So last night I went along to a Diabetes Australia – Victoria event featuring one of my favourite people with a non-functioning pancreas, Gary Scheiner.
Gary is a diabetes educator with type 1 who runs Integrated Diabetes Services in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania looks like quite a cool place. I’d like to go there. Gary is also author of the rather famous book that encourages people with diabetes to think like a pancreas, unsurprisingly called Think Like a Pancreas, and the recently released Until There Is a Cure (which I am going to use as justification as to why I need a Kindle Paperwhite. Gadgets!).
Gary was in Melbourne talking about diabetes technology – particularly insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring. Unfortunately he didn’t discuss the potential for Tetris to feature on upcoming pumps, but I’m sure that will feature in presentations down the track.
I saw Gary speak on an identical topic last year, mere weeks before I got my insulin pump. I found him to be humourous, knowledgeable, perceptive but most of all, reassuring. Seeing Gary speak in 2012 reaffirmed to me why I had made the decision I had made, and filled me with confidence.
You might rightly ask – “why did you go to see him speak when you’d essentially seen the same presentation?”.
Aside from hearing his joke about NPH/Protophane for a second time (that is, NPH standing for standing for “Not Particularly Helpful” which I completely agree with – curse you, Protophane!), I went along because Gary just gets it, and as a result, he is fascinating to listen to.
Sure, he gets diabetes – he knows it back to front – but more importantly, he gets people with diabetes. He gets that diabetes technology needs to make our life easier; he gets that it is important for people with diabetes to be able to enjoy life; he gets that humour can be a handy tonic for dealing with what is a pretty crappy and frustrating condition; and he gets that if a miraculous cure does come one day, we want to be able to enjoy it.
I have been enormously lucky with my diabetes care team being awesome, but I know others are not that fortunate and have quite frustrating experiences with people that don’t share Gary’s approach or technique. So in a session about diabetes technology, I couldn’t help thinking that one of the best technological advances we could get would be to create a machine that would clone Gary Scheiner.
Because he gets it.
Power to you, Gary!