Type 1 Cycling

Type 1 Cycling

Friday, August 22, 2014

Support networks - or, The amazingness of the DOC

A few months ago we were invited to a Friday night dinner at some friends.  They always have a bunch of people in together and the conversation is lively and entertaining.  I get in and sit down on the couch while my host fetches me a large glass of whisky.  While I am waiting I start preparing all my diabetes paraphernalia, Changing needles, testing blood sugar, injecting my long acting insulin.  As I am doing this one of the other guests notices what I am doing and says that she also has type 1 diabetes.  My wife jokingly says that she knows what we will be talking about for the rest of the evening.

We talked about diabetes, about management.  I told her about my cycling and about Team Blood Glucose and the Diabetes Grand Tour.  She was suitably impressed.  I have heard many stories of people just not knowing other people with diabetes, particularly other type 1s not knowing about each other.  I am lucky, my brother has had diabetes longer than I have, so I have always had someone to talk to about this stuff.  However since I have been involved with the Diabetes Online Community (the DOC), my world has been opened up to more people, more knowledge, more technology and more opportunities (often opportunities to help people).  I have consulted with app and technology makers (for free), I have ridden across the Pyrenees with some of the most inspiring people with diabetes that I have ever met.

Fast forward to this week.  A few days ago I was in the bike shop, apparently I hang out there a lot lately.  I got a phone call from a number I didn't recognize.  I answered it and it was the same girl who I had had dinner with a few months earlier.

"I have an emergency"

She told me that her pump was broken, she had no other insulin (her back up supply had expired), I was the only other diabetic she knew of close by, could I help.

Could I ever?

It worked out nicely that she was on Novorapid in her pump, which is the same as I use.  I told her that I had spare and she could come round and take what ever she needed.  I got home opened up my computer and went straight to my diabetes Facebook groups.  I posted a question to Sporty Diabetic Type 1s and GBDOC and by the time she over I had plenty of help and and advice.  It was that quick, and that easy.  A number of suggestions were posted and we worked out a plan.
The comments I received right away

Clearly this was partially an issue that my friend did not have a backup plan.  It is something she will make sure in the future she has for cases like this.  In the end she was fine, it was just one night and the supplier got back to her the following day and fixed her issues.

The whole experience for her was eye opening, she was amazed at the response from people I do not know personally (though I have had many online conversations with them).  It also reminded me of an app that is designed for exactly this sort of thing.  The HelpAround app allows you to be part of a community, for example the diabetes safety net.  Then you can contact other people around you if you have a question or problem, if they are close enough to your location they maybe able to help you out.

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