travel

Diabetes In Boston

This week I’m at the Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians (LIAL) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Boston, Massachusetts. This is the 15th year of the LIAL, and the Class of 2013 is made up of roughly 100 librarians from all over the world. I can say “world” because the group is made up predominantly of librarians from the United States, but also Canada, China, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Welcome to Boston

The first thing I’m not supposed to do is tweet about LIAL. Or Facebook about LIAL. Or probably write this blog post about LIAL. So I won’t share all of the intimate specifics of LIAL, but I feel that I have an obligation to share some of what I am experiencing without necessarily divulging the deep, dark, sordid secrets of my fellow librarians.

Because diabetes is a part of every single thing that I do, I don’t feel shy about sharing some of the other sides of my life every once in awhile. How am I ever going to be able to sell that line about “I am more than just my diabetes” when I’m not willing to share more than just my diabetes? Besides, there have been some diabetes moments, so it’s not all librarian mumbo jumbo. Which is lucky for you, because that means you get to learn a little bit about Martin Librarian as well as the usual rants and raves about my living with diabetes. Consider it as entertaining as when someone farts in church while the preacher is taking a breath mid-hellfire and brimstone. I will be that fart of fresh air for you.

Like yesterday, when I was getting on my plane in Atlanta, a nice couple in the front row reached out to me and pointed out my Medtronic insulin pump that I had clipped to the outside of my jeans pocket. Turns out they work for Medtronic (or did, I’m not sure…boarding the plane was a little chaotic). There wasn’t much time for chatting, but they were very happy to see someone wearing a device that they are so proud to have been a part of developing. That made me happy. Not so much because they work for Medtronic, but just that MY diabetes made someone else’s day. Because, let’s face it, sometimes it’s a real dump in the pants.

(And that’s the 2nd fart joke I’ve made in one blog post. I should be ashamed of myself. I’m not. You’re welcome.)

Since I arrived in Boston, I’ve pretty much been going nonstop. So far I’m managed to break one iPhone case, one set of earbuds, discover that I didn’t bring enough socks, or any workout clothes, I didn’t complete near enough reading to feel prepared for class, and that the minibar is no substitute for a fridge in a hotel room. On the positive side, I won an argument versus a cab driver with a stereotypical Boston bad attitude, found an honor system book sale on the street, and saw socks in a store window tonight that have stripes made out of eff words on them. I’m sorry if you’re easily offended, but I WILL be going back to get me a pair tomorrow when they are open. You don’t let that kind of opportunity pass you by.

Several times so far this trip I’ve been asked about diabetes, which is awesome. Probably because I have it tattooed all over me. Yesterday, a nice woman that I was sitting next to on the plane from Atlanta to Boston asked me about the differences between multiple daily injections (MDI) versus using an insulin pump for people with Type 1 diabetes. Today, after getting off of the phone helping out a fellow T1D with a diabetes challenge, a librarian colleague and I had a conversation about Students With Diabetes and my passion for helping people with diabetes, and especially my unique perspective as a medical librarian with Type 1 diabetes. I absolutely love it when my diabetes world intersects with the real world in a positive way, and that I’m making progress integrating it with Martin Librarian world.

I also sat next to a nice librarian lady today (named Ripple, which may be the coolest name ever) who had a Mickey watch, same as mine. What are the odds? She’s the first person I’ve ever met in the wild with a Mickey watch like mine, and who isn’t six years old.

Mickey watches at LIAL 2013

I’m learning a lot this week, and will share more as I can. There is a TV inside the mirror in my bathroom, so I’m going to go watch SportsCenter now.

TV in mirror

(3rd fart joke. You didn’t even see that one coming!)

32 Things

Today is an important day in Martin World. A day that I look back and reflect on some of my accomplishments.

1. I passed Chemistry in high school. It was the hardest class for me. Tutoring helped. The tutor had a cute daughter. Those last two statements are mostly unrelated.

