Monday, December 12, 2011

Connecting among Paper Airplanes

Paper airplane
So my husband has a hobby . . . . he loves to fly remote control helicopters.  He has even gotten my dad interested in it - which is great because it means Dad and Pete can go do helicopter things together and I don’t get dragged along.  (Selfish?  Sure, but trust me, “Fun Flys” aren’t really very much fun.)

Saturday was their Heli Club’s annual Holiday Party, and that’s one event my mom and I always attend with the guys.  They serve a nice dinner, raffle off some door prizes, and pass out song sheets so everyone can join together and sing carols.  It’s not so bad . . . . until after we sing.  Because then comes what seems to be the highlight of the evening for the grown men.  They all fold their carol sheets into paper airplanes and proceed to fly them around the room.

This year we sat with a friendly gentleman named John.  He chatted with us throughout the evening.  When dessert came and we saw a huge dollop of whipped cream on the cake, we knew my dad wouldn’t eat it.  (Dad hates anything with whipped cream - except for the sopapillas served at our local Mexican restaurant.  He loves them, so we tell him they are topped with “frosting”.  Ssshhhhhh)  None of us had room to eat a second slice of cake, so we offered it to John.  He declined by saying “I’d love a second slice, but my diabetes doctor wouldn’t be very happy with me”.

Diabetes doctor?  Diabetes doctor!!!!  I unhooked my pump and held it up for him to see, and his face broke out in a big grin.  We talked about his diagnosis at age 50, and how the oral meds he took didn’t work all that well for him and he asked his doctor to add insulin to his regime.  We talked about my diagnosis 32 years ago.  He asked if I had a family history of diabetes, and told us of his diabetic grandmother.  Then he began to beat himself up a bit, saying that he isn’t a very good diabetic because sometimes he doesn’t eat at exactly the right time and sometimes he slips a bit on his diet plan.  I responded by saying “I think that’s pretty normal, John.  After all, it’s a lot of work and we never ever get a break.  Sometimes just a week off would be great, wouldn’t it?”  The look that came over his face still makes me happy when I think about it.  His smile was joyful and his eyes showed just how relieved he felt to talk to someone who didn't judge and really understands because she’s going through it too.  I felt like I was in exactly the right place at exactly the right time - and I was grateful to help John see he isn’t a bad diabetic at all.  He just struggles sometimes, and he sure isn’t alone in that!

I wish I could give John a break from diabetes during the holiday season.  But hopefully we got his diabetes guilt to board his paper airplane and fly off for a little vacation.  And I look forward to sitting with him again at next year's holiday party!


  1. Great story! How lucky John is for sitting at your table. How good for you to be able to lighten someone's load. Yay!

  2. Aw, this is awesome!

    Wouldn't it be great if we could fold our diabetes up into little aerodynamic things and fly them out the window?

    I'm going to be fantasizing about doing that all day . . .

  3. love love love this! your description of the relief you saw on his face says it all. YES!

  4. Lovely story and perfect timing from the sounds of it! :)

  5. Love spontaneous D connections :)


    My husband is a helicopter mechanic, and HE LOVES HELICOPTERS!!!

    We fly those buzzers over here a lot :) And, sometimes when he needs to do a test flight, he flies over the house in the real thing, and all the neighborhood kids come out to wave at him!!!

    Check it out :)


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