Diabetes Counterculture?

For those of us who have been living in the diabetes world for a year or to, it is very obvious to us that we have our own language and way of doing things. It is common for a mother of a two year old with diabetes who is throwing a tantrum to state in a stern voice, "You had better be high Missy!!" They are used to the odd looks that they receive as people are racing to call Child Protective Services on the parent who seems okay with their toddler being "high". I came across a tidbit today in the Children with Diabetes Humour section that fit with this. The family was eating in a restaurant that served alcohol. The five year old with diabetes was hungry and impatient. Mom was looking for alcohol swabs to try and clean something off of her fingers. She began chanting, "Where is my alcohol? I want my alcohol!" For some reason people looked at them a little funny. Those of us who live with diabetes see nothing strange about this. Maybe we are the odd ones? We are the ones that are very nonchalant about the amount of blood splattered on our sheets and clothing. We have learned to buy dark sheets and avoid white at all costs.

Personally, I think my son took the blood thing to a whole new level the other day. I sat down in the living room and on the coffee table was his test kit (and of course a pile of dead strips). I was shocked however when I looked at his lancing devise. That puppy looked like it had been murdered!! It was amazing the amount of blood all over it. I swear I thought it had been part of some sort of deadly attack. When I asked my son about it he was very calm. He saw nothing wrong with it. I was positive that if a police officer had walked in at that moment, he would tear my house apart looking for the dead body. I could give any CSI episode a run for its money in blood splatter!

But our oddness seems to be spreading. Our terms that so often sound like something out of a counter-culture…being high, needing alcohol, having a shot, seem to have made their way into main stream media. Last night I was doing some research on an athlete. He is heading to the Olympics but I really knew nothing about him. I found a bit more information last night but my work ended after reading a CTV article. Now CTV is a respected Canadian television network. They discussed the trials and tribulations of this young man…not only is he obviously a little off his rocker for choosing a sport that requires him to ski for FIFTY KILOMETERS (I can’t do 50 meters!) but he is doing it after numerous sports related injuries and surgeries as well as living with Type 1 diabetes. He is truly amazing but the best, best, best part of the article for me was when they discussed life before his insulin pump. You see in those days he was required to take up to 10 HITS of insulin a day!! I have heard it called a lot of things but even for me, “hits” of insulin takes me directly to the drug world and I have to laugh.

I honestly don’t care if they want to call it hits of insulin. I don’t care if people think I am crazy when I ask if my kid is high and I am not talking about drugs. These are things that we live with and maybe using these words that have become so popular in reference to other things will just make this disease a bit more memorable for people and make the ask more questions.

Off to check and see how many “hits” my son took today…

LOL Barb!! You made me laugh. Indeed, your Son’s lancing device looks like it did someone in. I’m sure it would take some time for the CSI crew to decide that your Son was innocent of any crimes.

No news station gets information totally correct all the time. But that small err is forgivable. They must know someone with Diabetes on the Staff or in their Family. Maybe someone they know with Diabetes calls his/her shots “hits”. I hadn’t heard it called that either. I know what you mean about the terms though. Hey, Diabetics(and Family) belong in a Special Club and we have our own codes. :slight_smile: But even I got the terms confused once…or twice.

Some years ago we were visiting my younger Brother and his Family in the Toronto area. We had just arrived and his Wife hauled me over to a nearby auction event just before it started.

After bidding on some items she turned to me and asked loudly over the noise, “Are you HI”. Probably because I was HI and my brain wasn’t too Happy, I thought she meant high on drugs. Of course, all the Strangers within earshot turned and starred at me accusingly.

I indignantly replied to her, “No, I’m not high”. She knew that I didn’t do drugs. She explained that she meant a sugar HI because I smelled sweet. Oh like she couldn’t have added those few words in the original question? :{

Anyways Barb, I appreciate your sense of humour and your descriptive writing. Hey you’re from NL…well of course. :slight_smile:

Lol great post I mean if people dont understand our own language they should not try to act like they understand,diabetes is something very weird and confusing for the diabetic let alone anyone else.
I think saying or writing down 10 HITS of insulin a day is so wrong it did make me think WHAT,before I got to this part I was like what a great person and loved how he got through so much but then HITS I am sure there are loads of other words that they could have used.
But as long we understand our eachother and our loved ones thats all that matters.