2. I graduated. Four times. Because once just wasn’t enough. (HS, AA, BS, MS…in case you were wondering.)

3. I was a DJ. On a Christian music radio station. Yeah, I don’t believe that either. But it’s true.

4. I found love. And lost it. And found it. And lost it. And found it again. I’m like a country song.

5. I’ve changed the world. Sort of. I stepped on an ant hill. “World” is relative.

6. I’ve been a President. It’s a lot harder than it looks.

7. I rode my bicycle over 100 miles in one day. Most people have enough sense not to do that.

8. I had dinner with Olivia Wilde. Kind of. She was two tables away from me. I’m still counting it. Can we be friends?

9. I was fired once. They called it a “lay off” because of the recession. Lipstick on a pig.

10. I’ve worked in two libraries so far in my career. I’ve been the token male in both. I’m like a trophy librarian.

11. I’ve been an Apple, an Android, and a PC. I prefer being an Apple.

12. I was voted Most Intelligent in middle school. It was nerdy at the time. Now it’s dead sexy.

13. I grew up on a farm. I delivered a calf. I about had a cow.

14. I had a dog named BJ when I was a kid. I lived on Fifth Street. I’m usually on top of that “What would be your name?” game.

15. I write with Sharpies. People with dry erase boards hate me when I get excited about flowcharts and to-do lists.

16. I worked in a 1-hour photo lab. I got paid to stick my nose in everybody else’s business.

17. I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise. According to the first rule, I can’t talk about this. I do love the movie though.

18. I wear a Mickey Mouse watch. It reminds me that great things start with small ideas.

19. I have jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.

20. I have a tattoo. I’d like to get another one. I just don’t know what yet.

21. I love video games. They are a way that I escape and decompress. I also want my own personal Navi, like in Zelda.

Navi_Hey_Listen

22. I always have more to do than I have time for. In related news, sleep is a nuisance.

23. I like to explore a new city on foot or bike. You see things that you didn’t realize were there. Like celebrities.

24. I love New York, DC, and Seattle.

25. I’ve tried escargot (snails). It’s not my thing.

26. I speak a little bit of Russian. I would like to learn how to speak Spanish. English would also be helpful, some days.

27. I can’t speak in coherent sentences before coffee in the morning.

28. I’ve read every book by Terry Goodkind, Barbara Kingsolver, Tobias Buckell, and John Steinbeck.

29. I have pets that are some of my favorite people. Two dogs and a cat. All spoiled rotten.

30. I have moved nine times in my life so far. Books are very heavy. Save your back, buy an e-reader. And get a library card for Pete’s sake.

31. I gravitate toward leadership roles. Which probably explains why my to-do list is so long.

32. Today is my 32nd diaversary. 32 years with Type 1 Diabetes. Making it this long is nothing short of a big deal. But, as you can see, there is a lot more to me than just diabetes.

SWD - Sara & Martin - May 2012

Bullets: Rat-a-tat Tat

I’ve been traveling a lot lately. And working. And traveling some more. If my counting is correct, this past weekend was my 8th trip somewhere out of town in the last two months, after weeks of prepping for said travel, and I still have one more trip to go.

8 Fingers

I’ve forgotten what weekends at home are, but if those mythical creatures still exist, I’m certainly looking forward to one someday soon. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, and so much that I want to share with all of you that still read my blog and haven’t given up on me while I’ve been M.I.A. the past few months.

Overall, the past several months have been a success, made up of both work and diabetes, and including a lot of reading, thinking, meetings, planning, traveling, juggling, tightrope walking, backward and forward somersaults, and as much fun as there has been time for in the three ring circus that is my life these days. Here are just a few highlights:

