Living With Type 1: Concerned about someone else’s health? How dare they!

I’m not used to worrying about other people’s health.
Dealing with type 1 diabetes is enough, I’d wager. But over the last year or so, I’ve had to think of others’ health more frequently. And I hate it.
Let me back up a moment before going further. It has been more than two years since my last original article for Diabetes Health, and much has changed over that time. My son has gotten older and started school, and I’ve moved the entire family back to the Great Plains, where I was born and raised.
It’s been a delightfully difficult time, packed with job and life changes. My father moved to the same town as my family. I made a pack of new friends.
And then my dad got sick.
Not seriously. Not chronically. But sick in that aggravating, two steps forward one step back way of older people. Sick in the way that doctors aren’t always quite sure what’s going on or how to address it. Sick in the “it takes some time to recover” way.
I was shocked at my reaction. I was irritated, angry almost. It didn’t help that my diabetic control has been challenging since the move. Not wildly awful, but certainly not helped by the bevy of dramatic changes.

How dare someone else be sick? How dare someone else in the family face the challenges of doctor visits and test results by the score?

My mother had health challenges too, but they were chronic, like mine. And she passed on nearly six years ago, now. Until she died — frankly, even afterward — I never seriously worried about her. She had things in hand.

But my father has always been the picture of robust health, and he doesn’t welcome the everyday toll of aging. Neither do I.
It’s just different, somehow, to watch him handle this, to visit him, to talk with him. I’ve spent my life as a diabetic as the center of attention. All the medical eyes should be directed at me, at my control, at my challenges, at my victories. I’m the one who should be worried about. I shouldn’t be doing the worrying.
And yet here I am. And here my father is. And here is my family.
Regardless of my irritation, I’m optimistic. I expect my dad will work through his challenges soon enough. He has ample support and guidance along the way, however long it takes.
My eyes are focused on the promise of the Medtronic MiniMed 670, the first closed-loop insulin pump system. Also known as an artificial pancreas, Medtronic’s device is the first pump and CGM that talk to one another and adjust insulin rates accordingly.
I’ve written about the promise of closed-loop systems for this website and on the pages of Diabetes Health before. But now an actual device has come to market. It’s already being used in the real world and will roll out more broadly this summer.
I might not like to worry about others, but I will. After all they did for me, it’s the least I can do. And I’m buoyed by true good news of technological advancement.
As I said earlier, it can be difficult, but also delightful.

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