August 24, 2007

An Inconvenient Diagnosis

This was written as a Disney World trip report for fellow Disney Fans. I have tried to translate it into English but a fair amount of Disney fan jargon remains. Sorry, It is offered up for the humor value. I hope that translates.
This happened in Dec '04

We had a great day in Disney’s MGM Studios. In the morning Connor and Kelley both added to the family's collection of Who Wants to be a Millionaire hats. This was back in the days of the theme park version of the TV Game show. We loved it. Putting two of us in the hot seat in one day wasn't unusual, we had game.  Kelley had been in the Hot Seat before but this was Connor's first time. We rode some rides, played around and had a good old time.

Kelley wanted to take the boat back to our Vacation Club resort. Kim and Connor walked. We could see them on the path Connor was bouncing up and down, waiving his arms around like a nut and generally having the time of his life. The hot seat does that to you the first time.
Then you want more…

Walking back to Boardwalk is WAY faster than the boat. But the boat has seats. We got off at the Swan and walked back from there. Our room was WAY DOWN THE HALL. Kim and Connor went in the back door up the stairs and were in the room way before us. The kids were tired, even Delaney who is typically a spinning top of doom in the afternoon. She actually chilled out and some a nap!

Kimball and I took the opportunity to go talk with Nancy at the concierge desk. We had priority seating at Whispering Canyon. The ZIA (Zurg Information Agency) was careful to make these PS on a day when our old pal Bobby would be working. Just in case we asked Nancy to call over to check to see if he was on. No point in going all the way over to the Wilderness Lodge unless the Varsity was playing.
Bobby is the very best. An all star. Disney World MVP.

Nancy confirmed not only that our boy Bobby was working at Whispering Canyon, she had made sure we would be at one of his tables. Now that is service. We gave Nancy a ThankShoe pin as reward. We also met Alfonso a front desk manager. We chatted pleasantly with him for a few minutes explaining BadShoe. Very nice guy, he didn’t even have us taken away in straight jackets.

Now we have had a few trips to Whispering Canyon. If you have been there you can see it is our kind of place; Quiet, Respectful, Understated – NOT!

Our friend Bobby wears a Tigger on his hat, so we wore matching obnoxious orange Tigger shirts as a tribute. We take stickers and cover him with them. We make fools of ourselves and he plays right along.  ...or is it the other way around?

We check in and the wait is about 25 minutes. OK we can cope. After taking Delaney to the restroom I realize – We forgot the stickers!

Kim and I confer. The kids are chilling - Delaney was still a little groggy from her nap. I have time.

The BadShoe stickers are a tradition, I’ll ran back to BWV for them. I jumped into trusty Zurgmobile (the single most booked and re-booked rental in the history of automobiles) and took serious liberties with the posted speed ‘suggestions.’ Dashed down the hall and back, while my buddies at Bell Services kept the Zurgmobile ready to go and I flew back.

Some where along this little journey, I found a good radio station. Good is a word that here means real rock and roll (real old that is.) Once again I am considering the signs as suggestions for people who a) don’t know where they are going, b) need a map c) are reading it while driving d) all of the above. D, final answer.

Have I mentioned Connor is diabetic - insulin dependent? What happens in a Type I diabetic is they can’t get glucose (energy) into their cells because their pancreas doesn’t make insulin. The way you spot this in your kid is they get tired easy, drink a lot, pee a lot, and sugar makes’m lethargic not energetic.

Connor has it. To get insulin into him, we use a hypodermic needle just before he eats. So if we eat out I carry the needle with me until - just before he eats.

Now for a variety of reason I don’t put it in my pants pocket.
1) It is sharp, and if the little protector fell off it could be fairly painful in a region I would really prefer avoid pain.
2) The plunger thing could get pushed in and the insulin pushed out in a region I would rather not have looking like I just peed myself.

Also I would like to save the insulin for the diabetic. These are all good reason why I carry the needle on my ear, like a pencil.

Jimmy Hendrix came on the good radio station. I turned it up, way up.
Let’s review:
1. Loud Jimmy Hendrix.
2. Hypodermic needle on ear.
3. Rental car, near warp speed, approaching Magic Kingdom Toll Booth.

I pointed at the Vacation Club Members parking pass on the dash. Mr. My-Job-is-to-Collect-$5.oo-parking didn’t even look twice. I guess hypodermic needle on the ear, mini van speeding, Hendrix fans are a dime a dozen round here.

Walking in I still thought was a riot and found it so amusing I couldn’t even say 'Jimmy Hendrix' when relating the story to Kelley in the Wilderness Lodge lobby. She wasn't too impressed by my tale but thought my speech impediment was hysterical.

Can you trade teenagers in when they get to smart?

Delaney came back from yet another pit stop.

