Diabetes at School

…The next day I woke up with a hint more dread in my day’s outlook than usual, and as well as wanting to avoid my teachers, I was dreading the announcement to my friends. I sort of felt different than I was the previous day, I think it was the last remnants of carelessness that had left me as I was already pretty careful in general. I also felt sorry for myself but I didn’t necessarily want anyone else to feel sorry for me and pity really sits awkwardly in my stomach. Luckily my friends rarely felt pity though. I sat in the registration room trying to look normal :flushed:. The school bell rang and after registration period, I had to tell my registration teacher that I’m now diabetic, and whenever someone stays behind to talk to the teacher, you know something interesting went down (because no one wanted to talk to teachers for longer than necessary). So I walked a few seconds behind my friends to French :croissant: where casual chat began. Some of the guys described their previous night’s activities like playing call of duty or football. This chat quickly ended when I broke into the huddle, and I got asked, why I stayed behind​:frowning_face_with_open_mouth: . Usually we’re hoping that someone got into trouble because its usually a pretty funny story. In a quiet mouse-like voice with a face that was again close to tears :sweat:, I said that “yeah so, I’m diabetic now so I have to go tell all the teachers”. My friends looked at each other and maybe its because I had a reputation as bein somewhat sarcastic or maybe it was just super funny, but the reaction wasn’t completely what I expected (but I definitely should have expected it). The group of about 4 guys looked at each other, shocked and probably to help each other decide how to react and then they started chuckling together :joy:. After a moment or so the laughter infected me and I smirked and laughed a little. I had to prove that I was diabetic and they didn’t really believe me until I got out my glucose monitor and injections. And so began the questioning from friends and from curious students during lunch times that I had absolutely no answer for.
Luckily this experience was quite supportive and I didn’t feel alienated (too much) becuase of this… Did/do you have a supportive circle at school?

For the rest see 3/ I'm Diabetic haha

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I was diagnosed right at the end of college. My friends and roommates were really worried and were on me all the time to figure out what was wrong with me.
After diagnosis I had 30 people in my hospital room. College friendships are just like that.
one friend in particular made it his business to make sure I was taking my insulin and reminding me when I needed to eat.
It’s kind of funny now, but at the time I was annoyed. But look from their position, it’s scary and weird for everyone.
Once everyone got used to it, and my health improved the tension went away.
I gave up drinking which I never really did much. And I gave up eating pizza.
Backpacking made me anxious however I didn’t stop doing it, I jus needed more stuff to carry.
Over the years you get better at it, and as you get more confident, your friends don’t worry so much.

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Great post, Dinesh!
Welcome to the club!

I was diagnosed at 11, so I was basically always a diabetic and there wasn’t an awkward transition period like you experienced. My friends from high school never brought it up. It wasn’t a topic of interest. I didn’t see it as something that made me different than other people until I was MUCH older - like, 25. I still know a lot of those same kids today and during covid they have been very tolerant of me not wanting to hang out or attend get togethers. They get it. They were kind (although trouble making) kids and they are kind, understanding adults.

Its your disease and you don’t have to discuss it with everyone you meet. Sometimes its nice to have friends who don’t know that your diabetic. Most people will never bring it up. But, some people have bad motivations for bringing it up and will bring it up a lot. I think you want to learn how to brush that off. Those people have no idea what they are talking about. Most people don’t know anything about diabetes. YOU will become the expert in diabetes.

You can always talk to us about it.

You will meet all kinds of people with all kinds of illnesses and you might take note of who they are because their experience will compare and contrast with yours. They will know things - secret things, without you even needing to tell them. They will just know. Those people are great too.

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My parents moved while I was in the hospital after initial diagnosis. It wasn’t a surprise or anything, we’d been house hunting. But I never had to explain to old school friends or teachers. The new kids/teachers never knew me without diabetes.