  • I took a trip to Seattle, Washington for the Medical Library Association conference. I had never been that far west or north before, and it was a mind-boggling and delightful experience. Jet lag sucks though.
  • I attended the inaugural Students With Diabetes National Conference in May, and it was one of the most incredible three days with diabetes that I’ve had in my entire life. Ever. I’m still processing my thoughts on it, but what is being done with Students With Diabetes and Bringing Science Home is nothing less than life altering.
  • After working every day (and night) since the end of February to plan a statewide meeting of medical librarians, I was elected President of the Florida Health Sciences Library Association. I’m extremely proud of and excited to lead this group to some grand things for medical libraries in Florida over the next year.
  • I’ve finally decided that I’m all in for D-Ink. I just have to find someone who has the skill to draw what I want. Will share my thoughts on that process, which may appeal to some of you who are also considering D-Ink.
  • New diabetes technology is out and about, and I’m drooling over it. However, with every new invention to improve the lives of people with diabetes, there comes a list of challenges.
  • Traveling and eating out so much has left me still struggling with my weight…again. It’s a recurring theme, really. I wanted to be lean by Friends For Life this year, but alas, that’s next week, and I don’t see myself losing the equivalent of a toddler between now and then. I’m exploring some options of what to do about it, and trying to figure out how I can get into a routine that isn’t so detrimental to my bottom line, so to speak.
  • Through everything, I’m still working to stay on top of my world with diabetes. 60% of the time it works every time. Wearing my Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) on a constant basis is still probably my biggest diabetes challenge, for a host of different reasons.
  • Also, I’ve spent some time recently shepherding someone near and dear to me who is newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. It has left me with a lot of thoughts about how we, both as patients and parents of children with diabetes, react to change and the news that our transmission has decided that it wants to be a “stick shift” rather than an “automatic.”

More to come on all of this, but I’m just excited to get back to writing and sharing and communicating with everyone again.

Here’s a picture of me and Sara at the Students With Diabetes National Conference. See also: Poster children for Type 1 diabetes. (You read it here first.)

SWD - Sara & Martin - May 2012

A-Flizzle and Martin - Osborne Family Lights 2011

Holiday Traditions

National Health Blog Post Month, Day 25: Never Have I Ever. You stick to your guns – now tell us about what. What is something you’ve never done but want to? What’s something you’ve never done and won’t budge on?NHBPM_2011_Day25

Growing up, Thanksgiving for me was staked in tradition. All of my family would get together at my grandma’s house for the full Thanksgiving spread: Turkey, ham, stuffing, peas, cornbread, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, pies and cakes galore, and more.

Over the years though, tradition has been replaced with change. People’s lives take a turn, some for the better, others for the different. Family members that I grew up with all have families of their own now, and we have moved into our own lives, where many of us have formed our own traditions.

Last year for Thanksgiving, A-Flizzle and I were in the Caribbean. We were in Key West petting six-toed cats at Ernest Hemingway’s house.

Hemingway House 2010

We were having a great time at the Hog’s Breath Saloon.

Fun at Hogs Breath Saloon 2010

We were sitting in the Bahamas having guacamole that was made fresh right in front of our very eyes.

Holy Guacamole

We were on an island, enjoying the sun. We were snorkeling above underwater plane wreckage and shipwrecks. We were drinking copious amounts of Diet Coke that we had to climb several flights of stairs on a cruise ship to get refills for (totally worth it, by the way!).

With that same spirit in mind, but not having quite the same amount of time to get away this year, we decided to go to Disney World for Thanksgiving. We had some time left on our tickets that we had purchased during Friends For Life last summer, and we needed to use them before the end of the year, so we figured…why not?

We spent the day yesterday at Animal Kingdom ogling the wildlife and having wild adventures.

Animal Kingdom Elephant 2011

At Epcot, we got educated Disney-style and traveled back to the 80’s with a little Captain EO. At Hollywood Studios, we proceeded to get into the Christmas spirit with The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.

The Osborne Family Spectacle Of Dancing Lights 2011

Aside from losing my cell phone and a low BG of 35 that sneaked up on me at Epcot, which was fortunately caught and corrected without incident, it was a pretty awesome Thanksgiving.

There was a time when I would have said that I wouldn’t miss the time with my family on Thanksgiving. I feel like I haven’t budged on that ideal. I’ve just twisted the rules a little bit.

Have family, will adventure. Even on holidays.

A-Flizzle and Martin - Osborne Family Lights 2011

This post was written as part of National Health Blog Post Month (NHBPM) – 30 health posts in 30 days: http://bit.ly/vU0g9J

National Health Blog Post Month

Swiss Gear Bag

Swiss Time

NHBPM_2011_Day21

I’ve been contemplating my diabetes supply transit situation since my post the other day about all the stuff we have to carry around. I’ve decided that I need to learn to travel at least a little bit lighter than I normally do. Why do I need to carry around a notebook if I have Post-Its? Why do I even need a notebook or Post-Its when I have my iPad and phone?

