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The Beast Continued (Without Missing a Beat)
The frenzied fans dashed toward the stage on the narrow pier, the bright sun still high overhead; hoping to claim a spot along the coveted “front row.”
“No running!” one security guard yelled.
“Speed walk, Uncle Carey!” Brooke said, her motivated eyes fixed on a small unclaimed strip of metal gate that separated fans from the stage where vacant guitars and drums lay waiting.
We darted past a quartet of people standing in our path handing out complimentary packets of grape Mike and Ike candies.
“Can’t have that,” Brooke said in stride, blowing past the foursome with all sights set on the small window of metal space in the front row.
“Not bad for lows!” I called ahead to her, slipping the packet in my pocket.
Brooke claimed her spot. Her smile stretched a city block.
As the oncoming fans pressed forward to the stage and jockeyed for position, Brooke motioned for me to stay close and not get swallowed by the crowd.
“Uncle Carey,” she waved.
I stood behind her and to the left; close enough so that I could see how she was feeling at any moment but far enough to let her enjoy the moment without me hovering over her.
“Are you gonna mind if I ask you how you’re feeling every few minutes?” I asked her, only half-joking.
Her smile said “uh, yeah.”
“OK,” I said, raising my voice over the percolating crowd volume. “I’LL TRY NOT TO!”
There I stood, arms folded in tight without an inch of space in any direction, surrounded by a force field of screaming 16-year-old girls; an old piece of cheese wedged in the middle of a young hipster hoagie. Hair went up into ponytails all around me in random sequence, swatting me like a horse’s tail across the face.
At exactly the predetermined time, Brooke pulled her testing supplies out of her bag and tested her blood sugar. I was still wrapping my head around the fact that she had type 1 diabetes. Like I do with Charlie, I was scanning nosey onlookers with my eye lasers, prepared to attack if necessary.
She turned to me and gave me the number (127) and went right back to bopping her head to the opening band. I texted the number to her parents who were on site, a couple of blocks away.
The biggest concern for them was not knowing how the concert might affect Brooke’s blood sugar and being so new to all this. The doctors had recommended a non-bolused 15-carb packet of peanut butter crackers to counter the dancing, but she wasn’t dancing. Not yet. This I passed along to my brother- and sister-in-law and we all agreed to hold off on the snack and keep an eye on the effect of adrenalin.
“Why aren’t u dancing?” my brother-in-law asked.
Like Brooke, I told him I was waiting for the headliner – Passion Pit.
“Gonna break dance,” I told him.
“Go Uncle Carey! Go Uncle Carey! Go Uncle Carey!” I concocted Brooke saying in this ridiculous fantasy which featured me at the center of a dance-off in a wildly cheering break dance circle.
“Until u strain something,” he texted back.
The stability of the honeymoon period felt pretty foreign to me. It’s been so long, I don’t even remember Charlie’s honeymoon. It’s like a drunken blur. Two weeks in and Brooke and her parents haven’t had to deal with a correction yet. They have had a handful of lows, but the highest number they have seen was the 149 I chalked up to adrenalin when Brooke tested again at about 9:20 pm.
“Not bad at all in my world,” I texted to Brooke’s parents.
Amidst the livewire crowd with octopus arms swinging in the pot-filled air around her, Brooke took out her Lantus pen, dialed it up and injected like an old pro without missing a beat. I mean, she literally did not miss a beat – dancing and injecting and dancing again with a smile from ear to ear as her beloved band’s lead singer came over and seemingly sang directly to her. Her happiness lit me up.
Such poise for someone just diagnosed. I hate very much that Brooke is now a member of this exclusive club, but I’m encouraged by her strength and so proud that she was not about to let diabetes take this special moment away from her.
*** See us???
Michelle Kowalski, a writer, editor and photography hobbiest living in Phoenix, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in February 2005. In January 2008, as part of her quest to start on an insulin pump, Michelle learned that she actually has type 1 diabetes. (Read More)
Nicole Purcell lists having type 1 diabetes last when she's asked to provide information about herself - because that's where it belongs. (Read More)