Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Diabetes Etiquette

Current Blood sugar: 107...yep, that's good folks...I like it when my body decides to cooperate!

Today's prompt: What question do you get asked the most when you tell someone you have diabetes? Do you use any of these opportunities to help teach about diabetes, or do they get annoying? Or both?

Ok folks, get ready to learn a lesson about diabetes etiquette.  Today's prompt makes me think not only of what questions I get asked but what comments folks make when they find out I have diabetes.  I generally love getting questions about my diabetes, with the exception of a few.  I consider it a chance to educate folks on the disease.  Not to mention the more questions people ask me, the more they know about how my life works and that makes things easier for me. 

The most annoying questions come from folks who lack information or think they know more than they do about diabetes.  Now, don't get me wrong... I do not hold the lack of knowledge about diabetes over anyone's head.  It's not expected for someone to know everything there is to know about every chronic illness.  But, with the media streaming information to the public about Type II diabetes, people tend to be quite misinformed about Type I and how it works. 

No matter what you know about diabetes, there are some things you should not say and should not ask when you are conversing with a diabetic.

Questions and comments that I endure on a regular basis that are cring-worthy...
(In other words, you should avoid asking these questions or making these comments)

1.  "Oh, you have diabetes...but you are not overweight, did you lose a lot of weight recently?"  yep folks, I have been asked this question.   I know I am not overweight and no I did not lose massive poundage...you do not get Type I diabetes from being overweight.

2.  "Oh, you have diabetes, did you get that from eating too much sugar?"  I don't think I can even explain how this makes me feel...are you placing the blame on me?  Like I did this to myself?  No one causes diabetes.  You don't get diabetes from eating too much sugar.

3.  "Are you sure you are supposed to be eating that?" or "I know you can't eat this" or "I bet you wish you could have some of this yummy ______"  Now I know that you may be looking out for my best interest, but do I question your food choices?  Let me make my own decisions, I know better than anyone what is best for my body.  As a Type I on insulin, I can eat anything you can, I just might make my choices differently.

4.  "Oh you have diabetes...my great uncle, mom, sister, cousin, college roommate, dog had/has diabetes....they lost their vision/foot/arm/died/went into a coma and never woke up."  Ok, this is dicey...I know you want to connect with me by talking about your family or friend that has dealt with the disease and I don't discredit that.  But your family member and me are very different and I know very well what risk factors I have with this disease.  I am happy to hear stories about your diabetic friend or family member but I do not want to hear about the gruesome foot amputation.  I take care of myself to prevent those things from happening.

5.  How is your diabetes?  Honestly, what kind of question is this?  Well...my diabetes is still not cured, its still wrecking my life on a daily basis.  My pancreas still does not work and generally "my diabetes" sucks.  I don't mind general questions about how I am feeling or how I am (I am not that sensitive)...its just when folks as how my diabetes is.  

Questions and comments  I welcome from friends, family, and even strangers:

1.  Why are you pricking your finger?  How does blood testing work?  What do the numbers mean? 

2.  What is that pager like device? (my pump)  I am even happy to take it out, show you how it works, how it is attached, and anything else you want to know about it.  I mean seriously...I have a smart computer attached to my waist...its pretty cool!

3.  What can you eat?  How do you decide what to eat?  What kind of foods do you have to avoid?  How do you make choices about food?  Notice the difference between these questions and the previous ones about food?  I am happy to answer any questions as long as they are inquiries and not statements about what you think I can and cannot eat.  

4.  What is the difference between Type I and Type II?  How do you get diabetes?  What are the symptoms?

5.  What are the complications that can come from having diabetes?  

6.  Do you have to give yourself injections?  

7.  I was watching Oprah the other day and I heard _________ about diabetes...is that true?  

8.  Oh you have Type I...but you are not a kid (shoot...I knew there was a reason why I couldn't fit into the clothes at the Baby Gap) I thought Type I was a kid's disease" This is a common misconception, so it is OK to ask if you are confused by someone being diagnosed in their late 20's . 

Ask away my friends...just keep in mind what questions are appropriate and which ones are just down-right not cool.  Oh and in general I am open to any other questions about my life...since you know...diabetes isn't all I do! 

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