I did get teased mercilessly by the bully at my new school, though. I used to have to leave class to eat a snack on the R/NPH regiment. They just sent me to the bathroom to eat a pack of Handisnacks. Gross in retrospective, but I didn’t question it as a kid. The bully spied on me through the cracks in the door and saw me eating in the stall. I guess she probably already knew, since they all saw me leave with food everyday. She used to follow me home from school with a group of kids chanting “Hand-di-SNACKS, Hand-di-SNACKS, HAND-DI-SNACKS…” It’s just silly now, but it’s really hard to be ostracized like that as an 8 year old kid in a new school.

I had a really awesome 4th grade teacher, though. She was one of those people who clearly loved teaching and children. She had a treat box and would reward excellent behavior with your choice of candy and whatnot. We didn’t know much about nutrition and carbs then, pre-nutritional label days, and say she put boxes of raisins in there for me instead… Thinking they were healthy! Now I know raisins spike me worse than chocolate.

My fifth grade teacher didn’t want anything to do with my diabetes. I wasn’t allowed to keep juice in my desk like the previous years. She made me go to the nurses office… downstairs. Wound up breaking my ankle. I got moved to a different teacher’s class after that, but it’s crazy think how different things are now. The federal mandates for special needs existed back then, but without the internet, nobody knew about them. That sort of thing would never be tolerated now.

By the time I got to junior high, my mother stopped explaining to the teachers, but I still made the point to let them know in case there was ever an issue. I don’t remember ever having an issue, though. So come high school, I had stopped telling my teachers at all. It really didn’t seem to matter to me. Everyone had drinks on them anyway, so it didn’t matter a lick if I needed juice or something. Never occurred to me that I should be worried about medical emergencies… But I wish I had developed better communication habits before I got to college!

Freshman year of undergrad, I was still in the highschool mentality where the profs were more intimidating than peers. I was taking a chemistry exam in a small lecture hall where the desks are all up on risers. I couldn’t focus on the exam at all. I was all fuzzy, sweaty, and shaking. I sat there for what seemed like forever trying to get up the gumption to get up in the middle of the silent lecture hall and make the long, awkward walk to explain to my prof that I was diabetic and needed sugar. The anxiety of it was killing me. I felt like I was having a panic attack. When I finally did make myself get up… I passed out cold, face first on the risers, in the middle of the lecture hall! When I came to, I finally muttered to the prof that I was diabetic. My tiny little prof, who couldn’t have more than two inches on me and was fit-to-burst-pregnant at the time, did the summon-super-human-strength mamma thing, and carried/frog-marched me half way across the academic hall to the snack kiosk to force feed me soda. I learned after the fact how terrified she was, and she scolded the hell out of me for not forewarning her.

Turns out that none of that was actually a hypo and the soda couldn’t help, though. I was running a fever of 104 and quickly rising because of an unknown kidney infection. (I knew I hadn’t been feeling great, but thought it was just a flu bug or something.) But it sure felt like a hypo! The school nurse wound up calling an ambulance for me, who thought I was sick because my sugar was through the roof after drinking all that soda.

Even though it wasn’t a diabetic emergency, it still put me back in the mindset of making sure everyone around me knew I was diabetic. It was my first adult learning moment that I can’t anticipate emergencies, so I just need to make sure those around me are best prepared for them. It was also the first time I understood the scolding from the other person’s perspective and for the fear I caused, and not just another authority figure harping on.

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So glad to hear your friends were so helpful and supportive! Having a support team makes this so much easier. And the more you share, the better educated they will be and how helpful they can be on spreading the correct information!
I was diagnosed in grade school. I told everyone. My parents made it very clear that to help keep me safe, people around me needed to know what was going on. I have never kept it a secret and I share with everyone I went to school with and all my coworkers. I find so many have no idea about diabetes, so I feel like I am helping people understand the disease and that while type 1 and type 2 are both diabetes but the treatment plans can be very different.

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The way your friends acted sounds very similar to how my friends acted after my DKA. Its been a while since my diagnosis but I’m still learning everyday.

Thanks for the warm welcome!
You’re right there! Most people don’t notice or blink when I mention diabetes or use it as an excuse. Becoming an expert is something I’m still working on (despite having completed a PhD based around insulin signalling). Thanks for commenting!

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WOW, that’s a good head start!

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