Wednesday, May 18, 2016

"This Isn't Diabetes 101!" ~ Reyna Maher

200x200D' Blog Week: Day 3:  There is an old saying that states "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."  I'm sure we've all disagreed with this statement at some point, especially when it comes to diabetes.  Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes.  For some, they don't care, others care passionately.  Where do you stand when it comes to "person with diabetes" versus "diabetic", or "checking" blood sugar versus "testing", or any of the tons of other examples?

The following doesn't happen all to often.  Well the "mascara part" does; that happens daily.

Typically, when it happens, it's in the morning as we prepare to get the kids off to school and the adults off to work. 

Typically, it's when Joe has forgotten to check a pre-breakfast blood sugar and Dave hasn't followed-up on making sure he has checked a pre-breakfast blood sugar.  Where am I?  You may be wondering and asking.  Well my eyelashes aren't gonna mascara themselves, are they?

So, typically...I come downstairs and ask about Joe's number only to find out no number has been checked.  My eye balls kinda bulge outta my skull and I then go all scholarly on Joe and Dave and say something like...
EYES BULGING OUTTA SKULL (note mascara use though)

"Guys, this isn't Diabetes 101!"

I then lecture them up and down about checking a morning blood sugar.  Ummm, they know this.  We've been doing this for 10 years.  I'm thinking we have enough Diabetes credit hours to have earned a Bachelors, and a Masters, and a Doctorate (a few times over).  

Dave and Joe laugh.  

Eventually, I will too.  

I do temper my behavior at some point in the interaction, reminding myself of the power of my words and actions.  I recognize the need to be authentic and real.  I don't think Joe is fragile.  I certainly don't handle him with kid gloves.  

I have, however, measured my words over the years.  

I never use the phrase "test your blood sugar."  Testing implies passing, or worse ... failing.   I also try to avoid saying things like "that's a good number" or "that's a bad number."  I try to view all blood sugar numbers as data. I am thankful for any data that could help guide decision making in Joe's care.

I also have some reservations about labeling Joe a "diabetic".  It's never seemed natural to say something like "my son is a diabetic."  So I've never said it.  

And...for some reason, I take pause with the word "disease".  To me the word means sick.  I tend to lean toward the word "condition", which really doesn't sound any better...oh and there is the equally unhealthy sounding word "disorder".  I use the words, once in awhile, but they don't roll off of my tongue.  Perhaps it's hard to accept words like illness, condition, disorder, and disease as a part of your child. 

A Diabetes 101 lesson on talking about the day-in-the-life.


Katy said...

I just noticed that I think I *have been* saying TEST not check (but believe in saying check) AND I don't know how to do eyeliner.

Sarah said...

ooohh...I want to take an eye make-up 101 from you!
As for the words we use I used to think diabetic-vs-has diabetes was no big deal, before having a child with diabetes I would have used either with no problem. Now I definitely want him to be seen as so much else that I never refer to him as "diabetic" and I often correct others on that one.
We do say disease a lot...but not in reference to diabetes, but celiac disease as we get to explain it often when we go out or to other's homes and there will be food. Saying disease seems to makes people know it's serious and not just some fun strange diet idea we're trying out.
Anyhow, let me know when you vlog about your fabulous eye make up routine :)

meanderings said...

I say "test" at home but - when helping out at the church with my young fwd (friend w/ diabetes!), I say check.

kerri arista said...

i like condition too, but for me, that's sounds temporary. which actually, is a great hope to have! :)

Frank said...

Personally, I have never thought twice about the word testing until today. So thanks for providing some context. I think it's a great attitude to have around your children and to remind them that they have not failed, it's only a tool to figure out what to do next.