Type 1 On The Streets

There is a saying that my grandmother loves to quote, “There’s always someone out there in a worse situation than you” and she is absolutely right. I met a man a couple of weeks ago in A&E (Accident and Emergency, not the TV show). This man was very polite, well-spoken and was also a Type 1. However unlike most of us, he was homeless.

I found this so incredible and could not even begin to fathom what it would be like to live on the streets with this condition, so I asked him a few questions. He was in his late sixties and was diagnosed as child. He made a few wrong decisions in life and lost contact with his family and eventually his house. He sleeps anywhere he can find shelter from the elements and sometimes shop owners would allow him to sleep in their shed but he has to get up before they come to open their store. He collects his medical supplies from the hospital since it is free because it is on the drug service and a welfare check each month.

He explained that he spends half of his check paying someone to store any extra insulin he has and to wash his clothes while the supplies that he currently uses, he keeps with him in a plastic bag and in order to keep his insulin cold he has to beg for ice.

He stills has the challenges that many of us face such as low blood sugar and said sometimes it can be hard for him to get help during an emergency. He told me that one time he started to feel bad and when he tested his blood sugar was 2.3 mmol/L. He asked a guy for a ride to the store in order to buy sometime sweet but the person’s response was that they don’t allow vagrants into their car. Thankfully a good Samaritan came along and he was able to get the much needed soda.

Amidst all of struggles, he doesn’t complain and is thankful for the full life he has lived. So the next time we are having a bad day we should remember – There’s always someone a little worse off than you are. I hope we all remember to be thankful for the good fortune we have.

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