A Chance Meeting of "Diabetes Friends"
In July 2006, I accepted a weekend position at one of our local hospitals. We had just relocated a few months prior, and were still trying to get ourselves situated. I looked forward to the opportunity to get back to the bedside, except for one small dilemma: The orientation process required two weeks onsite, followed by multiple hospital-based classes that were only offered on weekdays. How would I ever find childcare for my diabetic three year old?
I left messages everywhere I could think of in search of a possible solution. Days went by, and no one seemed to have any idea where I could find a childcare provider who was experienced with type 1 diabetes…or, at the very least, who was willing to learn.
Then, out of the blue, my daughter’s CDE called a couple days later. As fate would have it, she had just completed a staff training for another T1 child at a childcare center ten minutes from the hospital. It seemed unbelievable. There are probably fifty hospitals, and at least a thousand childcare centers in our metro area. By chance, there happened to be another T1 child who happened to be entering a child care setting at a facility that happened to be very close to where I’d be working.
Upon hearing the news, I did what any self-respecting mother of a child with diabetes would do…
I grabbed the children in the middle of their naps, dashed out the door, threw them in their carseats, and hurried to see if I could find someone – anyone – who would help me. I can only imagine the sight I must have been hauling in two half-napped crying kids and an unzipped diaper bag with syringes poking out the top while babbling something about diabetes, carbs, and insulin. After introducing myself, I explained my situation, and begged them to connect me with the other T1 child’s mother. Begged. Pleaded. Beseeched. Whatever. I wrote down my contact information on some scrap paper, and probably looked like a completely crazed woman with all my carrying on at that point.
When they graciously agreed to accept my daughter, I cried. And I don’t mean a little shimmery tear of joy, either. I’m talking snotty nose, blotchy cheeks, smeared mascara and all.
That night, the “other mother” called. We talked for hours. It was as if we had known each other forever. Our daughters were about a year and a half apart, and we spoke the same language. She was returning to work after being home for several years, and voiced the same anxieties I was feeling about sending a child with diabetes to daycare. We understood each other. We had never met, but were already connected at the heart.
A playdate followed a few days later, and the rest is history. For the past six years we’ve shared a meaningful friendship while witnessing our girls grow alongside each other, knowing they aren’t alone. We’ve watched them move from preschoolers to school-age, and now soon-to-be tweens. Without diabetes, we probably wouldn’t have ever crossed paths. There are countless memories we never would have had.
Finding these “diabetes friends” has definitely been a bright spot on our journey.