Batman Ben: Let’s Hang Him in the Batcave Before He Even Sees a Script…..Seriously??????

Ben Affleck BatemanBen Affleck is the new Batman.

It was announced yesterday that Ben will play the cape crusader in the new Man of Steel Superman film.

And oh how the comments roared:
–way to destroy a franchise
–move over George Clooney .. you are not officially the worst Batman anymore !!!
–is this an April Fool’s Joke?
–Ben Affleck is cute, but he is not Batman

As someone who respects and loves the entertainment industry, I always smile at the reviews given by people before they ever see the person they are criticizing in the actual role.  If I have learned anything about this lightening fast and razor focused connection of the internet is that there are never a shortage of opinions.  

But I offer this, remember these-type comments:
–You’ve got to be kidding…
–this is totally bull. I do not at all like this choice
–Well hell while their at it why not cast Ben Stiller as the riddler, Julia Stiles or Rachael Leigh Cook as Poison Ivy, Paul Walker as two face, Matthew Lillard as Mr. Freez and Will Ferrell as Bane….

These were all said of Heath Ledger when it was announced that he would be cast as the Joker; which one him an Oscar.  And even if you are THAT cynical that you believe he only won the Oscar because he had passed away; there was just no denying what he added to the role.  He raised the bar of how the Joker character would be defined forever more.

Our initial thoughts are not always a ‘fair chance’, are they?  My take away here is a reminder how my friend Tara and I went to see (or should I say laugh) at a performance of Farah Fawcett in a theatrical production of Extremities years ago in New York City.  To say that we were not left with our mouths hanging wide open at the amount of torture this woman went through every night in this role would be a understatment.  Ms. Fawcett was nothing shy of brilliant.

It’s a quick reminder that because; we didn’t think about it first; it was not our idea; it sounds stupid; we would never DO THAT; I don’t agree with you-that-it-whatever; that perhaps we should take a step back and let whoever is doing something attempt it first before we shoot them out of the sky.  That goes for the diabetes world, the entertainment world, and life in general.

One’s opinion is nothing compared to another’s actions.  I admire those that do what no one attempted before; or attempts what no one thinks they can do.

Achievement is in the doing; no one ever wrote a book about someone who was going-to-do something.

Food for thought.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

A True Story that will Make Your Blood Boil…..We ALL MUST LEARN from this Story.

angryIf you do anything today; print out the news story at the end of this post.  I thank Tonya Sweat for sharing it.

I am livid.

While reading it, ask yourself the following; “How would I want this situation to play out for my child?”

Print out the news story and bring it with you when it comes time to discuss your child’s 504 plan at their school.  Be ready to show this story to your school officials when they say, “common sense” will prevail.  Be ready to ask your school officials what would they do in this instance?   Be ready to show this story when they give you a bullet-point one-sheeter and tell you this is what a 504 plan will be.

If you have discussed it already, go back and make sure this is covered.

Be ready.

I have said a thousand times, and said it to school officials at the schools for our kids over the years; the 504 plan IS NOT for just the obvious; it is for the unexpected.

Learn from this story.  Blame does no good here and people will do what they need to do to discuss and take action on this specific incident.  For us who are not involved: LEARN!

What is the answer?  That is for you and your school officials to work out but there are solutions.  I cannot comment as to what is right and what is wrong in this particular instance in a broad sense; although I do have personal opinions on this which I will not share because I’m too angry.  What I will say is that you can bet your last dollar that  this was not listed in the student’s 504 plan.  And some sort of provision should have been.  And if it was, this WAS NOT the course of action agreed upon.

How do I know?  In reality I don’t.  But seeing the choices given the student, it is clear there was no plan.

I have stated before that lock downs and evacuation plans need to be discussed.  In today’s world these MUST be considered.  Not only this instance mentioned in this story, but running low, missing lunch periods, need for administering glucagon, emergency needs during these times of crisis (which includes drills), checking blood sugars, a meeting point out of the building where the nurse can monitor, terms for good weather, bad weather, and anything else you can think of in-between.  If you have never thought of this….START NOW.

