My Friend With Diabetes

During the late 1930s and '40s, we lived across the street from a "mom and pop" grocery store. As my dad would say, the "fly in the ointment" was that during those depression years, we didn't have much money to spend there. I was eleven years old when the owner, Mr. Lowe, allowed me to visit with his wife in the little kitchen/living room in the back of his store. They appeared to be in their sixties. Every morning Mr. Lowe carried his tiny, underweight wife downstairs from their upstairs bedroom and deposited her in an old fashioned wooden rocking chair.

Mrs. Lowe was totally blind and couldn't walk. Mr. Lowe said her toes were curled up to let the "evil" out. He communicated with the spirits by tapping the eraser end of his pencil on the store counter, and the spirits allowed her very few visitors. I washed and dried their dishes every afternoon, then read to Mrs. Lowe from her one and only book--"Girl of the Limberlost"--for about an hour, while she rocked back and forth. That book was her life, as far as I could tell. The Limberlost Girl collected butterflies; perhaps those butterflies gave Mrs. Lowe beauty in her mind's eye. The spirits never suggested that I be paid for my daily service, but that was OK. I just loved reading to my friend and being her contact with the real world, although we really never talked about my life. We moved when I was about thirteen years old, and I never saw the Lowes again.

Last night, during one of my occasional sleepless nights, I thought of those childhood days and of Mrs. Lowe. It seems clear to me now that she probably had Diabetes, quite possibly late onset Type 1; my own diagnosis of Type 1 came when I was 63. I couldn't help comparing her life to mine as I remembered some of my bedtime routines: I took my nighttime dose of Levemir; did her husband give Mrs. Lowe any insulin injections? I took off my shoes and socks and checked my feet. My right foot has three problem toes that hurt and that I keep bandaged; fortunately there were no changes in them. The bottoms of my feet are numb, but my toes are not curled as hers were to let the evil out! I lay back and read my Kindle with its backlight and large font (a dog book, of course); it helps my reading although I'm far from visually impaired. In fact, unlike my old friend, I have little in the way of complications.

I woke up from a short sleep this morning thinking how lucky I am to be living in 2015, when we have access to Diabetes education, Diabetes supplies, and the DOC including TuDiabetes.


In the next couple of days I am going to write a blog response to your magnificent blog. What I write will be my remembrance of my moms stories of the same time. Your note touched me deeply. I am composing my response even as I type this. Thank you for reminding me of how fortunate we are.

My mom lived in public housing in the 30's, 40's and early 50's. Her families life is somewhat documented in the public records that still remain. During that time the family lost three children. One still born, one a two year old and one (My aunt Patti Ann) at age 10. She was a type 1 diabetic and passed in 1950 3 years after her DX.

Living in 2015 is good. Having you as my friend is even better. Look for my blog post and again thank you or yours.


Rick, this is by far the best comment I've ever received! Thanks, my friend, and I look forward to your next blog.

Great story, Trudy. We have so much to be thankful for these days.

Thanks, Pastelpainter, we have indeed come a long ways.

Great post, Trudy!

Thanks, Trudy. So very evocative. Lovely.....

Thanks so much, Emily and Judith.

Oh Trudy!!! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this very profound and deeply provocative memory. Bless you my dear for your kind spirit at that young age, when many children would not have been aware or even bothered. You were an old soul as a child....and are a rare flower indeed. I am honoured to call you "friend".

Ah, Linda, thank you for your kind words. I'm honored to call you my friend as well. This is a good time to thank you for all the work you do on behalf of TuDiabetes.

Thanks Trudy for a beautiful story. God Bless you for sharing your time with her by reading. I'm sure she really appreciated your sweetness at such a young age.Take care and stay well. I am thankful for all the technology and discoveries in 2015. We are so blessed to be living in this era with diabetes and not having to be boiling syringes etc. God is good!!

As we age the wonderful memories we have thank you for sharing. I have most of my contact with you around your love of dogs as I do and have shared our dear ones passing the rainbow bridge. Your true gentle nature to understand she loved your company was so insightful for a child, clearly proves how you have lived your life.

Thank you Trudy for your beautiful story,it makes me very thankful that i am here in 2015 to see all the technology and new discoveries we have today.


Ah, I too own and love the book "Girl of the Limberlost". Your story took me back to happier times, before I had DDD, fibro, arthritis, and diabetes. It made me more aware of how much worse my life could be. I may be in pain daily, but at least have my sight! Thankfully today's medicine and diabetes education makes it relatively easy for me to control my diabetes unlike the era that your Mrs. Lowe lived in. I'm sure that Mrs. Lowe looks down from heaven and blesses you each day for the friendship the two of you shared.

Betts, Bambi, Odessa and CaC, and thank you all for your most kind remarks. The comments on this post have just been overwhelming!

CaC, I remember holding the First Edition that Mrs. Lowe owned; I decided that it's time to reread the book (it's been a while!) and just put A Girl of the Limberlost on my Kindle.

Thank you Trudy!

What a beautiful story Trudy, thanks for sharing it :-) She was lucky to have you there to help bring some happiness into her life.

Thanks, meee. I was lucky to know her as well.

Hi Betts, thanks for your kind remarks. I'm so glad we have the technology to treat our diabetes effectively, and to get diagnosed as well; and yes, this is a good era for our medical problems. Sorry I'm late in responding to you, but I've been dealing with infected toes. Thankfully I have the necessary antibiotics to get back into shoes again in a few days!

Hi Trudy, Glad your toes will be getting better. I've never had a problem with my feet.PTL! I go to a great podiatrist who trims my toe nails & a small callus on the bottom of my foot. Not really bad, just feels like I'm walking on a small marble if I don't keep it trimmed. Be well!