One thing that was said many times throughout the week that was Friends For Life
was that the organizers hoped to help "create moments" for all of us. Moments that we would remember, cherish, laugh about. Moments that likely would never happen, if not for the wonderful group that conference brings together.
Moments that can last us for the next twelve months, until we can do this all over again.
Moments like that one time I was washing my hands in the bathroom at the convention center, and the adorable little blonde girl at the sink next to me gave a glance my way. Seeing the green bracelet on my wrist that matched hers, she grinned and said to me, "You have diabetes TOO?", to which I replied, "Yep! Just like you." "Cool." Yeah, it kind of is, isn't it? (I ran into her and her family a few more times that week, so I gave her my email address in case she ever wanted to write me. "My mom won't let me have a Facebook yet." "GOOD - she's a smart lady.")
Moments like seeing my horde of FWDs (friends with diabetes!) at D-Coaster Day
for the very first time. I found the group as they were finishing their ice cream (yes, I said ice cream
) and gave everyone a huge hug. Because my Dexcom graph was doing an impersonation of the downhill portion of a ski jump, I opted for ice cream as well, and went to stand in line. Seconds later, after having just "met", I found Jacquie
at my side. "I thought I'd come stand with you." Aww.
And speaking of D-Coaster Day, there was also that moment when Sara and I held down a park bench
together outside of the Space Mountain ride, and tried to talk each other out of hurling. We wondered if the "riding while low" thing was what did it in for Sara. We also noticed that the gentleman on the bench next to Sara couldn't quite keep his attention away from us, but not in a creepy way - just in a, "I'd like to jump in on this conversation but can't find the right time" way. Turns out he was a paramedic, and thought we might need the crackers in his backpack. Again, aww.
Moments like this:
|Heather: knitting. Becca: making herself comfortable.|
Moments where doing a blood test felt like this normal thing that everyone
has to do, rather than this annoying thing that only I have to do.
Waking up one morning to Sara telling me: "I heard your Dexcom going off, but it was the high alarm, so I just let you sleep. I figured you'd value the sleep more than the correction bolus." She knows me well, folks. (It was also funny when she added, "And then I thought about just bolusing for you - because your pump would be able to figure out your correction - but I just let it go", and I replied with, "Thanks anyway, Mom.")
Moments like the one where I realized that I had the best roommates! (Heather, I still feel super bad about Sara and I waking you up nearly every night, well past midnight, when we rolled in. Also, to Becca: I'm sorry for making you bark that first night, when I tried to be all quiet about my entrance. And thanks for being so mellow the rest of the week!)
The "First Timers" reception on Wednesday morning, where event organizers gave us some tips for the week, and conducted a little bit of an ice breaker. We were asked to leave our tables and go sit where we would if the room were a giant map of the U.S. - so, being a Nebraskan, I sat right in the middle. And even though it appeared that I was the only Nebraska native in attendance (at least, as a First Timer), my fellow Midwesterners from Kansas, Iowa, and Colorado joined me at my table. (I think it may be impossible, either emotionally or physically, to feel "alone" at this conference. And that's a great, great thing.)
Moments like that one in the pool, where my prominently-displayed Ping grabbed the attention of a young family whose son was wearing the same insulin pump.
The first time walking into the huge exhibit hall, and thinking (as I tried to not be cynical at about the "business" side of it), "This is all here... for me. Kinda." To have a ginormous room full of people who totally get what your day-to-day needs are is something kind of special. The free swag was also special.
Speaking of free swag, I got around to having that moment that I mentioned several months back
- I got to try an automatic infusion set! (I did, however, need some help with it, so thanks for the assists, Heather
!) I talked to an Animas rep at the hall, and told her that I'd never tried their infusion sets before - and she hooked me up with one each of the Inset and Inset 30 to try. When it came time to do my set change on Saturday, I gave the Inset 30 a go - no better time than when you're surrounded by PWDs, right? Heather helped me dislodge the thing, and as I went to finish reloading my pump, I realized that the Animas rep hadn't given me any tubing. Which would render the set useless. Except that Brian saved the day by seeing my tweet
and trotting over to our room to lend me some of his, all within a couple of minutes. (Twitter - gotta love it.)
Moments like the one where I realized that Courtney
seems to spontaneously dance as often as the rest of us blink.
It was super cool to meet people like Tom
and Gary from JDRF
from Team Type 1
, and all of those DOC people who normally just live in my computer. (I'd also like to say that all of those people were just as awesome as they appear to be online. Diabetes picks the best people?)
Moments like our last night there, spent at Downtown Disney
, where the medical director of Roche Diabetes Care asked my opinion of a Tinkerbell statute he was considering for his daughter. (A third time - aww.)
The fact that the cryfest at the Farewell Breakfast was tipped off by yours truly. (The "tears up too easily" part of my Twitter bio
isn't an exaggeration.)
And that moment, on one of our last nights there, when there were around 22 of us
sitting at the same shoved-together assortment of tables. Scott Johnson
was sitting next to me, and we were both just listening. Being present. He smiled at me and said, "Just look at this. Take it all in. Isn't this awesome?"
We both shook our heads and laughed a little, at just how true that was.
|image credit: I'm not sure!|