Diabetes Time Capsule


Today is the first day of WEGO’s HAWMC.  Every day during the month of April a different prompt will be used by health activists and bloggers across the world to raise awareness for a wide variety of health issues, including diabetes, lupus, Celiac’s disease, fibromyalgia, childhood arthritis, and so much more! I will be (attempting) to participate daily as an activist for Type 1 diabetes.

Today’s prompt asks us to “Pretend you’re making a time capsule of you & your health focus that won’t be opened until 2112. What’s in it? What would people think of it when they found it?”

This is an interesting question.  When I first saw it I thought it would be easier than it was – but you have to remember that most time capsules are not that large, so you can’t put in an endless supply of things.

I do have some prior experience with a time capsule, but it wasn’t related to diabetes. My sixth grade class created a time capsule during our last week of elementary school (back in the days when sixth graders were considered elementary aged children, not middle schoolers!) and each sixth grader in the two classes had to contribute something. I honestly do not remember what it was that I put in the capsule, but I do remember the excitement of digging the hole under a tree and burying the capsule several feet down.  If Longfellow Elementary is still there and is still a school in 2098, another group of students may open our time capsule and see what was important to sixth graders one hundred years before them!

If I were to really create a time capsule about Type 1 diabetes, there isn’t a lot I’d be too willing to part with and actually put inside, but since this is theoretical, here’s what I would include:

  • My scale for weighing food – because it’s the most accurate way to count carbs
  • My Animas Ping insulin pump – because it is the primary way that I control my diabetes
  • A bottle of insulin and a syringe – because these are my backups
  • A battery (AA), a new reservoir, a new infusion set, and an alcohol swab – to show how much stuff I need to keep the pump running and working for me
  • My meter, my lancing device, and a bottle of test strips – because without these things I’d be as good as blind to my diabetes and what it’s doing to me.
  • A juice box and my glucose tabs container that actually contains jelly beans – because hypoglycemia is an important (albeit annoying) part of diabetes
  • (Not pictured) My Glucagon kit – because diabetes can cause medical emergencies, and so many think diabetes ‘isn’t that serious’.
  • (Not pictured) A photograph of my beloved aunt and godmother, Karen. On December 20, 2003 she lost her battle of 42 years with Type 1 diabetes. She passed away far too young (she was only 51), and experienced just about every single complication related to Type 1 diabetes that you can think of (she experienced retinopathy, complete renal failure and a kidney transplant, a quadruple bypass, was a double amputee, and experienced several heart attacks and the implantation of a pacemaker and then several more heart attacks). But she was a fighter – she never gave up, and she was an upbeat and positive role-model for me until the end. She is ‘the face of diabetes’ to me, as when I was diagnosed she was the only other person in the world who seemed to understand how I felt (and she was the only person in the world who I knew also had Type 1 diabetes). She is a reminder to me of what can happen, and how far we’ve come with technology and care – because quite honestly my care is far superior to anything she ever received because of the time in which she lived with diabetes.
  • (Not pictured) My health insurance card – without it, I’d probably be homeless; there’s no way I could afford my care on my own.

I don’t know how others finding my capsule would feel, but I hope they would at least be able to see all that goes into diabetes, and the way that diabetes has affected my family and the families of millions of others who pass away too early.

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