Good Friends Help PWD Live Healthier Lives

People with diabetes need good friends. By good friends, I mean people who are patient, understanding, sympathetic, and, most importantly, have a sense of humor.

By the way, I’m not saying we deserve people to treat us well just because we have diabetes. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me because of my condition. (The truth is, some people with diabetes are narcissists; somehow they’ve gotten the impression that they and their disease should be the focus of everyone’s attention.)

Back from the rabbit trail … I believe friends help us live healthier lives. For me, without my friends, I’d be in real trouble.

KC-Mike 001

KC Mack/Mike Mack, Circa 1981. Suburban Cowboys

When I think of a good friend, I think of KC. Actually, we’re cousins, but we’ve also been great friends most of our lives. KC has laughed with me and more often at me many times over the years. Interestingly, many of our funniest memories involved food.

Curly Fries
We spent most of our time as teenagers playing basketball in a church parking lot. KC could always tell when my blood sugar was dropping, probably by the fact that my shots weren’t dropping. But sometimes, according to him, I’d fake it when he was putting a whoopin’ on me (which was normal) or when I just wanted to take a break and go to Arby’s.

I loved going to Arby’s. Roast beef sandwich . . . Curly fries . . . Apple turnover . . . Angela Moore.  I liked the food, but I really liked Angela, and she just happened to work at Arby’s. We may have been in the middle of a basketball game, but I was thinking Angela. She liked me, too. I know this because she would secretly give me extra curly fries. One time she filled the whole bag with those golden twists of deliciousness. I was so glad Angela cared enough to provide me with those extra carbohydrates my body was craving.

Hot Dog, No Mustard
KC and I also attended lots of basketball games together. At one game, I started having a bad insulin reaction, so KC, as any good friend would, went to the concession stand and waited in line to buy me a coke and a hot dog. Now, we sometimes do weird things when our blood sugar is dropping. When KC brought the food back, I noticed he had put mustard on the dog, so I obstinately refused to eat it. Finally I meticulously scraped off every bit of the mustard as the arena spun around and around and KC sat next to me, arms folded, shaking his head.

Pop Tarts
Camping trips meant  freedom, friends, Frisbees, fishing, fires, and junk food. One time, in the middle of the night, I had another bad reaction. I woke up in a cold sweat, mumbling indistinguishably. KC and my other friends in the tent couldn’t understand me, but then, clear as a bell in a high squeaky voice, I yelled, “Pop Tart!” My friends were literally on the ground laughing (in their sleeping bags) for several minutes before I got my crazy good pastry.

We all need good friends during the highs and lows of our lives. I’m thankful for KC, even though he should know me well enough to realize I don’t like mustard on my hot dog.

Who is a close friend who has been there for you in your highs and lows? Go ahead … share the story.

The Diabetic Dad and the Delayed Delivery

Jordan baby picMy wife and I were in the delivery room about to give birth to our first child. Now, before I get too far into this story, I need to explain that my wife, Heidi, is from New Jersey. If that fact means nothing to you, go to Netflix and watch a couple episodes of “Jersey Shore.” Or don’t and be thankful.

Anyway, Heidi was something like 27 centimeters dilated–I’m not really sure; I’m a guy–and the nurses were calling for the doctor. Unfortunately it was dinner time, and because I live with type-1 diabetes, I needed to eat. So I hurried down to the cafeteria to get some food. Fortunately, Heidi did a good job of clenching for 15 minutes till I returned.

By now my blood glucose had dropped really low, so I sat in a hospital lounge chair and began to eat. I wanted to be sure I had the energy I needed to remind Heidi how to breathe properly and anything else she ordered me to do.

Heidi, with all the compassion a Jersey girl after 32 hours of labor can possibly have, told the nurses that if I passed out from my insulin reaction to just shove me in a corner out of the way and take care of her. The nurses laughed but Heidi was very serious.

Just then the doctor walked into the room, just as I began eating my strawberry cheesecake. He quickly assessed the situation and said, “It’s time to have this baby!” He looked over at me eating dinner and inquired to no one in particular what was going on. When a nurse informed him that I had diabetes and needed to eat, he tapped his fingers on the side of the bed and said, “OK, so we’ll wait for dad to finish eating.”

Heidi did not agree with his prognosis. But you have to understand: she wasn’t thinking clearly at the time. I’ve never seen her so mad or heard her scream so loudly.

So I left the last few bites of cheesecake on the tray. Twenty minutes later we welcomed Jordan Michael Mack into the world. I got to cut the umbilical cord, which I did with a steady hand thanks to that cafeteria run.

The whole thing was incredible. Mom and baby were healthy and did well, and dad was able to finish those last two bites of cheesecake.

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