Sue recalls the frustrations she has faced as a type 1 diabetic.
I try very hard to be positive about my disease but the thing that is the most frustrating is the confusion between type-1 and type-2. I know that there are many things that are similar and many things that you would say both people or both individuals whether they are type-1 or type-2 would encounter but the frustrating thing for me is that people will make remarks to me that really have nothing to do with my disease.
They don’t understand that when I have insulin on board and when I take insulin for food the thing that I was told in Australia was this gives you the freedom, you eat whatever you want to eat.
I know what carbohydrate levels are in many of the manufactured foods. For example, here is a classic example – when I was teaching school the birthday treat would be a doughnut from a very famous doughnut company that makes their doughnuts fresh and you could even watch them come down the assembly line as they were being made and the children would come in with a dozen of those doughnuts and beautiful thing was I could flip over the box and see how many carbohydrates were in that doughnut.
All I have to do, and again, it’s this wonderful pump that I like so much, I tell it how much carbohydrate I am going to have, so for example I am going to do a bolus, so I tell this bolus wizard that this doughnut by the famous doughnut maker where you can watch them come through, I am going to plug in 22 doughnuts because that’s what their original doughnut is – 22 gms of carbohydrate. I hit activate. It says you are going to take for this doughnut 1.4 units of insulin. It’s flashing here.
So it’s telling me how much insulin to take to eat that doughnut. Now I am not going to hit activate because if I hit this blue button that insulin is going to go into my system and that’s not a good idea because I don’t have any food on board right now. So I am going to just escape and it’s gone, but that’s how I would do it. And I am back to my blank screen, my main menu.
When people tell me that I can’t eat that because I am a diabetic, you can eat that. You can’t eat that; you are diabetic. It frustrates me. I know what my body is like and every single person, you know it better than anyone. You even know it better than a lot of the medical professionals.
People read in print, they study and they are very knowledgeable and I don’t want to take anything away from our medical care people but the person who knows best is yourself. You know. You know what it’s like. You know what it feels like when your blood sugar is high. You know what it feels like when your blood sugar is low.
You test to make sure you are in the right range. Stress can change things. It’s always a different day for a diabetic, at least it is for me. So when people tell me what I can and cannot do based on what they have heard or because grandma is a diabetic therefore I need to follow grandma’s routine, that frustrates me and I try to be very patient.
I sometimes do the show and tell thing with the pump because rather than me being frustrated with them I think I am doing them a much bigger favor to educate them.
So I try very hard to be gracious, not to let it bug me and I do sometimes get bugged, but try to look at it as an opportunity for them to learn something a little bit new and perhaps a little different from their viewpoint that they had when they made the statement the first time.
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