Ready for Round Two? When I was describing this list to a friend, he quipped, "Is like the Diabetes Gag Reel?" Well, not quite, though some of the incidents are very funny. At least, in retrospect! Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, "We'll laugh about this later." This 2nd list is of my favorite diabetes moments. Most of them are funny (which is where the "gag reel" come in), but they are nonetheless very memorable for me. Enjoy!
My Top 12 Greatest Diabetes Moments
12. The JDRF Countdown Photo Shoot. Okay, not to sound like an Uber-Bitchy-Celeb-Princess, but I really REALLY hate photo shoots. It's boring, for one thing. They really do make you pose and act all unnatural like. And I never ever seem to like the way I look in photos, so it's a total waste of my time. But you have to do them. It's just one of those sacrifices I have to make for the good of mankind. Anyway, one time, I was doing this photo shoot for JDRF Countdown. It was August 2002, and I was still working on my old old website, CureNow. The photographer they chose was sooo cool! He was really nice and friendly, and he let me look at the pictures and I told him which ones I liked. His assistant was also really cool too. Even though they used all these really bright lights (which took them 30 minutes to set up) that made our office 9,000 degrees and even though I had to lay down on the floor next to my computer monitor, they still made it fun. I liked them.
11. "How Did You Experience Jesus Today?". I am on a Catholic website. I am not Catholic. I know, it's weird. As gloriously self-absorbed as this will sound, I occasionally search my name on Google. Mostly because I have discovered that I can find myself on really random websites. Like AmericanCatholic.org. I'm in their Links for Learners section, which features different people in different "When I was..." categories. I'm the "When I Was Ill" Girl.
10. My Chemistry Teacher unintentionally telling me to turn of my pump. One day during organic chemistry, I was changing my pump set (for whatever reason, I don't remember the details). I was just minding my own business, sitting at the desk with all my tubing, and the alcohol wipes, and the IV tape. All of a sudden, Mr. Kuykendall turns around and yells, "Turn it off!" Stunned silence. Everyone look around at each other, completely baffled.
"The cell phone! Turn it off!" Mr Kuykendall repeated. Of course, there was no one using a cell phone.
Lightbulb goes off. "Oh! That's me!" I said, realizing he could hear the beeping of my pump while I changed my set. "Sorry." Mr. Kuykendall looked at me, confused for a moment.
"Oh. Yeah, you don't need to turn that off."
9. Ad-libbing a speech at a JDRF Gala. In front of, oh, 300 people. It was 2001, and my mother and I were about fly to Washington D.C. for Children's Congress. Well, JDRF decided to have me and the other delegate, Hannah, speak at the annual Gala. Before we left, I quickly wrote a short 2 paragraph speech about what we were going to be doing there. I folded it up and off we went. When I arrived at the Gala with my parents, I discovered there was no podium. Completely resistent to the idea of standing in front of 300 people and obviously reading off a piece of paper, I decided to just go up there and talk. For about 10 minutes. When I got down, the emcees, who happened to be broadcasters on a local TV station, said, "Wow, you did a great job up there!" Little did they know I completely made up the whole thing.
8. The "Wood Family Reunion" Episode. One summer, at camp, my friends and I all went low at the exact same time at 3 a.m. check. First Clare, then me, then Kim. Kim and Clare made a reference to a previously made inside joke about Mr. Meter and Mr. Poker. They wondered if they would ever have a family reunion (remember, these girls have hypoglycemia. Try not to hold it against them). Then Kim asked if the bunk beds would ever have a family reunion. Being that we were pretty awake and very chit-chatty after being low (and not quite with it), we spent the next half hour listing off all the different things in the cabin that we thought would go to the Wood Family Reunion. I climbed over to Clare's bunk and started playing with her stuffed bull-frog, Jeremiah. Then, Clare asked, "Is Jeremiah the Bullfrog made out of wood?"
"Well," I replied, "Jeremiah is made of cotton, which is a plant. Trees are plants too, and you get wood from trees. So, he's like a cousin. Yeah, Jeremiah would go to the Wood Family Reunion."
7. Getting my ears pierced for my 1st anniversary. For MONTHS I had begged and pleaded and argued and negotiated with my mother to let me get my ears pierced. "Jenny has them, Kayce has them, Annie has them, Bobbie Jo has them...." (ok, there was no Bobbie Jo, but you get the idea). My mother just would budge. I was thisclose to giving up hope. Then one evening towards the end of January in 1995, while my mother and I are out, she drives us up to Willoughby's, a beauty salon that also does ear piercing. I couldn't believe it! I was so excited. Mumzie, as a reward for all my hard work and cooperation during the first year of having diabetes, allowed me to get my ears pierced. And thus the tradition began... I've since received dolls, jewelry, make-up, and knitting needles...