Let this story be a lesson for everyone.  Print it, carry it, and be ready to ask…..”…what should we do to make sure there is a provision for this type thing for my child?” 

Get it in the plan.  Accept nothing less.  Period!

Read, learn, print.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

A Story of a Life Lost Too Young……It May Change Another; We Can Only Hope.

life lostI have one.
I have one.
I have two.
I have two.

Standard protocol as the members of the EMS notified each other of each hand they had placed as they raised the gurney into the ambulance, thus designating they each had a firm grasp of the injured patient.

There was a bump and a small laceration of the head with blood trickling out.  The patient’s eyes were open but fairly unresponsive to the questions being asked.

There was no one else in the car, obviously the rain-swept roads made the curve difficult to navigate and had the tree not stopped the car, the deep embankment on the other side would have made the accident much more than it already was.

The EMT in the back of the van hit the buzzer twice notifying the ambulance driver that they could proceed to the hospital.

As the EMT kept speaking to the patient, there was still no response.

Odd.  But not all that uncommon, the hospital will figure it out.

As the ambulance pulled into the hospital ER Bay, they were met by medical personnel. 
Vital statistics were exchanged and the unresponsiveness was duly noted..  The cell phone of the victim was found and under “I-C-E” (in case of emergency) there were two numbers; both were called and only a message could be left. 

The parents were away on vacation that week.

Hospitals do not move that quickly unless needed.  The doctor was a little concerned that the bump on the head was more than it appeared.  He ordered x-rays. He ordered CAT Scans. That took time as radiology was busy on this particular night… was rainy, there were other accidents.

By time they took the x-rays, took the CAT Scan, and a doctor had time to read them, the patient was growing agitated and began to try to get up and move around.  As the patient grew more and more agitated another doctor was called.  Again the head wound was examined.  The patient began becoming more unruly.  They thought it best to restrain the patient as further evaluation took place.

As they moved the patient back upstairs, two hours had passed and the patient’s eyes began rolling around aimlessly, and the patient lapsed into a coma.

By time the parents heard their messages to contact the hospital, it was too late.

The funeral was attended by many family and friends.  It was a sad, sad story because the patient was young and had so much living to do. 

On the bedroom dresser lay the medical i.d. necklace, and the two medical i.d. bracelets, untouched and unworn for weeks. perhaps even months.  In the crumpled car there was small glucometer that rolled under the seat and was never seen. 

The bump on the head was only superficial, the patient’s type 1 diabetes was not.  Checking blood sugar before one drives and wearing these identifications are not a game.   It was just a quick ride. They were all a hassle, the patient would not ‘be gone for very long’.  This items are not a ‘request’.  they have a reason.  This patient did not think it would ever matter.  In this case, It did; but the patient would never know.

If you leave this story for a loved one to read, it is up to you whether you delete this part of the story, or not, where I state this is not a real story that I know of; but it surely could be……couldn’t it?

If it scares the hell out of just one person enough, and they attach that necklace; good.  My goal was achieved.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Who is YOUR Chief of Staff?

ConfidanteIn the diabetes world; who is YOUR chief of staff?

I love this clip from The West Wing.  (sorry about the subtitles, but the other ones that contained these words were much longer, this one is only about 30 seconds)

As we continue our travels on this diabetes journey; who is that person who is the closest to you in the battle?  Other than a spouse/partner; is there someone who means the world to you?

Is there someone who is your confidante, your advisor, and your shoulder to cry on?

Is, as the video states, the person smarter than you?

This person ‘get it’ as much as, or even more than we do.  They have the ability to listen, they have the ability to hear, they have the ability to take everything in and give you an opinion even if it is something that you do not want to hear but need to hear. 

