I cannot believe I missed the exact date maybe 2 weeks ago, but it was 40 years ago in late October I was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic.

The story is a good one.

One day, out of the blue, I woke up and told my Mom I did not want to go to school, that I had a stomach ache. This alone was odd, since I was a school loving geek. I cannot even remember what compelled me to lie, but it may have been the last one I tried.

She scared me because she said, “Oh if you are sick, we are going to see Doctor Kramer.”

And I was scared cause I was sure they would unveil my deception. What I did not know was that Mam had been tracking some symptoms- excessive thirst, strange eating patterns, some bed wetting, irritability (my sisters would say, “well he always was a brat”), but Mom’s radar was on alert.

I do not remember what tests they did, but at some point I sat out in the hall while Dr Kramer conferred with Mom. I was sure they were smiling and figuring out what my punishment would be.

So it was with some surprise when i was called in, and, not catching all the words, but something about “going to the hospital” and “disease”. I started bawling and trying to confess, but it was to no avail.

I was admitted to Sinai Hospital and was subjected to injections and strict diet (and here it was a few days before halloween and I was being told I could not eat candy?!!!! I would have said WTF if I knew the term).

And I was there for 10 days (you can tell it was a long time ago!) as they got my blood sugars under control and started my education of urine testing for glucose levels and daily injections. I got my first practice on an orgage, which honestly, does not much to prepare you for popping a needle into your own skin. I got my first practice on an orange, which honestly, does not much to prepare you for popping a needle into your own skin

What did make the difference was the burly nurse who sternly told me I could not go home til I gave myself my own shot, and then that day when she more or less “guided” my hand into pushing needle into my thigh.

It’s 40 years later, and I am still on insulin, though now it is genetically derived from human DNA rather than harvested from slain cows, I test my blood sugar with an electronic device rather then doing urine tests in a test tube with fizzy pills, and I wear an insulin pump which manages my doses much better than daily injections.

So I am glad to be here 40 years later– and my way of celebrating has been to train to run a half marathon on January to raise money for the American Diabetes Association (and I HATE running). You can support my cause, and the millions of people affected by the disease (and the many more family members affected by the affection) — see dommy.com/ihaterunning

Featured Image:

40 Years on the Stick
40 Years on the Stick flickr photo by cogdogblog shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as @cogdog@cosocial.ca


  1. 40 years ago I gave my very first public speech. I was in grade 5, and won the school (grades K through 8) championship. It was unthinkable for a grade 5er to win, and my classmates carried me back to the classroom (a portable class outside the main school) on their shoulders.

    The topic was the discovery of insulin by Drs. Banting and Best.

  2. I got my first practice on an orgagen, which honestly, does not much to prepare you for popping a needle into yuor own skin.

    Making two typos in one sentence really conveys how traumatic this must have been for you.

    The first person I saw injecting himself with insulin was… you!
    And whenever I hear of diabetes I think of you. Which is remarkable since we only met once.

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