While other people were checking out store circulars for the day-after-Thanksgiving sales, I was perusing the pages of this Consumer Guide. It's a pleasure to celebrate enhancements in diabetes care tools and add a few items to my wish list. But what I really appreciate is the opportunity to bore newbies with "I remember when" tales.
Ah, the days of dropping Clinitest tablets into urine-water solutions. I dislike a certain sickly orange color to this day—the hue the solution turned when my body was flushing excess glucose. Do you, too, remember the Diabetes Exchanges system of meal planning? Hey, it still works to keep my meals balanced, but I count carb grams, too. And what about the days before the A1C test, which quickly put a stop to me making up numbers in my glucose log? Even the blood artfully smeared on the pages couldn't mask the truth of the A1C. Yet my diabetes, which has reached middle age, isn't even old enough to remember glass syringes or those massive needles of yore.
Fortunately, readers who have successfully lived with diabetes for 50, 60, or even more years share the history in their letters to this magazine. I appreciate the history lessons and the positive forward momentum that shines through. People are generally living longer and more successfully with diabetes than ever before. Yet because medical advances are helping people live longer and due to the ever increasing number of new diagnoses, more and more people are living with the burdens of diabetes.
Thus my wish list includes improved access for all people to the tools that have resulted in better health outcomes. Science is still trying to figure out just which age groups and treatment practices most benefit from new technologies. There are still many people who manage diabetes old-school style and are doing fine. And there are many people who can't afford an insulin pump or a continuous glucose monitor. Or have a job, such as a commercial trucker, that requires insulin users to go through a difficult and lengthy exemption process.
So along with the color screens and wireless connections, there are a few intangibles on my wish list. Such as courage and hope, which our diabetes community has in abundance as we strive for a cure—just click HERE to see award-winning photographer Jay Dickman's images. Thank you for sharing your own photos and stories with the world through the Association's A Day in the Life of Diabetes campaign (facebook.com/AmericanDiabetesAssociation). I'm looking forward to the day when our wish lists contain absolutely nothing related to diabetes.
Kelly Rawlings, PWD* type 1
*Person with diabetes