today I want to tell a little bit about diabetes meetings. In the last thirty years I have visit many such events. I want to let you know what I have experienced in this time and how such meetings have changed over the time. In a group like that I met the „mother all diabetes blogs“. If you do not know who I mean, let yourself be surprised. But let’s tackle things one at a time.
Well, let’s start out with an experience I made. In my life I’ve noticed that there are times when I just wanted to be among diabetics. Yes, diabetics and diabetics meetings are also very important in the age of Facebook. But there were also times when I had no desire to visit any diabetes groups. So it happends that groups arise and close down again. And it’s not a bad thing if a diabetis group dissolves. The group has accomplished its goal. Sounds hard, but this seems to be the deeper meaning of a group, somehow.
… In the wild 80’s
The first diabetes meeting I attended, was over a quarter of a century ago. That was in the late 80’s of last century, when there were next to stars like Bruce Springsteen and Phil Collins also bands with funny names like Culture Club, A-Ha or Kajagoogoo. At that time, the meetings here in Germany were called diabetes support groups. The first thing, I’ve noticed, was that there existed two kinds of groups. The diabetes organisation (Deutscher Diabetiker Bund) had very well-organized groups. However, I was young and wild and thought this type of group leadership was too regimented. There were also young dynamic diabetics who called themselves „Insuliner“. I took an active part in that Insuliner group. We had much discussions in a heated atmosphere. Well, that has deterred some members a little bit and sometimes it was also too much for me. So the group quickly died. It had accomplished its Mission.
… in the 90’s
I then visited a very nice support group on the recommendation of a friend. The Group was well blended from older to younger diabetics, nearly every age was represented. I was in the early twenties at the time. We came together also once in a month and made many things like Indian cooking, Christmas party, cinema or we visit a museum. It was a very warm group and we often saw us in our spare time. This was in the 90’s years. But sometime, also the warmest group reached an end with heart pain. Many of my friends moved away in all directions.
I also moved to the Rhine Main Area because of my first job as an electrical engineer. That was in the second half of the 90 ’s of the last century. The musical tasts had changed. Shakira, Puff Daddy and bands named Take That were up to date. And Bruce Springsteen, he still made music without his E-Street Band somewhere in a secret garden. And I, what have I done? That’s right, I was looking for a new diabetic group. Only the name „support group“ came out of fashion and everybody spoke about „group of regulars“. So I was looking for a diabetes group of regulars. I had a H-Tron insulin pump and ordered my catheters and accessories directly from Diestronic and I got help to find a new group in my new city. While I ordered by phone I good an idea and asked the nice lady on the phone if she knows a diabetic group in my city. She wanted to keep her ears open. A short time later she phoned me that a woman from Berlin had moved to Rhine Main Area and had founded a brand new diabetes group. It was a cosy little four man group, which grew rapidly. We met once a month and privately, too. But I was not for a long time in this group. I married and went abroad. I was very self-confident and did not miss a diabetic group for a long time.
… in the here and now
Well, arrived in the present, I realize that I am much in Facebook on the go. I think that is today the first place to learn to know other diabetics. Local groups for most major cities can be found. I am in a group managed from Frankfurt. And of course we also meet very often. It’s a nice group consists of very many people and at every get-together I meet new people.
… yes we are a funny little people with diabetes
Meetings among diabetics are always very relaxed, no matter whether a group meets for the first time or routinely. It’s always fun. When I think about a family celebration or a excursion with workmates or the sports club, all of them can not hold a candle to a real diabetes meeting. Sometimes I have the feeling that we diabetics are more childish than the rest of mankind. But I have also a very plausible explanation. Surely diabetes puts pressure on us. But among diabetics we have a few hours of life without thinking, without to monitor the reaction to us, if we pull out the blood sugar meter or the pen. Just a very special atmosphere. And everyone knows that we all have the same small and big problems, without having to talk about it or having the need to explain it. Yes that makes us diabetics sometimes even easygoing if we are together.
… And abroad
I was on vacation at the beach in a small restaurant. We came in and saw a huge table with about 20 people. In the corner only a small table was left. Just right for two people. We sat down there. The people sitting around the large table chatted and were waiting for their food. It was a party with all kinds of people. My wife and I speculated whether it was a business lunch. Half a hour later the food was brought in. At first two plates, and when in turn one plate after the other. The whole group was silent, all the people became quiet and looked sternly down. And after all the food was served, it became hectic. They grabed almost synchronously under the table, picked something out of their pockets and banged it on the table. I had to laugh out loud. Everyone got out his pen and blood sugar meter. The whole group turned to me and looked at me with a looks that could kill. I got down to my backpack and pulled something out and banged it on my desk, too. And when the group began to laugh out loud. I had taken out my blood sugar meter. We push the the tables together. I had a convivial evening with a diabetic group from England. Crazy habits there, but diabetics seems to be a jolly crowd all over the world.
In three decades and even in foreign countries diabetics visit diabetes groups. Diabetics require Diabetics. That’s true. Fortunately nothing has changed in the last thirty years. Anyway, if I felt the need to see and speak with diabetics, I found a group. I would be delighted if the one or the other of you is now keen on a diabeties meeting and will visit one in her or his area.
… and finally the mother of all blogs
That reminds me that I haven’t even told you the „mother of all blogs“ for me. I met the person met in the Rhine Main Area in the 90’s. She is a petite lovely lady who goes to everyone with open arms. It’s Grit Ott. Many younger readers and bloggers may not know. She wrote a book over 30 years ago named „my sweet life“.
She wrote in her book about her time as a teen and her daily life with diabetes and talked about her fears and hopes. She has broken a taboo with her book. She had readings. That’s exactly what we diabetes bloggers do nowadays only online and much easier. I thought of Grit when I wrote my first post in my own blog. She is the mother of all diabetes blogs for me.
Regards Your Thomas