Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The One With Captain Novolin

I'm noticing that a lot of my posts from K's visit involve my Super Nintendo in some form or another. I think I'm OK with that. SNES needs some love.

So, you all know I'm a big flaming diabetic, right? How even though I have this giant disease, I usually avoid talking about it?

A month and a half or so ago, my insulin pump went haywire, and it made me do some serious re-evaluating of my life. Since then, I've been Super 'Betes Girl, keeping my blood sugar where it needs to be, and realizing that just because I don't talk about it, that doesn't make it any less real or any less serious. (In case you forget, I'm a Type 1, insulin-dependent diabetic. . .none of this Type 2 control-with-diet-and-exercise stuff.)

The other day, I was standing at the sink, and, unbeknownst to me, the 42-inch tubing I'm using currently got wrapped around the handle of the cabinet in front of me. As I went to walk away, the tube got pulled, pulling the pump out of my pocket, and making it clatter on the floor. I yelled a G-rated word (since I was watching K), and she asked what had happened.

"My pump fell on the floor," I said.

"What's a pump?" she asked.

A teaching moment!

In language a 7-year-old could understand, I told her that in your body, you've got something called a pancreas. The pancreas makes insulin, which is something your body needs to use the food you eat to give you energy. If you don't have insulin, you get very sick. My pancreas doesn't work right, so I have to give myself insulin. The pump I have here acts like a pancreas, giving me insulin throughout the day so I don't get sick.

K nodded. I could tell I'd sort of lost her, but she said, "Oh, OK."

Teaching moment, shmeaching moment.

So about three days ago, she is, again, playing the Super Nintendo. She pulls out a game and says, "What's this?"

"This" was. . .Captain Novolin.

For those of you not in the know (which I'm guessing is. . .most of you), Captain Novolin is a game that I received when I was 8 or 9. The graphics are pretty bad, the evil dudes are disguised as sugary snacks (jumpin' killer jelly donuts, Batman!) and are difficult to kill, but it's still one of the best. games. EVER.

Captain Novolin is a diabetic superhero. Throughout the game, you have to make sure he follows the meal plan his doctor gave him, so his blood sugar doesn't go too high or too low.

It sounds like a drag, I'm aware. But it's actually fairly awesome. My parents gave it to me and I've played it ever since.

Using this as another Teaching Moment, I tried to make the game sound awesome, to entice K into playing.

"That's Captain Novolin!" I said in my best "this is going to be AWESOME!" voice. "He's a superhero who's diabetic, like me!"

She looked dubious.

But then she stuck the game in the console and powered it up.

I walked her through the beginning of the game, showing her how to "give an insulin injection," explaining how to eat the proper balance of foods at meals, and how to "check your blood sugar."

She started to play and, since it's not an especially well-made or easy-to-figure-out game, she got frustrated quickly. I was afraid I'd lose my TM, so I said, "Hey! Do you want me to play through and show you how to do it?" She said yes, so I spent the next few minutes all excited about insulin shots and proper diets.

And believe it or not, she is ALL INTO IT now. I'll be in the kitchen and hear, "Aw, man! I accidentally ate an extra apple! Now my blood sugar's going to be high!" It's a beautiful thing.

Does she understand the minute details of the 'betes? No, probably not. But I feel like we've had a Moment. And that's awesome.

Unfortunately, the game is having some issues I've never had with it before. The screen is randomly messing up, and preventing the continuing of playing. I looked for a new one on both Amazon and eBay, and I can't find it for less than $25. So if any of you out there in blog land see a copy of Captain Novolin anywhere for less than that, I'd appreciate you letting me know.

Maybe whenever I have kids, I can use the good Captain to help me teach them about the 'betes, too.

Edit: Holy crap, you guys. When the game first came out, it cost $59.95. My parents were badass! I'd still like to find it for less than $25, though. . .

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