The Right Stuff

Suddenly

I hate school.

All of the teachers are mean.

My friends are jerks.

The janitor cleans the lunch table with a floor mop.

Everyone there is stupid. I wish I could stay home.

Then tears. And

I’ll never get to be an astronaut because I have diabetes.

Make Bigfoot cry too. Who knew Bubs interested become astronaut? Space science unit at school, lots of NASA. Even if person not interested become astronaut, science unit spark interest. Maybe every day read astronauts this, astronauts that. Maybe child start to think cool! I want to do that and then boot kick gut: that’s one of the things I can’t do.

Diagnosis day, among first bright-cheery lessons with CDE: You can still do everything you’ve always done! You can be anything you want to be, with three exceptions: flying a commercial airplane in the United States, joining the armed forces, or becoming an astronaut. You can be a commercial pilot in Canada, and you can get a pilot’s license and fly your own private jet!

At time, seems so random. Why say these words to just-diagnosed child? Such narrow slice denied opportunities. Still so hurt feelings. Should shield diabetic child this information, more than any kidney-eye-limb-whatevers. This hurts right now, today. You’re a very nice, smart, capable person. It’s just that you’re way too much trouble to take to the moon.

Do you think I could be a firefighter? Or no, they wouldn’t want me.

Begin think need change these laws. But then think a diabetic person totally shouldn’t do those jobs. What if he was in space and all of the insulin went bad? But also think diabetes makes everything too much of a pain. So if OK T1 person drive car, buy groceries, perform surgery, operate wrecking ball, why not live in space? Even perfect-specimen astronaut requires elaborate supplies, survive in space.

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24 responses to “The Right Stuff

  1. I know t1’s who are firefighters and paramedics. Totally do-able. Sorry about the astronaut thing… maybe remind bubs they sent chimps to space and does he really want to be like a chimp? Perhaps just making chimp sounds and gestures at least would get him to crack a smile about it?

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  2. Anamaria

    Google Josu Feijoo (assuming I have spelled his name right)–he’s an astronaut with T1. Okay, not NASA (I think it was one of those space tourism startups), but it’s a start. I know what you mean, though–it’s like the scene in Little Miss Sunshine where the kids finds out he’s colorblind and can’t be a pilot. Heartbreaking.

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  3. Ann

    I am thinking by the time Bubs is old enough to be an astronaut, we will have cured T1, so of course he can go to space. Maybe he can be the first astronaut with diabetes in space.

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  4. mollyjade

    He can still be a super awesome NASA scientist. Maybe show him the video of all the people in the control room when the Mars rover landed? The people who go into space are a tiny part of NASA.

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    • Katy

      I don’t even think he really wants to be an astronaut. I think he just doesn’t like that there’s a thing he’s disqualified from before even trying. Know what I mean?

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  5. Have you ever read Nerdy April’s Space Adventures? http://nerdyapril.blogspot.com/ It’s a d-blog by someone who also wishes to be an astronaut.

    Yes, there is a (short) established list of things that a person with diabetes isn’t allowed to do, and an unpublished list of things that may just not be a good idea. But there are other things that influence what we may or may choose to do with our lives besides diabetes. For instance, I don’t play pro basketball because I’m too short. I’m not a horse jockey because I’m too tall. I’m not a space-traveler because of my reluctance to use the bathroom without the assistance of gravity. There are all kinds of influences from all over the place, and my advice to Bubs is just to find something that he enjoys and can do well, and not focus on the things that stop him from doing what he might not choose to do anyway.

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  6. When I got out of college with a BA in psychology, I had no idea what I wanted to “do” with it. I didn’t want to go back and get a masters quite yet because I was burnt out of school. I thought – hey, I’ll get into law enforcement, become a police officer, learn some real life applications, and then maybe go back to school in forensic psychology or criminal psychology. It made sense and sounded like something I would like. I applied for the local Police Academy, passed every background check, physical, psych, and interview test they had with flying colors. The force was hurting for female officers, so I felt confident about getting in. At the final cut before getting in, I was told that I was 10 lbs overweight (TEN pounds – how many officers do you see on the streets that are WAY over 10 lbs too heavy??), and therefore they could not accept me according to their height/weight requirements. WTF, right? But I HIGHLY suspect the true reason they would not let me in/potentially hire me is because they knew I was a type 1 diabetic (I had been diagnosed 2 years before), and they did not want the city to take on that liability. Me being 10 lbs over their weight limit was just an easy out. (I became a 911 operator instead, and that put me on the course of moving on to work for a lucrative high tech company and becoming the tech-savvy project manager I am today, so up yours! people who didn’t hire me.)

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  7. 😦 stinking diabetes. I hate those moments

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  8. I’ll second Scott… Nerdy April’s Space Adventures is a great blog. Don’t let Bubs give up on anything he wants to do.

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  9. I COULDN’T LOVE THIS PLACE (DOC) MORE. Write a post about a boy who wants to be an astronaut and BAM directed to a blog already dedicated to exactly that thing. We all rock.

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  10. Thirding Scott – Nerdy April is totally awesome and an inspiration to me as well. It’s always been one of those things in the back of my mind, although I’ve never been told explicitly I couldn’t do it (ie commercial pilot, interstate truck driver [which may be out now], armed forces), that I just kind of don’t think about because I’m not at a point in my life where I can even begin to think about going into space (need a degree and then this and that and the other thing – normal people obstacles, not even thinking of the potential d-issues).

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  11. I can’t recommend watching Neil Degrasse Tyson enough – on Nova – on Nova Science Now Video Podcasts, on Star Talk – he’s an astrophysicist – such a cool dude – infinitely knowledgeable and not an astronaut. I am forever pushing the engineering side of all fields because it has tremendous potential for our future. Certainly leave lots of room for feeling the “that totally sucks” about not being an astronaut but on the other hand – almost no one gets to be an astronaut. The next generations won’t have one career, they will have many in their lifetime – lots of interests to explore. Anyhoo, my dude Neil is easy to understand. Kids love his videos – I use them all the time.

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  12. DAMN. Troy honestly and truly sends his condolences about the astronaut part.
    You are a great mom, the end.

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  13. Haha “Even perfect-specimen astronaut requires elaborate supplies, survive in space.” EVERYONE in space lives like someone w diabetes. Perfect equalizer. Make everyone go.

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  14. But I totally feel your pain. Mine only wants to fly planes. Fighter jets, actually. I keep pointing out how cool it would be to work at Boeing and design stuff. But in the end I say yeah sure you can be a pilot… and then I wait for him to change his mind. I’m a big fat liar, and I don’t care.

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  15. “Fourthing” Scott. Nerdy April will make it so Bubs can do whatever he wants!

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  16. Hi!!! I just found this post and am literally in tears. I completely remember the intense sadness I experienced as a T1 diagnosed at age 11. All I wanted to do was to be an astronaut and of course I had the fortune of being stuck with one of the automatic dis-qualifiers (as of now). The best advice I can give is to continue to foster Bubs’ passion, even if it seems impossible right now. My parents always encouraged me to follow my dreams, and, in a way, Diabetes has been a blessing because it gave me a new barrier to push…maybe the first Diabetic in space? Please feel free to e-mail me…and if you are ever in Houston let me know…I can give ya’ll a personal, behind-the-scenes tour of NASA Mission Control (where I work now!!!)! Welcome to the Astro-Diabetic club, Bubs!!

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