My Summer of Strawberries…and T1D

Strawberry Field

It was the late 1980s and summer had just begun. I couldn’t wait for the long summer nights hanging out with my friends but if I really wanted to make the most of it and go to two-dollar Tuesdays at the movies (yes, they existed back then), or buy the latest Pet Shop Boys cassette tape, I was going to need some cash. My friend and I decided it was time for a job.

My friend heard that you could make “big money” picking strawberries. Sounded good to me! It only took a phone call for us to get hired and the next day we were off to the local strawberry patch.  What could be better? I was going to work with my friend all day and get a wicked tan, too.

Within the first hour of work I wasn’t exactly feeling the same way. Not only was strawberry picking unexpectedly hard work in the scorching hot sun, I hadn’t even considered how my body would react to this set up. Back then, portable blood sugar meters weren’t yet available so I had no way of checking my blood sugar. I was thirsty, sweaty, and weak. I didn’t know if I should take a blood sugar tablet in case I was low or just assume it was the heat. I went with the safe bet and took a tablet. Fifteen minutes later, the same thing happened. And then… again. After a few hours I was absolutely exhausted. This definitely wasn’t going to be my summer of strawberries. In fact, it turned out to be my morning of strawberries before I decided to pack it in for good!

From that point on, I realized that some jobs were going to be harder on my body than others.  I also realized that two-dollar-Tuesday movie nights were going to have to wait until I found a new job!

What about you? Share your summer T1D experience below.

Kim Cooper is the editor of OWL Magazine and has had type 1 diabetes for over 30 years. She enjoys writing stories, learning about health and fitness, and connecting with others with T1D.
Illustration courtesy of Moru Wang
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