My calls to them are often frantic and hurried, as I search for pump supplies after forgetting to call them yet again.
"That's OK Anna, pop in on Monday and someone from the pump clinic will be here to help."
Today, as I waited briefly at the counter for my Dietician and pump clinic expert, I spotted a familiar face. Let's call her 'Sarah', in case she doesn't want to be plastered all over a blog.
'Sarah', was my diabetes nurse when I was 15 years old. She had the responsibility of managing my clinic contact me during the 'dark years'. Many of you teenagers with T1D, or parents of Children with Diabetes, will know what I mean; when you aren't sure if your teenager is taking insulin, whether or not they are smoking, whether they listen when you tell them you care, whether there is light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe you're reading this thinking, 'I'm still there'. Well, Sarah was the one who had to see me in clinic during those times.
Sarah was one of those people with a gentle, patient way about her. When I came to clinic, she didn't question me on the BGs over 20mmol (360mg/dl) I was trying to forget. She didn't berate me for the three hypos I had last night. She would just ask, 'how I was'. We talked about what I had done well. We talked about carbs, diets and how best to inject. I didn't want to be there, but if I had to be, Sarah seemed OK to talk to. I could manage this.
I still remember our meetings. I remember never really wanting to be there, because we were talking something I found impossibly difficult to accept. Why me? Why now? Why should I care? As it turned out, I didn't truly accept it until I was well into my twenties and wanting to go to University. Even though that University was local, I wanted to feel well enough to go, to enjoy it, to succeed.
Seeing Sarah today as she welcomed me with a hug and a 'how are you?', and finding out that she was back in clinic again after having worked elsewhere for 10 years, reminded me how lucky I had been that I had a team who didn't try to scare or shout me into self care. I've blogged in the past about the need to feel hope at the end of the tunnel, rather than fear. Sarah was one of those people who never tried to use graphic images or frightening story morals to scare me into care. Fear doesn't work. Period.
I'm lucky that I have a team who listen to my trials and triumphs and try to steer me from stupid decisions (of which there are many) while still allowing me the freedom to see if my latest bright idea in diabetes management might work. I'm lucky that Sarah was one of the people who laid the ground rules for me. She allowed me to come to clinic and not be harassed, but welcomed. Sarah helped lay the seeds in my head that clinic was a safe place.
Now, I engage with my team regularly and I fund my own CGM because I finally 'get' how important this is. I willingly wear a pump because of the freedom it affords me and I know that I've been blessed not to come across any complications to this point.