkidiki, surrounded at the dinner table by my husband, his dear Greek friend George, George's mother, father, and wife, Eleni. Oh, and a plate full of fried-crisp whole fish: heads, tails, bones, fins, eyeballs and all.
    We'd been in Europe for almost three weeks, and while I was thoroughly enjoying the adventure, I was also coming down with a debilitating case of homesickness. After all, foreign countries can be . . . pretty foreign. I'd noticed that the streets were home to little herds of stray dogs. Virtually everyone was a heavy smoker. The elevators counted the first floor as "0", and the 2nd floor as "1." And although the friends we stayed with spoke English, most of the conversations around us took place in Greek.

    I might have succumbed to my homesickness if it wasn't for one amazing coincidence: Eleni, my husband's best friend's wife, has Type 1 diabetes -- and an insulin pump. See, I'm one of those dorks who will run shamelessly up to a complete stranger -- smile on face and pump in hand -- if I even see a hint of transparent plastic tubing peeking from his or her waistband. It's why I feel an instant connection to each and every D-OC'er, no matter where they're from or how old they are or even how long they've been living with diabetes. I can't help it. 

    From what I knew, Eleni was a little more reserved about her T1 status. She, too, had lived with the disease for well over a decade, so the ins and outs were old hat. She and her husband had just had their first child, and hers was a pregnancy without complications. Here was someone living the kind of diabetic life I'd always hoped for -- only on the other side of the world and without as many pets. Although she insisted that she could barely carry on a conversation in English, Eleni spoke the language better than some of my friends do. She explained to me what it was like trying to feed a baby when your blood sugar's in the 50's, and how her husband jokingly tossed a candy bar her way any time she started to get grumpy. Thinking back, I wish I'd asked her how to say "My blood sugar's low" in Greek.
    That final evening of our stay in Halkidiki, I was pretty much ready to go home. I was upstairs, changing into the last clean outfit I had in my suitcase and borrowing Eleni's hairdryer before our dinner of fried fish. (I was dying for some Chick-Fil-A.) The doors between our two bedrooms were both open, and just as I was ready to head downstairs, I heard the noise that's the same in every language: "Ka-CHUNK!" 

    Of course, it was Eleni's infusion set inserter. I looked over and saw her in the familiar position: shirt pulled up to expose the site on her belly, neck craned as she looked down to smooth the edges of the site with with an alcohol swab. She glanced up, we smiled quietly at each other, and I descended the stairs to take my seat at the dinner table.
    I haven't talked to Eleni much since we left Greece, but I hope to see her again in the near future -- either on our side of the pond or hers. Meeting her was one of the highlights of my trip. 

    Out loud, "How much do I bolus for a pan-fried fish with the head attached?" is a question that doesn't make much sense when I'm among English-speaking friends in the States. But across the table from Eleni, at that moment, asking it made me feel right at home.


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    OK, now I totally want to go to Greece - makes my current trip to Harrogate sound positively mundane (which it is....)


  2. 8 comments:

    1. Awesome post, Jacquie! Thanks so much for sharing it, and thanks Becky for opening up your little corner of the DOC for her to write about the cool trip to Greece!

    2. Anonymous said...

      I was at that dinner table as well, and I can tell you all that I have never seen such a frozen expression and a look so lost saying, what in gosh's name am I supposed to do with this thing? Is there someone that comes around to decapitate, de-tail and de-bone this thing for me?

      In this country unfortunatelly people are VERY discreet about anything they may have especially a diabetic pump. This "Eleni" lady has had diabeties for 30 years now at 36, and beside her family, most people dont even know it. Even co-workers that she has worked alongside for over 10 years!

      ...and my blood sugar is low in Greek is "To Zaharo mou ine hamilo!"

      We would love to have you back ANYtime and this time I promise the fish will be file'd!

    3. Very interesting. I love to see other people with pumps!!

    4. sugabetic said...

      Sounds like it was tons of fun over there. And I know it had to make it easier being with another T1 on the trip. :-)

    5. Jacquie said...

      Hey Anonymous!

      If you'll recall, I did a kick-ass job of ripping the spine out of that bad boy.

      I was doing pretty well until your dad popped a fish eyeball into his mouth.

      Love and miss you guys!

    6. Cara said...

      I love having the D-connection with strangers. A good friend of mine from high school married a girl with D. She and I have only met a few times, but stay in regular contact online. And let me tell you, we've been like long lost sisters since our first meeting!

    7. This is such a great post - I'm fascinated to think about how strong the connection of diabetes can be! But it makes complete sense.

    8. Richard said...

      Hi Jacquie, this was a great blog. I still like the Diabetes Fairy tale best. Lol! I will be flying to London with my wife in June, 2011. First time away from North America. I will NOT feel alone. There will be a meet-up of many UK diabetics from an American diabetes site while we are there. Many of them pump, like us.

      You may not remember me, but I sent you a message on Juvenation and I posted your fairy tale there.

      Richard

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