A voice for living well with Type 1 Diabetes

I met Dave in the Spring semester of my freshman year at Kansas State University. During his senior year of high school, he was a Kansas City All Metro football player and chose to play at a small college during his freshman year of college. A semester of that was enough for him he transferred to K-State for his spring semester. He pledged our fraternity as he was good friends with a brother in my pledge class.

We weren’t immediately close friends (hey, we went to rival high schools!), but we both decided our majors would be in accounting.  We spent time studying as our coursework came together during our Junior and Senior years and then joined the same accounting firm after we graduated. We grew close and I opened up with things I don’t share with many. And that included my diabetes.

I’d express concerns over my legs and their tendency to fall asleep while having them crossed at the movie theaters. Could it be neuropathy? Dave would say, no Garrett – you’re just crossing your legs too much! Dave was an excellent listener and would support and push me when needed.

As with solid friendships, he was there during times good and bad.  I would never have done something to hurt Dave intentionally, but one evening had to scare the living daylight out of him.

After a long week at the accounting firm, the younger associates would join up at local watering holes to let off steam and get the weekend started. One Friday night in the early 1980s, we tossed down several beers and decided to go home to change before going out again. As we prepared to leave, I felt my lips getting numb – an indicator that I was going low. So, I ate candy and figured I would start feeling better.  As I started the car and prepared to drive, my lips were still numb. I figured they would get better. They didn’t.

As we left downtown, I felt numb and very frustrated. Like I couldn’t get the frustration out of my body.  I started to yell things that made no sense and driving well above the speed limit. Dave remained calm and made sure his seat belt was fastened. I don’t remember everything about the trip, but Dave talked me through it and eventually got us back to my apartment. There he called his Mom, who was a nurse.  She explained that I was probably suffering from low blood sugar.

Uh yeah – one of my worst ever.

It was scary for me, and I can’t imagine how it was for Dave. True friends stick are there during tough times. I am grateful for the way he was there for me during this event. Our friendship faded a bit after I moved away from Kansas City for two decades. But to this day, I remember the good times we shared, the questions we asked each other as we grew into adulthood and the way we were there for each other.

Thanks Dave.