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Diabetes Show and Tell: Scott

By Naomi Kingery

Social Community Manager

Posted:  3/20/2014 5:03 PM


Scott was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1981, at the age of seven. When he and his wife decided to start a family, Scott became more focused on his diabetes care; he connected with other people who have diabetes through online forums, and in 2006, started using an insulin pump. He finds balancing his family life, full-time engineering job, and diabetes advocacy work to be nearly as challenging as balancing his blood sugars.

Q. What diabetes items do you typically carry in your bag?
If I’m not going far from home, I generally just keep a tube of glucose tablets and my meter with me. The glucose tabs are always in my right pants pocket and the meter stays my left jacket pocket; that way it becomes routine and is plainly obvious when it’s missing. Stuffed inside my meter pouch is an extra syringe, AAA battery, coin, and some lancets.

For longer or farther trips, I take a school pencil-case, which I’ve repurposed to hold my emergency supplies: an infusion set and reservoir, vial of insulin, another pump battery, extra test strips, a syringe or two, roll of first-aid tape, alcohol swabs, and even an old MiniMed 515 pump. I’ve also got an EpiPen in there, just in case one of my kids should need to use it on me in case of an emergency.

Q. What is your favorite awkward diabetes moment?
There was a time my girlfriend had to call an ambulance to take me to the hospital Emergency Room because of a severe overnight hypoglycemic reaction. That alone wasn’t what made it awkward, but it directly led to her parents and my parents meeting each other (from opposite sides of my hospital bed). It was an introduction we hadn’t planned on making just yet, given the stage of our relationship at the time. Everything worked out OK, though, and we were married a couple of years later.

Q. Tell us about the most memorable time explaining your diabetes to a new friend, significant other, or colleague
To tell the truth, I can’t recall anything memorable about explaining diabetes, or anything at all for that matter. I suppose that’s a good thing – explaining diabetes should be uneventful. It’s the anticipation and the build-up that make it seem like it will be much harder than it is.

Q. How do you reward yourself for practicing good diabetes management?
I don’t. But I don’t punish myself for poor diabetes management either, so I guess it all evens out.

Q. Who is your diabetes superhero and why?
There are plenty of people in the diabetes community who’ve earned a tremendous amount of my respect. However, if there is one person who impresses me beyond comprehension, it is Bobby Clarke, the former captain of the NHL Philadelphia Flyers and inductee in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Throughout the 1970’s and early 80’s, not only did he play a very physical game, but he did so at such a high level, and did it without the benefit of the blood glucose meters, rapid-acting insulin, and other developments that we take for granted today. Personally, I always find it challenging to manage blood sugars along with intense exercise, but I have the ability to look at my CGM trends and temporarily adjust my basal rates. The tools back then were much more primitive.


Kitty Castellini

Posted on Thu Mar 20 22:40:16 GMT 2014

Thank you Scott for sharing this with all of us! I agree with you about Bobby Clarke, he was an awesome player! Scott your a great inspiration! Keep up the great work!

Denise Kirk

Posted on Fri Mar 21 00:58:19 GMT 2014

Thank you for sharing your story. My husband has a difficult Time managing his diabetes and he just gives up sometimes. I have had to learn how to live with his multiple personalities as his sugars change so often. I know it's difficult for him, but it's also very hard on their loved ones, when they don't know how to help.

I think it embarrasses him to tell others he has the disease, but it's important to me, since I can't be with him all the time.

He wants to play ball, but he is 58 years old and can't do chores without his sugar dropping dramatically. I am in a tough spot, because I love him and want hmm to live a normal life, but what if something happens to him? It's something I live with every day. I admire you for taking care of yourself and being prepared for anything that can happen. Thank you for taking the time to share your tips with me.

Dorina Hazelton

Posted on Fri Mar 21 05:28:48 GMT 2014

Why do you not carry a glucagon kit with you at all times?

Karen Graffeo

Posted on Fri Mar 21 17:05:13 GMT 2014

What a great show and tell - thanks for sharing, Scott!

Rhonda B

Posted on Fri Mar 21 17:17:09 GMT 2014

Great article, Scott! To answer Dorina's question (from another Type 1 who doesn't carry a glucagon kit all the time either)....the problem is, if I were out and about and had a low blood sugar, 99% of the time, I know it and treat it way before I would ever need glucagon. And should I ever pass out, the chance that someone around me would even know how to administer the glucagon would be slim to none. It's not a simple process, and not something I'm going to explain to every single person I work with or come in contact with. My family and close friends would know, that's it. Some frosting on my tongue would hopefully serve enough until EMS gets there.

Scott E

Posted on Sat Mar 22 03:18:08 GMT 2014

Denise --
I understand how tough it must be for your husband, and can only guess how hard it is for you. I know what it's like for my personality to become short-tempered and irritable during blood sugar swings, and the regret over how I may have treated someone lingers long after the blood sugars have normalized. How to help-- it's hard to say, everyone is different, but understanding what his state-of-mind at a given moment is would go a long way.

As far as the embarrasment, I've found confidence through friends and online communities, and every so often I challenge myself to do something to be more "visible" - maybe something like not keeping my pump covered, or being in an article like this one (which I'm pretty sure my non-D friends will never stumble upon). Over time, my "difference" has become a source of pride rather than a source of embarrassment.

I'd be happy to continue this discussion if you or your husband feel the need to talk to someone -- if you'd like, you can seek me out online or maybe ask one of the Medtronic folks to put us in touch.

Scott E

Posted on Sat Mar 22 03:21:46 GMT 2014

Dorina --
Great question, and I've been giving this a lot of thought since I first read it. Since I see no medical disclaimers on this blog post, let me start by saying that the following is my own thoughts, that it doesn't necessarily reflect the views of Medtronic Diabetes, and that you should probably consult your own qualified medical staff for guidance on this topic as it may relate to you or your loved ones.

To me, glucagon is something that I should never have to give myself or ask for - if I'm capable of doing that, the hypo is not glucagon-worthy (I do keep it at home in case something happens while I'm asleep). Some people use it more liberally than I do to treat extreme lows. But I'll also agree with what Rhonda said; that if I'm out during the day, I can't see how such a low wouldn't come on so fast that I wouldn't be able to respond to it. I'm pretty obsessive about checking my blood sugar and CGM. Is that a bit risky? Perhaps. But I am taking a vacation in a couple of months, and had you not written this comment, I'd probably would not have thought to take the glucagon kit with me. Now I'm sure to take it; so thank you for that!

Scott K. Johnson

Posted on Mon Mar 31 06:36:10 GMT 2014

Great post! Super fun to see Scott and his answers here. I'm a big fan of the guy - and he has a great name, too! :-)

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