I’m in New Jersey this week as I write this column. I walked outside my hotel this morning, and some helicopters were flying overhead. I looked up at them and as my gaze lowered, I realized I was looking at Manhattan from the New Jersey side, and directly across from me was lower Manhattan. The Lower Manhattan attacked, destroyed, and now rebuilt. I have no recollection of ever looking at Manhattan in this manner. As I have shared before, I spent a good deal of time down there from 9/11-9/12; 36 straight hours of hell is a good way to put it.
As I took my look away from across the river of Manhattan, a young lady came jogging by me. Clearly, on her leg was a CGM, and on her shorts waistband was an insulin pump with the tethered tubing going onto her body. I watched as she ran out of sight, making sure she did not have a hypoglycemic episode and collapse outside my Doubletree Hotel.
She went on.
I guess we have all moved on from that day and wondered if that young lady who was probably just about the age of when 9/11 happened; was she born yet? Was she diagnosed with T1D yet? My mishmash of thinking became a collage of thoughts on how much the world has changed in the last 22 years. How we get along. How much we are divided. How we used to get along. In my mind, I saw various pictures being laid on a canvas. A plane, a ball of flame, cutting my socks off my feet, a NJ Police Sargent, a mass amount of volunteers, a girl named Sally at a Starbucks, an actress named Kim who only wanted to help and wanted no fanfare, many many dead people, people who jumped, ambulances with patients, a cooking school, large piles of ice, tables with foods on it, a priest now admitting he was the new FDNY Chaplain to replace Father Mychel Judge—-9/11’s victim #1. And in all of this, my daughter had to take care of her diabetes just as the young runner who just went right by me has to do, had to do even back then, perhaps.
Has our diabetes world changed also in the last 22 years?
It has, you know. CGMs, Insulin Pumps, Insulins have gotten better, quicker, smaller. Smarter. More people unraveling the complexities that may one day lead to a cure or what a cure might look like. A company called Vertex, a T1D Fund, reconstructed islet cells, researchers working closer together, and a collage of hope comes into my mind. Because, unlike the world that we thought would always get along, after that war of 9/11, it has gone right back as worlds do after war or disaster. Fine for a little while, but allowing our differences to manifest and lead the way into the cruel way we treat each other once again; Pearl Harbor, Genocide, Horoshima, Apartheid, Ukraine—does it ever really stop? Will it ever stop?
I guess my thoughts on this day looking across a river from New Jersey to New York are not the comparisons or differences between violence and diabetes but, rather, that time clicks onward by the second, the minute, the hours; the weeks and time turns into months and years with nothing to do but look back and see how far we have come, or have not come far enough, or even, perhaps, not far at all. Time doesn’t care. Time marches on. Time won’t stop for anyone.
Will we ever learn to make every minute count? We should because we will turn around one day, and it will all be gone. What will be left? What have we done with all this time? Did we do something good? Did we get involved? Did we just stand by and watch?
Something to think about. Better yet, find something to do.
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