Friday, October 8, 2010

On the Streets of Indianapolis

My name isn't Bruce Springsteen and this isn't Philadelphia.

Nope. This is my own story about chance encounters and meetups and all the happenings here, on the Streets of Indianapolis. A place where you never know adventures and encounters may come your way.

Lunch time Wednesday: I was writing some stories on deadline at work, trying to stretch out the time until a meeting wrapped up and led to some free leftovers. But blurry vision and confusion paved the way for a blood test, revealing a 51 mg/dL. My waiting was done, and I grabbed four orange glucose tablets from the desk drawer as I made my way outside for the walk to a nearby sandwich shop. Stepping outside into the crisp October afternoon, I squinted in the sunlight and turned to my left as I stuffed a second glucose tablet in my mouth and kept walking.

Suddenly, a woman with her arms full of files and papers stepped in front of me, blocking my path.

"Do you remember me?" she asked.

I did. She was a fellow longtime Adult Type 1 who also worked downtown and someone I'd met months earlier at a JDRF Promise to Remember Me Campaign meeting with Sen. Evan Bayh. We exchanged hellos, name reminders and quick "how are yous," and she mentioned how she saw me walking while putting what looked like a glucose tablet in my mouth. Sharing my delayed lunch account that led to the recent 58 mg/dL reading, she offered to cut the conversation off to let me walk but I mentioned all was OK. She asked if I needed any more glucose tabs, and I said the four I'd eaten would be enough. We exchanged some business cards and vowed to keep in touch, then ventured off in our seperate directions.

Oh, how glucose tablets can bring us Type 1s together!

This made me think about others in the Indy area who lived or worked nearby, and it also made me reflect on the upcoming Adult Type 1 D-Meetup planned for Thursday night. A JDRF-affiliated event, this was our second gathering in recent months aimed at bringing the local Adult Type 1 Community together. Four of us gathered the first time, but this sequel brought some even more faces out for the D-Meetup - including several from the Diabetes Online Community!

Aside from myself, we had DOCer Megan Bartholomew (@medbarth) and Alyssa Faughn (@afaughn) from The Chocolate Cheerio. Those two actually get awards in my book, not only for traveling the furthest distance from Bloomington to Carmel (70ish miles) but also for having the most in common - same age, diagnosed 10.5 years ago, both seniors at Indiana University studying medicine or research, and both longtime attenders and participants of the area's D-Camp. With Neal (diagnosed as a teen about 16 years ago), Aaron (diagnosed with LADA about two years ago), and Pat (diagnosed as a ten about 27 years ago) who'd come out to the initial meetup, we also got a chance to welcome Stephanie (diagnosed at age 20 about 12 years ago) who regaled us all with wicked tales of her passion for dancing, choreography, and singing the national anthem at the Central Indiana JDRF Walk every year!

[Sidenote: As it happened, this D-Meetup came just two days before some of us would be participating in the annual walk. Suzi and I are a part of the seven-person Team s5health and we're excited about being a part of our first walk since moving to Indiana six years ago. Not only that, but the Riley Dog gets to walk with us to make it an even more exciting time. (She even has some personalized walk attire that I'll show off early next week!)]

Back to the D-Meetup... Sadly, it wasn't until I arrived at the steakhouse and bar on the northside of Indianapolis about 6 p.m. that I realized my camera battery was dead. Thus, no photos this time around for the couple hours we sat around chatting it up about every topic under the sun: our day jobs or schooling, basic backgrounds, how many Type 1s we knew locally or from where we were from, D-Police, ADA versus JDRF and Support Groups vs. Meetups, singing & dancing, pumping vs. injections, CGMs, Endo visits, medical misinformation, D-Camp, Symlin woes, thyroid craziness, the DOC, and the JDRF Type 1 Talk that is being launched for World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14. The menu was explosive with options, and more than one of us set our gazes on these massive stuffed mushrooms that were so incredibly bolus-worthy! There was some unofficial agreement that our next meetup may involve some type of Rollerskating Dance Meetup, possibly mimicing #dprom, but we tentatively left it that we'd all gather again for WDD and the Type 1 Talk events. We'll see what materials there, but it's already shaping up to be some more future meetups here in and around Indianapolis.

But before those WDD events come to be, there's the Walk this weekend around Military Park in downtown Indianapolis. Where thousands of PWDs with their friends and families will be walking together and having a great time. Weather forecast is sunshine and mid-80s, so all looks good.

While they happened at different times, all of these above examples illustrate a common theme: how mood-changingly positive the Diabetes Community is. Each time, before whatever event or meetup or experience, I wasn't feeling very good. As Bruce sings it: "I was bruised and battered, I couldn't tell what I felt." Life stresses, deadlines, woes that just made the sky a little darker. But then there'd be a D-Meetup. Or a #dsma discussion with the Twittering Creator Cherise on the north side of Indy. Or a blog I'd read from home, capturing a community feeling or moment. Or a fundraising event or phone conversation. Then, all would seem better. If even just for a little while.

So, from the bottom of my heart, I say to all of those PWD: "Thank you, from this little corner booth on the Streets of Indianapolis."

4 comments:

thisiscaleb said...

That's fantastic. I was made aware of a similar event that Caleb experienced today and it brought me to tears. That's a blog post for another day, but I can appreciate the power the meetings can have.

Wendy said...

It's reassuring to read this....just knowing that I'm not crazy when I feel a bond to a stranger who is sporting signs of D.

LOVE meet ups. LOVE. THEM.

Thanks for sharing :)

The Chocolate Cheerio said...

The other day, I was in the student union at IU, and my bg's had been rollercoastering for the past few hours- I was frustrated. I walked around a corner, and saw a girl with a pump. I didn't stop and talk, but we made eye contact and smiled. Sometimes that's all we need to remember we're not alone in this.

Also... when Megan and I were driving back to Btown last Thursday, we both hit cgm readings of 169 at the same time. Creepyyyyyy. We tried to get a picture, but she dropped to 158 before we snapped it.

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