What do you struggle with when you’re talking about diabetes? It’s Diabetes Week 2018 (June 11-18) and the theme of this year’s awareness-raising seven days is the stuff we find awkward, embarrassing, difficult or even funny to mention.
Here are mine:
- I don’t like telling people in general. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed; I just don’t like drawing attention to myself.
- Jelly baby etiquette. When you eat sweeties in front of someone, politeness dictates you offer them around. But they’re the medicine that corrects low blood sugars*, so stinginess is understandable.
- Explaining a hypo when you’re in the middle of one. Most of my low blood sugar episodes are manageable. But I can be in the middle of a conversation and my mind goes blank. “Bear with me! My mind’s distracted. It’s screaming ‘SUGAR, SUGAR, SUGAR’ at me. My word power will return in a few minutes,” is what I should say.
- Or don’t talk to me. When I’m high, conversation is too much effort. Please don’t take it personally.
- I don’t talk much either when I’m high because I’m conscious of the nasty taste in my mouth and am reluctant to impose halitosis on anyone.
- And don’t take the grumpiness low blood sugars produce personally either. First aiders once told me about diabetics who punched people when they were low, so grumpiness seems moderate in comparison.
- Please know that managing diabetes is like having a part-time job that you do on top of everything else.
- If you manage to work out I’m hypo long before I do, be aware I’ll deny it in an exasperated fashion. “Flip’s sakes, no I’m not. Look I’ll even do the blood test to show you and here it…oh. Alright then.”
- Sometimes when I say I can’t do something because of the diabetes, I might be using it as a fab, ready-made excuse. It’s not me, it’s you. OH NO! I’ve just given away diabetes’ best-kept secret!
*I told a little girl my jelly babies were medicine once. She gave me one of those, ‘why do adults lie to me?’ looks.