Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pump Spotted in the Wild

I went out of town with some friends for a long weekend.  One night we went to a pizza restaurant where an interesting chain of events occurred.  As we were getting ready to pay our bill, we noticed the man in front of us was having difficulty paying his bill.  We decided to go ahead and pay it for him. We anonymously spoke with the manager and offered to pay the amount for his meal.  As we were standing there, I noticed that he had a clear tube coming out of his pants pocket.  Sure enough, he was a pump wearer, spotted in the wild.  The longer I watched him, the more I realized that he may be experiencing a low blood sugar.  His movements were slow and lethargic, his speech was slurred, his thought process seemed labored.

The more I thought about it, the more compeled I felt to do something about the situation.  So, as we exited the restaurant and made our way to the parking lot, I told my friends that I wanted to confront him about it.  I walked up to him and began in with the small chat about diabetes.

"Hey, I noticed you have an insulin pump."  "I'm diabetic too, how long have you had diabetes?"

He was still acting strangely.  Told me that he was from a small town about 70 miles away.  He mentioned he'd had some meet-ups with other diabetics but hadn't done anything in a while.  He also mentioned that he had a daughter in the NICU up at a hospital in Salt Lake (about 350 miles away).  Side note: a friend of mine who was with me on the trip works at that same hospital treating infants. I began to feel sorry for him.  He seemed quite down on his luck.  I hesitated, but he had a young child with him, and I wanted to make sure he was safe, so I asked him if his blood sugar was low.

"Do you think maybe you're low? You seemed a bit shaky back there."

He told me that he didn't have a meter with him and that sometimes his meals were metabolized quickly but that he didn't think he was low.  I offered my meter and suggested that he test.  I asked him probably three or four different times and ways if he would like to test to see if he were low.  I figured that maybe he was just a little tired and that he probably knew that he was okay, although I really wished he would have tested with my meter.  He had a box of leftovers with him so I suppose if he thought I was right he could have finished eating that on his trip home.

We parted, and the more I thought about his actions, the more convinced I became that he was experiencing a hypoglycemic episode.  I did all that I felt I could have though, to encourage him to test and treat the low.  It was quite the experience and I don't think I'll soon forget it.  I'm not sure there was much more that I could have done for him, but I wish that I had insisted that he check his sugar, or offer him a juice (which I did not have) or SOMETHING more.

I'm not sure what the moral of this story is... but it was definitely an interesting spotting of a pump in the wild, so I thought I'd share...

1 comment:

  1. It can be so hard to convince someone to test. I once had a boss who was T1D, and seemed a bit ashamed of it. After another coworker saw him acting a bit "spacey" he asked me to check on him. After a bit of hesitant coersion (he's my boss, and I want to make him bleed!) I got him to test with my meter, and then asked someone else to get him an OJ from the vending machine. I know I don't like when people tell me how to take care of my own D, so it's really awkward telling someone else, even if you know they need it.