“Well, As A Diabetic…”

August 3rd, 2012 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

It’s usually said in a nearly dismissive way, as though the speaker isn’t hearing what they are saying.

It’s usually heard in a loudspeaker voice, decibels reverberating in the air for minutes.

It’s the medical “well, as a diabetic …” phrase.

Yeah; I know I have diabetes.  I know that having high blood glucose levels for any sustained length of time will cause a myriad of damaging things to happen to my body.  I know, for example, that one of them is a slower healing process.  I know.

But did YOU know that I’m not in that category as much as you may presume, Medical Professional? Did YOU know how much work I put in throughout my day and night every day, and how much learning I have gone through in the past 24 years?  Did YOU know what my typical BG ranges are, or even what they mean?


I will say; I’m glad I don’t get the mini lectures I used to get from specialists when I’d see them for something or other (and I know whatever it was is unlikely to have been related to my diabetes since I haven’t experienced complications) and they’d launch in to tell me something or other about whatever diabetes could do to THEIR specialty.  I’m hoping that’s because I’m older than I used to be (happens every day!), but I think with this idea probably kids could stand to think about it, too. 

Because, really: yawn.  Do you think we don’t know?  Do you think we all just sit around and eat bon bons in Denial Land?  I wonder what they teach doctors in medical school about “diabetes” in their endocrine system chapters.  Someday I’ll ask them how long they had to spend studying the diseases (type 1 and type 2 are not the same disease if only due to their different beginnings in the body) before they graduated and went into their specialties.

One thing I can tell you for absolute certain: every single person with diabetes has a different experience.  There is no generic “diabetic” out there.  Whether I run marathons or become a librarian or raise bunnies in the back yard, me as a diabetic is just like me as a person: an individual. I have my weaknesses and my strengths and I have my bad days and my good days, just like anyone else.

So when these generalizations come out of the medical professional’s mouth, that is what I am thinking about.  I’m thinking about why they are saying something that may or may not apply to me, or if they have even thought about whether or not it does. 

Sometimes I call them on it, and we can begin a discussion.  Sometimes not. 

Either way, for me, recognizing that what most medical professionals know about my diabetes is infinitesimal by comparison to what I know about my diabetes.

And that is how it should be, at least for this diabetic.

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