It’s day 3 of the eighth (and I just had a dumb moment where I had to google the spelling of the word eighth) annual Diabetes Blog Week. The idea is that bloggers sign up to write about a set topic each day for a week, and readers get a variety of perspectives on each topic. Here is today’s prompt:
Having diabetes often makes a visit to the doctor a dreaded experience, as there is invariably bad news of one kind or another. And sometimes the way the doctor talks to you can leave you feeling like you’re at fault. Or maybe you have a fantastic healthcare team, but have experienced blame and judgement from someone else in your life – friend, loved one, complete stranger. Think about a particularly bad instance, how that person talked to you, the words they used and the conversation you had. Now, the game part. Let’s turn this around. If you could turn that person into a puppet, what would you have them say that would leave you feeling empowered and good about yourself? Let’s help teach people how to support us, rather than blame us!
I think I’m fairly open about my diabetes. People see me check my blood sugar. People see me exiting, and re-entering the room with a mouthful of skittles. People see me pull out my insulin pump. People see me swipe my arm. I’ll bring up diabetes if it’s relevant to the conversation. I’ve even been caught out on the odd occasion with my shirt up and staring at the infusion set on my stomach!
Yet I find it odd how little they actually ask me about it. I find it surprising that they’re not tempted to ask. Are they scared of stepping on eggshells and offending me? Or is it simply the nature of an invisible illness, that they just don’t notice? I guess it could mean that they don’t automatically see diabetes when they look at me, which is great because there is more to me than just my diabetes.
Yet as much as I don’t like to admit it, diabetes can be isolating to live with at times. Moreso in social situations where others get to be carefree, while I have to worry about carb counts and pockets full of supplies and going low.
I wish I was asked about my diabetes more often. Yeah, I know this is a double edged sword…
Because I also hate having to answer the same old questions, and addressing the same old stereotypes. I can’t stand the looks of pity or sympathy as I talk through some of the things that I have to do. I can’t stand being compared to her husband’s father who suffered at 90 years of age. I hate having assumptions made about me. I hate that I’m only ever asked about my diabetes when I’ve got a plate piled high with desert.
Instead of assuming that sweets are bad for me, how about asking me about what I have to do when I eat them?
Instead of telling me about your elderly relative who had diabetes, how about asking me how I manage or live well with mine?
Instead of giving me looks of pity and sympathy, how about commending me on how proactive and educated I sound?
I want to be asked about diabetes. I’m happy to talk diabetes with you. I just feel like a conversation would be so much more productive without all of the assumptions, reservations, or family comparisons thrown into the mix.
To read other responses to today’s prompt, click here.