One of the things that I feel most passionate about when it comes to diabetes is language. Perhaps second only to peer support. I quite often find myself thinking about the deeper impact of things that I see shared on social media, things said in presentations, things written in articles and how that might make other people feel.
Language Matters. Language has the power to influence the way we think, feel and behave. Language has the power to become reality. (So much so, that Diabetes Australia wrote a whole position statement on it…)
I have to admit that one of the things that doesn’t quite sit right with me lately is the suggestion that it is of the utmost importance that people with diabetes be controlling their blood sugar right now. Or something to that effect.
The way that reads to me, is that it’s only going to be the people with poorly controlled blood sugar who will be at greater risk of Coronavirus. In exactly the same vein as the suggestion from a few weeks ago that ‘only those with pre-existing conditions will be at risk.’ We don’t throw people under the bus in the diabetes community. If you ask me, that’s a really poor way to motivate someone to take care of themselves.
I can’t help but think about how some people in our community might be feeling about these messages. Let’s say, for example, someone who is newly diagnosed and is not seeing the 5.5 that’s on the box of their blood glucose meter very often. Or in the case of my life in the past week, the story of my extremely stubborn blood sugars that are resistant to the same amount of insulin that was sufficient last week. I must admit that even I’m feeling a bit invalidated by this messaging.
I have absolutely no problem with anyone who might feel inclined to use this time to provide additional focus towards their diabetes, if they see fit. (Although I would love to know where you are finding this spare time, because I certainly haven’t found any…) I have absolutely no problem with encouraging good hygiene, good health behaviours and preparedness. Go and have a look at Diabetes Australia’s socials.
But diabetes is a tough gig. When you live with diabetes, every day is diabetes day. Every week is diabetes week. Every month is diabetes month. I refuse to believe even for a second that people with diabetes aren’t trying. I can honestly say that I don’t know a single PWD who isn’t doing their best, under extremely trying circumstances.
I’m not going to suggest that it’s not important to manage blood glucose, but a number isn’t the only marker of people’s efforts in their diabetes management.
People with diabetes deserve a medal just for continuing to show up each and every day during an extremely challenging time.
…and I’d give you all a medal. I know how much effort you guys put in to managing your T1. It is not for the faint hearted and I applaud every one of you. For 12 years now I have watched my son manage his T1 and I can only be amazed by what he has to do every single second of every single day. Yet in some ways this inspires him to do more and make the best of his life. All power to you guys, you are all awesome.
Thanks, Jan! As is your son!
Well what really gets to me are all these buzz words and phrases such as “patient focused” and “individualised”. LMAO. What the hell was it before? I have lived with this disease for 5 plus decades. Reminds me of a time working in mental health when some so called professional was giving a presentation and said; we need “therapeutic relationships“ with our patients. Like what the hell ? I certainly have to wonder if those in the business of health care, need to use such terms, then God help us all! Getting to the terms used in reference to diabetes and covid19, I don’t think it is to undermine anyone’s efforts in managing diabetes but it could be seen as remiss not to highlight the importance of managing diabetes to the best of the individuals ability. Could be these blanket statements go against the trendy buzz term/s; “individualised”, “patient focused care”. Oddly enough I have read health community blogs or so called health blogs concurrently use the trendy buzz words with “ now is the time to get your diabetes under control”. Well as far as I am concerned it is a shared burden of responsibility and if anyone of my care team don’t get that they get the sack, and believe me I have sacked a good number in my time. I am happy to say I have a delightfully thoughtful and insightful endo and GP now. Unfortunately some of the BS I read on some online communities makes me cringe with embarrassment!!!