Cynthia Martieri was my best friend in the 3rd grade. She was a very sweet girl who always had the best lunches. Her mother was from Italy and would send Cynthia to school with thermos of warm soups, couscous in broth, and kick-ass snacks! Plus, Cynthia had an "in" with the teachers as she went to the teachers' lounge WHENEVER she wanted to! She also had special containers of orange juice in their fridge. The perks of being her friend were awesome!
Had I realized then the reason for her special teachers' lounge privileges, I probably wouldn't have peer pressured her into sharing her lunch and orange juice with me quite so often. I am a fat kid, after all. Cynthia was a type 1 diabetic. But one of those normal ones, whose pancreas never really worked to begin with. Unlike mine, who decided to claim work-related disability and retire earlier. Lazy fucker.
I can remember going to the teachers' lounge with her before lunch so that she could take her blood sugar. She was squeeze a huge glob of blood out onto a strip and wait 2 minutes before a color (much like an acidity test) would appear. She would then compare the color of the strip to the color code on the bottle to find out what range her blood sugar was in. I don't remember her taking any insulin shots. Funny how one blocks out things out.
I can also remember one morning after a sleep over, Cynthia testing her blood sugar. Her mother was disappointed and said in her broken English, "Too many sweets last night." We had attended a neighborhood birthday party the night before where Cynthia and her family weren't quite as diligent in monitoring her eating. I distinctly remember blue and white iced birthday cake.
Remembering back to Cynthia actually makes me grateful for the advances in diabetes care. I can find out my blood sugar levels in 5 seconds from a .5 milligram of blood. I have a pump that can provide me with the insulin I need to .10 of a unit. There's no guess work or waiting involved. I can take a blood test that can let me know how well I am controlling my diabetes for the PAST THREE MONTHS! How incredible is that!
Diabetes sucks no matter when your pancreas decides to crap out. But I really am so grateful to be diabetic at this point in time where the technology has come so far and continues to only get better.