They ‘get away’ with speaking to you as no other.  They understand you as no other.  It is my hope that you have someone like that in your life.  

If the President of the United States; military personnel, and heads of major corporations and companies have a Chief of Staff; there is a reason.  Someone should be ours as well; may we all be so lucky.  Don’t you think?

I am a Diabetes Dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.


Do Kids with Type 1 Deserve to have a Wish Granted by Organizations?

Magic wandYears ago I had the wonderful experience to help two different families at two different times.  Little Anthony and Kevin both had cancer, incurable cancer.  The results were known and even though both gave a valiant fight and underwent almost every treatment available, eventually the battle was lost.

With each day that went by I witnessed their lives slipping away and even to witness them smile at their weakest moments were enough to brighten a day.  When a fund-raiser was completed and a check was presented I can still to this day hear Little Anthony’s (as his parents called him) voice in my head, “Damn, that’s a lot of money.”

When Rob graduated, I thought of Little Anthony’s family as they were both the same age and surely we have had the wonderful opportunity to witness and enjoy our son, they were not so lucky.

Years after I ran the event for Kevin, a woman stopped me in a 7-11 and she said, “Tom, you may not remember me.  I am Kevin’s mom and you helped us years ago.”  We hugged and she told me what was going on in her life and how much she appreciated all that we did. 

We were never experienced in any such way that compared us to what these families went through.

If you do not know about the so many pediatric cancers, count yourself lucky.  When it’s a terminal, malignant, progressive, and degenerative diagnosis; it is just overwhelming to watch, witness, and share.

I remember someone asking me about one of the organizations that grant a wish for kids with such diseases that Kevin and Little Anthony suffered with and if I thought kids with type 1 diabetes were eligible.

I answered ‘no’ immediately.  I answered no because I felt that if anyone on this earth wanted and/or deserved a wish to be granted; it would be these two little boys and their families.  I’m not comparing diabetes to cancer, and won’t.  But in as much as I completely understand what it is like to have two kids with diabetes, and I know all of the management needed; and know the fears; and just completely understand; I would never think for a moment that what we do on a daily basis was the same life threatening and terminal situation that would warrant a utilization of a granted wish.  Most important is that NO ONE ‘DESERVES’ anything; they are granted at the goodness of the person or organization granting them.

To me, TO ME, it just isn’t.
Is diabetes life threatening.  Yes it is.  Is it a life threatening terminal disease with no chance at a quality of life as others have?  No it is not.  

Now one can pick apart the words as life threatening and/or quality of life and try to make it a crystal clear-cut meaning but the truth is—-it isn’t crystal clear.  My kids do not have a life-like kids who do not have diabetes and neither do we as parents.  But we also do not have the same life as those who are literally dying with each day that goes by; they are not growing weaker with each day that goes by; they are not on a time-table that will snuff out their lives in six months.  Yes, I know that IT COULD be snuffed out; but it is not a predictable end.

Again, recently, someone asked me if I thought that our children are ‘deserving’ of a granted wish?  I  found that some parents were quite set in their thought process that an organization should be granting wishes to kids with type one diabetes.  No they shouldn’t.   Why?  Because they said they shouldn’t.

Now before some of you want to hang me; just keep reading until the end.

There is a Board of Directors that have set a criteria for these type of organizations and Make-a-Wish is only one of many such organizations.  But it is clear that if a child does not have a progressive, malignant, and degenerative disease; they do not qualify for a wish.  Quite simply; our kids do not.

There must be a line drawn that allows a gauge to decide who gets a wish and who does not according to the various groups I spoke to preparing for this article.  That line in the sand is not an easy one.  It is drawn because there MUST BE a divide and no matter where THAT DIVIDE is set, someone will asked it to be moved once again.  So most groups draw the line and do not move it.  It is not for a lack of compassion, it is an act of practicality.

Another commonality from the organizations is that there are not enough funds to grant all of the wishes that they would like to grant to those that fit the criteria they have set, much less trying to stretch the parameters to include additional children living with other diseases.

