I’m still having difficulty accepting Twitter as a source of news, but nonetheless, I was interested by the tweets of Elliott Yamin, the Type 1 diabetic and former American Idol contestant who was in Chile during this weekend’s devastating earthquake.
If you’d like to read the full text of some of his tweets, check out Access Hollywood — my 160-character limit doesn’t allow me to fully express his creative use of abbreviations. But what interested me is his perspective on the disaster as a Type 1 diabetic. “Imma Type 1 diabetic, and was sppsd 2 leave sunday,” he wrote, according to Access Hollywood. “I only packed enuf insulin pump supplies 2 last til then….airports r closed!”
You might be quick to point out that Elliott Yamin is just one visible example of a much larger population of Type 1 diabetics in Chile (or, for that matter, Haiti), for whom a natural disaster like an earthquake could have even more devastating effects — and who don’t have easy access to Access Hollywood. But that’s my point: the horror of both situations is difficult to wrap one’s mind around. Having a particular person in mind helps make the situation more real, even if the person writing is an American best known for his hit single “Wait for You.” It also highlights the special challenges all of us face when traveling with diabetes — we can usually navigate our normal lives without calling too much attention to our disease. But it just takes one event — a malfunctioning pump or, in this case, a natural disaster — to remind us of the additional challenges diabetes presents.
A practical resource: one good way to help other diabetics on the ground is to check out the International Diabetes Foundation, which we mentioned in the tip section after the disaster in Haiti.
In the meantime, Yamin is continuing to send updates of his situation that are more elaborate than his intial tweets. “This country isn’t very keen on insulin pumps,” he recently commented. “Supplies for my pump are running low. Hospitals here are very crowded, and as you can imagine, they are dealing with bigger things.”
The source of these quotes? Fox News’s “Pop Tarts.” And to think I made fun of Twitter.
(In all seriousness, best of luck to Yamin and to all the diabetics — Type 1 and Type 2 — currently stranded without supplies. I hope that help comes soon.)