6. Breaking my record low. This is another Gales Creek Camp story involving those infamous and annoying Night Checks. It's 12 a.m. Bronco, a girl counselor, wakes me. "Allison it's time to test." I give her my hand, not wanting to move to test myself. A few seconds. "Okay, you're 48." I choke down the chalky BD glucose tablets (which should be illegal). 15 minutes, Bronco came back to test me. "Allison," she whispers. "You're 29." Pause. I absorb this information.
"Yes! I beat my record!" The lowest number I've ever reached and survived accomplished at 12:30 in the morning at diabetes camp. Go me.
5. Putting together "When There's a Cure...". While I was working on CureNow, I came up with this idea to have reader's send me their plans for what they were going to do when there is a cure. The question asked them "What is the first thing you are going to do when you are cured? Have a party? Go to Africa?" The responses I received were AMAZING. I cried reading some of them, especially the ones from the little kids. I loved getting them. The website was tough, and it was never very good in my opinion, but the series "When There's A Cure..." was I think my best idea.
Here are just a few:
- What will I do when I'm cured of type 1 diabetes? 1. I will get to go to my friends's house for sleepovers. 2. I will get to go to Canada fishing with my dad - (in the remote part of Canada where there are no health care facilities within 100s of miles). ~ Cody, age 8 &1/4 years old (diagnosed 1 year ago).
- I asked my daughter what she will do when she gets a cure.......she said" throw ALL my needles and owie things away and eat cookies when it's not time for my snack." My response, ditto. ~ Debi, mom of Jessi, age 5, diabetic 2 1/2yrs.
- When there's a cure... With tears of joy, I will thank mom for the many years of caring. Tell her to cast her feelings of worry and guilt into the wind ...we have reached the light at the end of the tunnel. ~ Rita, age 35
Isn't that, like, the coolest thing ever?
4. The Great Heroin Pump Incident. Hahaha. I haven't even written anything and I'm already laughing! This is actually a pretty short story. Soon after I got my pump in 2000, I was hanging out with my friends and, naturally, I was telling them all about my new gear. My friend, Josh, asks, "So, could you, like, put heroin in that?" Pause. "Um. I don't know, Josh. Maybe..." I have yet to test this theory. Any volunteers?
3. Mary Tyler Moore Photo Op. The ultimate highlight of Children's Congress was meeting Mary Tyler Moore and having a picture taken with her. Actually, it wasn't just with her. It was me, Mary, Hannah, the other delegate, and Jonathan Lipnicki (remember him?) who was one of the other celebrity guests. The photo took like 2 seconds to take, kind of an In-And-Out thing. But whenever people talk about their exciting Celebrity Sightings, I can casually reply, "Well, I got my picture taken with Mary Tyler Moore."
2. Children's Congress. Children's Congress as a whole was one incredibly awesome, totally inspiring, life-altering experience. Four days. 200 children. Their parents. And one Capitol. Awesome. It was the closest thing I've come to a diabetes conference (having yet attended a CWD function). All the children, all the laughing, all the test strips, all the glucose tabs. "How long have you had it?" "Where are you from?" "I have the same pump!" Giggles, tears, excitement, anticipation. We were kids on a mission. We wanted our cure and we wanted it now. And we weren't going to let any 3-piece-suit get in our way.
1. The Dr. Shapiro Phone Call. Before I start, I want to make sure everyone knows who Dr. James Shapiro is. He is the Director and Lead Researcher of the Edmonton Protocol in Alberta, Canada. They were the ones who refined the art of islet cell transplants. In other words, he is a Really Big Deal, definitely a contender for Coolest Diabetes Researcher Ever. I was 16 years old and had been running CureNow for about 2 months. I was on the phone with Dr. Furlanetto, VP of Research at JDRF, and he asked me if there was anyone in particular I wanted to interview. "Dr. Shapiro," I replied, thinking that reaching this Rock Star of a researcher at age 16 was a long shot. I was pipsqueak, a nobody in the diabetes community back then. He said he would look into it. A few weeks later, Mumzie picked me up from the library and informed me that I had a message from a doctor. I didn't know who it was, though I thought perhaps it was Dr. Shapiro, since he was the only one I was somewhat expecting. Mumzie didn't remember the name, but she said, "He's British." Well, I thought, Dr. Shapiro lives in Canada... I immediately listened to the message as soon as we got home.
"Hullo, this is Dr. James Shapiro calling for Allison Blass..." Oh. My. Freaking. God.
The way I was jumping up and down, you would have thought Brad Pitt had called me.
And, yes, we did do an interview. I have actually interviewed him three times. Twice for CureNow and once for Teen Talk. He's very nice. And he is from Britain.