Friday, November 13, 2009

Diabetes Ignorance

You know when your in a conversation with anyone - grocery store cashier, a new acquaintance, an old friend you haven't seen in years, the nice lady in the drug isle at Target... and then they ask you a question? Usually why you are buying ibuprofen, or related to what you are looking at right then.

I have found that while being diabetic there have been numerous conversations surrounding
diabetes while in public. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of ignorance out there.

While looking at the different kinds of blood sugar meters at Wal-mart yesterday, just to see what's new and see what new kinds of sugar free foods they are carrying now, a 30-something looking woman (who was waiting for her prescriptions?) scoffs at me and asks why I would be looking at sugar free foods, I obviously don't need them! I politely explain to her that I do in fact need them from time to time as I am Type 1 Diabetic. She then goes on to explain to me that her mom is Diabetic and she doesn't ever need any of that stuff. She just eats what she wants and takes her pills in the morning and checks her blood in the morning too, that's all I need to do, evidently.

Also, at that very same store in the soda section, I was buying a 24 pack of some very tasty Diet Pepsi (I have a love affair with the crap), and another woman (what's with women being allowed to make comments to whoever they choose!?) then tells me I shouldn't be on a diet and drink that stuff. So, once again I very courteously inform her that I am Type 1 Diabetic and do need to drink the Diet Crap or I'll end up with very high blood sugars and the nastiest sugar headache that feels a lot like a hangover. She rolls her eyes and tells me I have diabetes because I drink Diet Soda.

A dear friend of mine who recently passed away was also convinced he could cure me. He was very into miracle cures and diet potions. I tried to tell him that, no, my pancreas wouldn't "jump start" and make insulin again. I tried to let him know that my own body attacked my pancreas and it was dead - it cannot be "revived". No, he stuck to his guns.

My husband came back from work a month or two ago with a piece of paper with a ladies name and a list of medicine and dosages. I asked what those were about, he laughed and said "Those are for you!" upon inquiring more he told me that the Lady whose house he installed a security system for told him she could cure my diabetes if I took the concoction for a year. ...I threw it away after being mildly irritated and then laughing about it.

Oh, there are many many more like that. "You don't look diabetic" "Did you eat too much sugar when you were little?" "Why do you wear a pager? You're too young for one of those." Here's my favorite recent one: "Wait, you're diabetic!? Did you adopt that little angel?" "No, She's my husbands and my own." "WHY would you chose to have a baby when you're diabetic?!"
Oh, Yes, I'm very serious about that one.

So, Tomorrow is World Diabetes Day 2009, Here's to helping people be a little less ignorant!


MaryElizabeth said...

Oh wow. I found this blog through a friend. I want to thank her so much for giving me the link! Secondly, I want to tell you that I am also type 1 diabetic & I totally understand what you are going through! I feel relief to know someone can honestly understand me! If you wish to get ahold of me, please do. I think we could really benefit from each other. You can email me at, I'm also on myspace & facebook. Mary Jordan is the name! Thanks for ur wonderful post!

Bethany said...

Oh, the uneducated comments people make about diabetes. It's so frustrating! I had just been diagnosed at age 13 and was at my best friend's house and was smelling her little sister's perfume, when her little sister shrieked, "Don't smell it! You'll get diabetes germs all over it!" She was only 8 but I still think about it to this day, 15 years later.

Most comments aren't hurtful and most people are genuinely curious. But it's those uneducated comments that make me want to hide my diabetes. I completely feel with ya!

MaryElizabeth said...

I was diagnosed when I was 7. On Feb 14, 2010 will be my 15 "anniversary". Ugh. But I can't honestly remember life before I had diabetes.

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