Kelley was still mocking me. Delaney enjoys mocking me as much as any of the kids (brats) but she was still a little mellow and eased up on me uncharacteristically early, must have be an early Christmas present. She sat on my lap.

Man this kid is skinny.

I like the Wilderness Lodge Lobby. It is big. It has cool theming. There are all kinds of loud noises coming from Whispering Canyon.

There was a regular revolving door of people taking pictures by the Christmas tree. We were sitting right next to it and found the parade of photographers amusing. Most have little clue how to use their cameras. From time to time, I volunteer to take the shot for families.

I do this a lot on vacations, so a whole family can be in the picture. There is a protocol to follow. First you take the picture from where they were going to, inevitably this is WAY to far away and the people look like ants. I take one there anyway because they want the whole lobby in their picture, even if you can’t see them in it and they are outside the flash’s effective range. Then I walk much closer, frame the picture so you can see them and still tell it is some place cool and ask, “How about one a little closer where we get a good look at your faces?” and burn off a shot real quick.

I am willing to bet cash money the pictures I take like that are the best picture of their whole vacation. I earned beer money in school as a wedding photographer.

A particularly brilliant author, over at Deb’s in the Digital Photography section, suggest this tip sheet for photographers, Top 10 Tips for Great Pictures. They guy is brilliant (modest too), so is the tips article, go read both.

There is a marked increase in the din of noise coming from Whispering Canyon. Our buddy Bobby the Kid has spotted us and is yelling across the restaurant and lobby to say hi. I love the subtly of this guy.
Our pager thingy goes off and it is time to be seated. This is convenient as it is the direction of the bathrooms and Delaney needs to go again. What has this kid been drinking?

We are led to our table and arm ourselves for Bobby’s arrival. Everyone gets stickers ready and the kids cover him as he walks up. Bobby takes the microphone and introduces us to the rest of the restaurant. Then he makes formal introductions with us and his other tables. “Old tables, this is the new table, they are one of my favorite family but they will take pictures of your shoes. New table, old tables.”
I sometimes feel sorry for the people around us, we play this place WAY up. We clink our glasses for the newlyweds at the next table. The other wait staff catches on real quick that we are fair game and they all come over for a yell or two. We yell back.

We have certain rules of engagement. Number one is we always bus Bobby's tables when he isn’t looking. If necessary we swipe the bussing trays from other unsuspecting waiters. One bluffs that we should clean one of his tables and off we go. Duh! he think we are gonna be embarrassed or something? Bobby comes back yells at the other waiter for poaching his guests.

Bobby recruited us to help take the guy at the next table oceans of ice tea. Kind of like the ketchup gag only with mugs of ice tea. Seems he was ordering a lot of the stuff.
Another time bobby brought the guy a bucket with a huge tea bag in it. At one point Bobby was chasing the guy around when he turned and pick up Bobby effortlessly. I looked at the guy’s wife and asked if he was a firefighter, nobody else is that graceful and effortless carrying a waiter.

After they left we found the fireman's kid's Toy Story toy under their table. (When we bus a table, we bus a table) The manager made sure it found its way back to the kid. Least we could do for a fireman.
Delaney was drinking chocolate milk almost as fast as the fireman was chugging tea.
She needed a refill. Bobby brought a half a jug. Delaney was thrilled. Funny she didn’t get jazzed by the sugar, quite the opposite she didn’t even want dessert. (Hey look this stuff is 25 carbs a cup.)

We carried on for about two hours. It was a blast.

Bobby gave the boys his waiter’s apron and a few Whispering Canyon check presentation folder thingies. Delaney got a stack of brand new napkins. Back at the hotel Connor was doing Bobby imitations. I was planning the morning with the kids (Kelley would be in charge while Kim and I ride Seaways in Epcot.)

Delaney was still not feeling right and Kim finally put the pieces together.

· Thirsty all the time.
· Peeing a lot.
· Skinny.
· Lethargic, particularly after a lot of sugar.

She got out Connors backup blood glucose meter and tested Delaney’s glucose level.

Delaney was off the chart high – hyperglycemic with trace ketones.

That counted as an unexpected twist.

She wasn't too bad yet but if a few days would be.

Good thing I have two ears, I’ll need’m for needles - We have another diabetic kid.

Part II is HERE


  1. I had read this over on but I keep finding myself reading it over and over - its a great way to show how a diagnosis can sneak up on you when you are least prepared - especially at our most favorite place in the world!

  2. Well said the dx is unexpected anyplace. Like Monty Python's Inquisition.

  3. Today I was on my facebook page and a friend of mine's husband posted your disney link. I instantly remembered the story of Delaney's diagnosis. So of course I looked for "the story," that made me laugh myself to death and humbled me all in one moment. Your families tenacity will forever resonate with me. I don't know if you realized that at that moment it would change how I saw diabetes forever. Changed my life, our lives. Just thought you might want to know. Thank you!