I started looking around online last week to see if I could find a bag that jumped out at me. Something small, manly, yet big enough to carry what I consider my essentials: iPad, phone, camera, BG kit, an extra pump inset, and something to treat a low blood sugar with. As long as I remember to make sure my BG kit is well stocked with strips and alcohol swabs (yes, I am part of the 1% of people with diabetes that use alcohol swabs), everything else is really non-essential. For most people, even these items aren’t all essential, but these are things that I use every single day.

I have messenger bags galore, so I decided to opt for something different, more adventure-friendly. I have found that most cases and bags that focus on diabetes supplies tend to be a bit of a letdown. I’m totally willing to be proven wrong on that blanket statement, but for the most part diabetes-centric bags either end up being too big, too girly, or just simply don’t meet the practical needs of me, Martin, male person with diabetes. (Not to be confused with mail person with diabetes, which Lee Ann Thill is responsible for.)

I couldn’t really find anything that I liked online. Plus I wanted instant gratification, as I was hoping to have something that I could take with me this week for Thanksgiving. On Saturday, I managed to talk A-Flizzle into going with me to Marshall’s to look at their bags. They usually have a smattering of different kinds of bags, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to see if they had something that was good quality, my style, and on the cheap.

I found something I think will work perfectly: My first Swiss Gear backpack. And it has a 5 year warranty, which is really like a dare to say, “Hey, see if you can bust this one with all the crap you carry around and the abuse you inflict on it.” I’m going to give it my best shot.

Swiss Gear Bag

Disclaimer: Marshall’s nor Wenger had any bearing on this post whatsoever. I just simply wanted to share that you can sometimes find excellent D-related gear from non-D-related places. And that I’m excited to have a bag that I can brutalize for at least 5 years.

This post was written as part of National Health Blog Post Month (NHBPM) – 30 health posts in 30 days: http://bit.ly/vU0g9J

National Health Blog Post Month

Complimentary Burro

Complimentary Burro

National Health Blog Post Month, Day 17: Let It Be. What’s something that bothers you or weighs on you? Let it go. Talk out the letting go process and how you’re going to be better to yourself for it.NHBPM_2011_Day17

You want to know what weighs on me? Backpacks. Messenger bags. Man bags. (It’s called a satchel. Indiana Jones wears one.) Call them whatever you want, I don’t like having to carry so much junk around with me to stay alive. Especially when I’m trying to do something fun…which is like, all the time in my world.

Diabetes is a disease that should come with a complimentary burro. And I don’t mean one that says “Thank you” or “You look very nice today.” I’m talking about a burro to help haul around all of the supplies required for “optimal” diabetes control.

Complimentary Burro

Photo by moose.boy (Flickr - CC license)

I carry around a messenger bag or backpack just about everywhere I go. This is what is in my messenger bag right now:

Okay, so maybe I don’t need ALL of that stuff to stay alive. Still, I could do without half of it if it weren’t for diabetes. When I travel, I like to lighten the load a bit; I put my working files in my Dropbox so I don’t have to carry the USB flash drive. I know, BIG difference. (That’s sarcasm.)

I can look at that list of stuff and justify every single bit of it. What can I say? I like to be prepared. They should tell you at diagnosis that a side effect of having diabetes is chronic overpacking.

I think I’m going to need a bigger bag.

This post was written as part of National Health Blog Post Month (NHBPM) – 30 health posts in 30 days: http://bit.ly/vU0g9J

National Health Blog Post Month

Playing Jax

Last weekend A-Flizzle and I hit the road to go see a Typical Type 1 and a bevy of Bob’s. Along the way we were fed by 13 Gypsies, a Bob and I went for a solid 24 mile bike ride, we all witnessed a catastrophic Contagion, had some times that were a little low and a little high (BG-wise), and we even managed to snap a few pictures along the way.

Hydrate Yo Self

It's extremely important to stay hydrated at all times.

Martin Coffee Company

There is always my personal favorite way to stay hydrated. What? It had my name all over it.

Gourds Gone Wild

If you have too much though, things might get out of hand.

A-Flizzle and the Unicorn

Breakfast with two fairytale creatures: A unicorn and an A-Flizzle. What more could a PWD ask for?