Monday, May 21, 2012

Diabetes mitzvah - paying it forward!

I spend an outrageous amount of time in the nurse's office at work every week - the lactation room lives there. And, being a chatty sort of gal, I end up spending a lot of time chatting with the L the Nurse when I'm there. Unsurprisingly, diabetes has come up as a topic of conversation. Today I got a call from her.

LtN: Karen. I've got a man from Germany here. He says he takes Nov--[muffled shouts of "What is it again?!"]--Novolog. His pen is out...

Me: Oh, Ltn, I'm afraid I don't use pens, and I don't have any insulin at the office.

Ltn: No, no. He just wants to know how to get more. He's got--[muffled shouts of "How much do you have?!"]--he's got some, but he's running out.

Me: I'll be right down to talk to him.

The poor guy is here for work for two weeks and somehow managed to bring a bottle of expired Novolog (well, NovoRapid in Germany) with him for his set changes. (He was actually on a Minimed pump, not pen injections. Even nurses get confused about diabetes, guys.) A lot of time was spent back and forthing about how he'd get a prescription from a doctor, how much it would cost to fill it, and whether Novolog and NovoRapid are actually identical, not to mention searching on his iPad when the English-to-German translation got to be a little much.

I finally said "Look, I'll just bring one of my vials to work tomorrow and you can have it. I have spares and then you won't have to go through all this trouble." The guy looked extremely confused. "I use Novolog and you can just have one. It'll be unopened and sealed and everything. You can just keep it." He still looked dubious. "Seriously. Traveling with diabetes isn't easy, and I've had my share of bad luck. I'm happy to help out a fellow diabetic."

One of my favorite things about the DOC - and the groups I belong to here in NYC - is the outpouring of support whenever someone has a diabetes disaster. A shattered vial of insulin, forgotten test strips, a failed pump, an expired prescription - I've seen all of these things, and I've also seen everyone rush in with offers of help. I'm glad I'll be able to help this poor German guy, and I can only hope he goes home to tell tales of how nice New Yorkers are....


  1. Awww, you are so awesome!! And I agree about how the DOC is always right there when things go wrong - I had many offers of help myself when Pete got laid off. Luckily, we were just fine, but it's so nice to know we all have each other's backs.

  2. wow, just wow. that is one of the most incredible stories i've ever heard. i'm so glad the nurse thought to call you, and that you were able to help that man. amazing.