I’m not saying what our children live through is not horrendous, I’m saying organizations have the right to set their own criteria and it should be respected. Almost any group that is created, or has been created, was started because the group felt that the existing organization(s) did not fulfill the need adequately on what they found/deemed to be important.

So if you believe, and believe strongly enough, that children with type 1 diabetes should be allowed to request a ‘granted wish’, I would suggest that you begin such a group.  There are groups that create wishes from a life experience to supplies to clothing.  Why can there not be one for diabetes?  That is question for you to answer.

Kids with diabetes, in most cases, are not adequately considered for a college scholarship based on a disability.  Those that grant these scholarships grant them based on those who have overcome incredible odds; sounds like our kids doesn’t it?  But alas they are not considered in any place that I know of giving scholarships based on overcoming a disability; and feel free to enlighten me if I’m incorrect.

With that in mind, the Diabetes Scholars Foundation was created.  Guess what their number one criteria is?  Yup, you must have type 1 diabetes.  Now they could have spent years trying to get groups and organizations to grant a scholarship; or they could do something about it NOW.  In 2008 they gave 18 scholarships and in 2013 they gave 49.

So the point of my story today is not just about whether kids with type 1 diabetes are deserving of a granted wish; my point is that here is an opportunity to fulfill a need if you think it  is needed strongly enough. 

Years ago there was the American Diabetes Association; Lee Ducat thought there should be more focus from an umbrella organization to fund type one research; and she and her friends created (what is now called the) JDRF.  Barbara Singer and her friends believed that there should be place where actual science was being done solely dedicated to curing type 1 diabetes and they created the Diabetes Research Institute.

So if you think that something is not being done that needs to be done…….make that wish come true.

I am a  diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

The “BAG”!

Diabetes bagDiabetes bag.

It contains the lifeline for diabetes.  In as much as those with diabetes would like it smaller, more ‘hide-able’–it has become part of our terminology as much as anything else.  It started as the diabetes supply bag; it became your diabetes bag, and after a certain amount of time it became known as just ‘the bag’.

You know; “Do you have the bag?”
“Where’s the bag?”
“Do not forget the bag”.

The bag.

Did you ever think that such a word would become such an important part of your life.  Did you ever think that such a word would represent so much that gets taken every where.   It does not just get taken ‘out’, it gets taken EVERYWHERE.

Trips, run to the store, a walk around the park, or even skydiving from an airplane—we go nowehere without ‘THE BAG’.

Insulated, supplies, insulin, back-up, alcohol swabs….all are contained in ‘the bag’.

We should think of a really cool name for ‘the bag’; don’t you think?  It just seems that something so important deserves a bigger, better, and cooler title, don;t you think?  So if you have any ideas, I’m open to them.

I have to go take the kids out to a friends, have a great day as I need to jump in the car and go; but not without THE bag.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.


Are You, or Someone You Know,…….a DIABADASS?!

Mr. TI do not know where this phrase came from but I love it.  I first read about it on Sandy Struss’ page and if she is the creator of the word….thank  you.  She also has demonstrated her incredible skills in fulfilling what that phrase means.

If she is not the creator of the word, whoever deserves the credit please step up and let us know.  It is such a great word because it is a direct line to what it means.  Someone with diabetes who goes for it all with no- nonsense in life; or in a particular challenge that is undertaken by someone with diabetes.  Successful is only defined as taking on the challenge.

The list is so long of the people I know who fit this title.  Not just those who undertake insanely challenging tasks like climbing the largest mountain in the world; but those who also undertake personal challenges that others might very well never attempt.  A challenge is a challenge is a challenge and we read about them all the time.

If anyone out there has artistic skills, I would love to see an icon or graphic art creation of these incredible people.  So feel free to share a drawing.