You are really funny :slight_smile: The lancet thing is priceless… I remember coming across an “angry pharmacist” type blog once, where the pharmacist was basically tearing into people who brought their “blood covered” meters in for help/advice when they weren’t working right, and berating them for NOT cleaning up better.

I couldn’t help but laugh… because while I definitely agree it’s gross, and I would definitely clean up mine before I took it anywhere someone had to LOOK at it or handle it, at the same time, some of it is kind of unavoidable. My current test strip tube is totally coated in bloody fingerprints, and I do try to be careful not to smear blood everywhere. It still happens!

But yeah, we do have own our little secret language. My husband often asks me “do you have to say it that way, it sounds wrong” when I complain of being high, or say I’m low, or that I need a new site… non D’s just don’t get it.

Way back when as a teen I use to refer to my shots as if I was on drugs, no one but my family understood.

I realized that EVERY shirt I own, that is not black, has small, dried and brown blood stains where I used to take all of my injections ( I have been on the pump for a month now, so no more of that, YAY!) It was kind of amazing to me to look at this one shirt I have had since about 6th grade, it was quite grutesque :smiley:

And when you reach sibling and my age( around 70 ) and we talk on the phone … in other words a little hard of hearing ??? a ( insulin … this word unspoken ) set change sounds like sex change !!

LOL, great blog! One time my granddaughter asked me if I was feeling okay, and I said “Oh Honey, I have been on a roller coaster ride all darn day…I’m just pooped out”, she said “Grandma! You went on a rollercoaster? I wanted to go too!”. I like our lingo…and your sense of humor is just priceless.

On New Years Eve, we went to Cheesecake factory. I was deciding what to order and said to my husband “I’ve been high all day” with a big sigh as the young waiter approached the table with our drinks. He gave me a funny look and my 13 year old said innocently “my Mom is high all the time”! Priceless! I laughed myself silly!

One time my son was acting bonkers and I said," You need to check yourself right now, you must be high", he replied, I don’t have to be high to act like this! Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between wacky behavior and highs! By the way, he was not high ! ! !

I think the terms is sub culture and yes it would be safe to say there is a diabetes sub culture in most places where enough people with diabetes (I despise the term diabetic) gather and communicate.

Sometimes when me and my friend are about to go out I have to step to the bathroom or give myself my shot in the car and it’s funny the way people look at me. They look like “is she shooting up in the parking lot?” It’s hilarious and sometimes i just smile back at them. My boyfriend sometimes without even thinking asks me “Have you taken your drugs yet? Because you know how you get when you get when you don’t think them”…lol. I think people get used to being in their own little world and there will always be someone on the outside looking out who knows nothing about what’s going on.

I will never forget being on a train right after I was diagnosed. I got out my insulin and it droped out of my hand, so the bottle rolled down the aisle. Two older ladies were sitting there and noticed the bottle rolling down the aisle. One commented to the other “look that boy uses insulin, Its addictive” I about died. I mena how funny. Every time I use insulin I remember that. After 35 years, yes it is addictive. LOL

rick phillips

“look that boy uses insulin, Its addictive”


Loved what you wrote!! I am a mother of a 15 yr. old that was just diagnosed in Nov. The other day we were in Game Stop (A video game store) and he was picking out a video game…he found a really agressive M game and said .“Wow…mom I better not play this game when I am high”… and I replied…yeah…that one wouldn’t be good when you are high…then we realized we weren’t the only ones listening to our conversation! Today my son said “I’d rather give myself shots then be dead.”. I guess that is a possitve out look!

oh… almost forgot… my son calls the rest of us w/out diabetes “Free Eaters”!

Great post. I have to admit I’m still pretty lost on all the lingo myself only being 10months since i found out. Also i dont know other people with diabetes (still new on here so hoping that changes) But I find it reassuring how it does have its own culture. Cause right now i have the worst time explaining to others sometimes, lol.

when I took shots I loved giving myself a dose of insulin in the car as my son was driving. the looks I’d get as we’d pass another car where awesome.

my son is 4 and dx for 2 yrs now, we can relate so much to the looks we get when I tell him something makes him"high" ect…