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9/11 and Diabetes Created New Concerns

Remember 9/11This post was originally written in 2012.  The sentiments remain the same. 9/11 was horrible.  When you live with diabetes, 9/11 brought out fears and concerns that you would never previously have considered…

September 11, 2001.  Is there any adult in North America who does not remember where they were on that fateful morning?

I  had left my house early to drive to the airport 2.5 hours away to pick up my grandmother who was coming to visit from the other side of the country.  My oldest son was in school and my youngest was with me for the ride.

I stopped to do a bit of shopping and was looking at paper towels when my cell phone rang. I was told  “A plane has hit one of the towers in New York. There has been a terrorist attack.”   It made no sense to me and I didn’t believe it.  There had to be a mistake so I continued my shopping  before the next leg of my trip.

A few minutes later my phone rang a second time.  This time it was a woman from Air Canada who said,  “We have your grandmother here.  The plane can’t fly her  because all air traffic has been grounded.  We will be putting her on a boat and you can meet her tomorrow morning.”

What? The terrorist attack was real? Planes grounded?  I was shocked to the core as  I spoke to my grandmother who was in great spirits and excited to experience an Atlantic Ocean ferry boat crossing.  We  headed home and like many others, I alternated between being glued to the tv and checking my computer for updates from friends and family.

I had recently found an online support group  for parents of children with diabetes. The people there had not only become my lifeline, but also my family.  We were frantic to hear from people that we “knew” living and working near the towers in New York.

I had a cousin who was an NYC police officer. I had to find out if he was working that day or safe with his family on Long Island. Another cousin was due to go to traffic court that day in one of the Towers and I wondered if he went before the collapse? It was a day of chaos, fear and some relief.

By the end of the day, everyone was accounted for.  There were a lot of prayers for those lost as well as those who made it out alive.  As the dust settled–figuratively and literally, a new fear began to permeate.  I live on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and can easily be cut off from the rest of the world–the rest of my family.

More importantly, if we were cut off how would I get insulin or diabetes supplies? My youngest son relies on insulin to live.  What if we couldn’t get it as easily any more? How would I keep him alive?  What if the terrorist attacks continued? Would they target pharmaceutical factories? Could I feed him no or low carb foods? Would he be okay? I could feel the panic welling.

I wasn’t alone in my concerns.   Other friends with children with diabetes were thinking similar thoughts but some were  much more resourceful than me.  One friend investigated getting insulin from rabbits to use for her child.

Thankfully we never had to be concerned with any of those fears coming to pass.   My grandmother is now passed on.  Each year, we all continue to  remember exactly where we  were on that day and we say an extra prayer.

For those of us living with diabetes, we give an extra pause.  We remain grateful for access to the supplies that keep our loved ones alive.  It is oddly funny however that once diabetes enters your life, it permeates everything–even memories of disasters.

9/11 Remembered

September 11, 2001. Is there any adult alive who does not remember where they were on that fateful morning?

I was in Wal-Mart.  I had left my house early to drive to the airport 2.5 hours away to pick up my grandmother.  She was visiting from the other side of the country.  My oldest son was in school and my youngest was with me for the ride. 

I was looking at paper towels when my cell phone rang. It was my husband.  He said “A plane has hit one of the towers in New York. There has been a terrorist attack.”  I told him he was crazy.  The Americans would never allow terrorists into their air space.  It had to be some weird joke on the radio.  He agreed that the possibility of terrorists doing something of that magnitude was incredible and it had to be wrong. We hung up and I continued to grab a few things before the next leg of my trip.

My phone rang a second time.  It was a woman from Air Canada.  “We have your grandmother here.  We can’t fly her to you because all air traffic has been grounded.  We will be putting her on a boat and you can pick her up tomorrow morning.” 

What? The terrorist attack was real? Planes grounded? The attack was real?

I spoke to my grandmother who was in great spirits and excited to experience an Atlantic Ocean ferry boat crossing.  My son and I headed home and like many others, I alternated between being glued to the tv and checking my computer for updates from friends.

I had recently found an online support group. The people there had not only become my lifeline, but also my family.  We were frantic to hear from people that we “knew” living and working near the towers in New York. I had a cousin who was an NYC police officer. I had to find out if he was working that day or safe with his family on Long Island. Another cousin was due to go to traffic court that day in one of the Towers. Did he go before the collapse? It was a day of chaos, fear and some relief.

By the end of the day, everyone was accounted for.  There were a lot of prayers for those lost as well as those who made it out alive.  Soon there was a new fear that began to permeate.  I live on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  It was easy for me to be cut off from the rest of the world–the rest of my family.

My youngest son relied on insulin to live.  What if something happened? What if the terrorist attacks continued? Would they target pharmaceutical factories? What if I couldn’t get insulin? How would my son survive? Could I feed him no or low carb foods? Would he be okay? I could feel the panic. Other friends with children with diabetes were much more creative. One friend investigated getting insulin from rabbits to use for her child.

Thankfully we never had to be concerned with any of that. It has been 12 years.  My grandmother has passed on.  Each year, those who survived remember.  Those of us who watched from our living rooms remember and say an extra prayer. Once diabetes enters your life, its funny how it permeates everything including memories of disasters.