So today, if you are one (or your child is one) who does not let diabetes stop you from the challenge in your life; and you take it on, even if you do not succeed… took it on; you are in a very elite club.

You are diabadass!   Thank you for your continued inspiration.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

“It’s My Son”. Last Nite.

Police carsSaturday (tomorrow) was to be special.  I guess, it still will be.

I took two vacation days to arrange finishing touches for Rob’s High School graduation party to take place this weekend.  Much activity as we planned for those who will be attending.  Many of Rob’s friends and other family members and neighborhood friends in a day of celebration.  We love to host these and this is a VERY SPECIAL day. I was outside working on the lights when Jill came outside.

“Tom, you need to come in.”

“Everything alright?”  I said it with that half I-know-everything-is-okay-but-am-asking-anyway.

“No.  Rob was in a car accident.”

I got the location where he called from; at least he called so I knew he was alive.  Jill got in my car and Kaitlyn was grabbing her keys.  I said to Jill, you better ride with Kaitlyn.  Jill knew not to ask any questions and she went to Kaitlyn’s car.

My tone reflected that I was going to get there in a speed that she probably would not want to be in the car with me.  Great thing about training in theatre, stunt driving came with some of my training.  I have relied on that training before and I was about to do it again. 

I did not say it was smart, I just said I was going to use it. 

You can stick knives in me, but if my family member is hurt, NOTHING will get in my way. Period.

As I pulled up to the scene there were police cars everywhere.  The streets were closed off.  Rob’s car was a wreck.  The other car was smashed also.  The police raised his hand stopping from getting any closer.

“It’s my son.”  He allowed me through.

I went over to Rob and he was wavering, I told him to lean on the car. 

He sat down on the passenger side. 

Kaitlyn pulled up right after me.  I told Kaitlyn what I observed.  Two things in our favor;  Kaitlyn is a very good EMT and she also has diabetes.  I knew she was better to deal with Rob, and she went right over.  I intercepted Jill.

“Look, he is banged up pretty bad.  He has chest pains and his leg is in a lot of pain.  DO not look at the car; just go to him.”

Kaitlyn was already down on one knee going over everything with him.  She stepped aside as the Emergency Response pulled up from TJ’s fire Department.  I knew Rob was in good hands.  They placed Rob on a board and placed a collar on his neck to immobilize him.  Within seconds he was on his way to Stony Brook Hospital, with his mother by his side in the ambulance.

TJ works at the hospital and he had already called ahead.  They would be waiting for him.

I stayed with Kaitlyn, we cleared his stuff out of his car.  It’s just metal.  I really did not care about it; but I am sure it is the last time he would see the car.

A very nice couple stayed at the scene and gave a report as witnesses.  The other driver made an illegal left hand turn out of a parking lot attempting to go through 3 lanes of traffic and crossing a cross hatched yellow divider.  They told us Rob had no chance to avoid it, none.

At the hospital was our family.  Rob was there, TJ was there and Joelle and already come and gone, Kaitlyn, her boyfriend Andre; and us.  All of us.  Family. When needed most.  I was emotionally hurting but proud of how TJ reached out to who he needed to; Kaitlyn was tending to her brother before the other EMT’s arrived; and everyone, although deeply concerned, operated like clock-work in getting everything done.  As a father, I was deeply moved.  As a father, I was still in shock seeing my son in so much pain and so much twisted metal.  How anyone was not more seriously hurt, is beyond me.

After six hours at the hospital; keeping a close watch on Rob’s diabetes, and a diagnosis of severe muscle trauma/strain; we were on our way home.  Rob will, hopefully, sleep most of today.  I finally got to bed at 3:30 am.  A long night.

As we were having coffee this morning, Jill sighed and whispered; “Enough is Enough”.

It should be shouldn’t it?

I had just written that we are always tested.  “Diabetes does not care.” I recently wrote; well neither does life.  Rob is banged up but okay and that is what matters.  It could have been worse. 

But still, it’s not fair, you know.  It’s just not fair.

