Who would have thunk I’d find a d-community by moving to China? Thank you Elizabeth from T1International for connecting me with Mary, the China representative of the International Diabetes Foundation Young Leaders Association … or something like that. Mary was in Guangzhou for some meetings so we met up for dinner, and I brought along a friend and colleague from work, who also is an insulin junkie. Mary hooked me up to the Chinese DOC, through WeChat, and it has been, er, interesting, mostly due to some wacky machine based translations of the chat dialogues. See below. But what comes through loud and clear, is that PWD need and want community, no matter where they live.
I’ll confess I was a bit giddy to be meeting up, and I did my very best to be nonchalant, and not to be a diabetes geek in my questions to Mary. I was most fascinated to learn from Mary about her experiences and understanding of how Type 1 diabetes is viewed and treated in China. Big differences between urban and rural areas and also, lots of mistaking Type 1 for Type 2, since there are not many Type 1’s around. (We are a select, unique group, if I do say so myself.) She told me that hospital guidelines for diagnosing and treating people with Type 1 diabetes were only written and distributed through the country a couple of years ago. That really floored me, because my experience of China is that biomedical research is roaring here. (Although, thinking back on my experience of rabies shots after being chomped by a cat while I tried to transport it for a friend from Canada to China painted a different picture. But I digress. Another post for another day.)
Tomorrow I’m headed out to a get together with other PWD in Guangzhou with my work-mate as a result of meeting Mary last week. I think we might be playing some sort of team sport, that seems to be a variation on boci. Hopefully my lack of Chinese language skills won’t put my team at a serious disadvantage. (Unless the game requires me to say “turn right”, “turn left”, “go straight”, “stop here” or “how much does this cost?) Here’s to cross-cultural d-adventures!