“Enough is Enough”.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.



Not a Second Child Diagnosed?….What Would I Do?

diagnosisThis question is asked by so many parents who have a child with diabetes.  I asked it often and knew that because of my loyalty to the things that I have dedicated my life in the diabetes world after Kaitlyn’s diagnosis in 1992; that there was no way on earth that God, fate, or whatever one believes in would ever allow diabetes it to impact our lives yet again.

We were owed that, right?


The biggest lesson I learned on March 20th, 2009 is that diabetes just does not care what we do, or who we are, or who we are not; it comes with a vengeance.  It comes on strong, and it does not care.  Rob was diagnosed at age thirteen, and to make matters worse it was four days after my dad died.  That week sucked.

Since 1992, we never lived our life in the fear of diabetes hitting us again.  We went and had the testing done on our other kids and actually when Rob was younger it came back that we had nothing to worry about.  But also, either we were not told, or we did not hear, that he needed to be tested every year.  THAT we did not do so we were not aware.  It was our job to know and we did not and we take the blame for that, no one else.

When it happened.
Rob told us he was peeing a lot and when asked how much he told me four times an hour for the last 36 hours.  THAT was a lot.  And long story, short; he was diagnosed.

The anger that raged within us was huge.  As Jill so aptly stated about our anger; “It is just so unfair that another childhood would be stolen.”  But as in the first time; the anger was to be channelled into action.  To be honest, the anger is still there.  Not because we ‘deserved’ anything but because no one deserves having another child with diabetes.

All of a sudden I became very interested in those people who had three children diagnosed.  VERY INTERESTED.  I knew right away that I would never assume anything again, because as I stated; diabetes does not care.

A huge lesson to share with you is that even if it does happen; the truth is we are already very good at this, aren’t we?   I mean aside from all of the ‘stuff’ that plays games with our head; we are experts at dealing with insurance companies, the school, play dates, daily management, and almost everything else that comes along living with diabetes.  The learning curve for us was being diagnosed smack in the middle of adolescence.

The conversation Rob and I had (which will remain with just us) are conversations that I cherished.  Richard Rubin (and others) taught me well how to become a partner with my son.  Clearly I could have done things better but we crossed many a-bridge together that we did not even know we crossed until we crossed them and we did it as a family.

We continued onward.

There is no reason to live in the fear of an additional child becoming diagnosed because you cannot do anything about it; but you can do something should it ever happen.  I hated having one with diabetes, I hated having two with diabetes.  But it’s what we do when it lands that maps our course.  And laying down for diabetes is just not an option…..ever!

When I read about the struggles people are having with a child with diabetes (and not to belittle that–it all is horrendous) I long to have those days back when there was only one……..but I do not take too much solace in that thought because I know somewhere there are those with three, and even four… having two is not so bad; relatively speaking.  Not to mention those that have lost their child as well; I cannot even imagine THAT horror.

So even as bad as it seems sometimes, the question that needs to be asked is how bad do we really have it?  A question to remind ourselves daily.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.


Do they Know what We Do………..While they Sleep?

moonWhile they sleep.

Do they know we stare at them first?

Do they know we think “…where can I do this without disturbing their sleep?”

Do they know we want to do this as quickly as possible?

Do they know we would stay all night, every night, if we could go without sleep?

Do they know how much we care?

Do they know how much we want them to have everything as much as those who do not have diabetes…..and even more?

Do they know we hold them in their bed while they drink or eat something to raise their blood sugar, so they do not fall back down unaware?

Do they know that we leave and we cry sometimes?

Do they know that as we go back under our sheets we think, ‘I will need to test again in two hours’?

Do they know that sometimes we ‘scrunch’ our toes in the carpet to distract showing anything on our face, just in case they see?

Do they know we usually kiss them and tell them, again, how brave they are and we love them even though we also know they do not hear us.

Do they know what we do?

While they sleep.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.