How Diabetes Made Me A Better Person

Vicki was drinking wine. Cristina was drinking even more wine. Antonio was drinking more wine than Vicki and Cristina together. Even Antonio’s father, a dirt minded guy in his eighties, was drinking a lot of wine. This river of wine was too much for me to look at and I was thinking about stepping out of the movie theater. Woody Allen movie. What the heck was in his mind?

The last time I indulged myself in drinking was two month after I was diagnosed with type 2 and one month after I started Glucotrol. In my mind the red warning on the Glucotrol bottle was equivalent to a 25 MPH speed limit on an open highway. As expected, the speed ticket came next day, two hours after breakfast – 225 mg/dL.

I felt an urge to hit the remote and find a movie where people discuss real issues, like carbs and fats, like highs and lows. Never before I considered myself so captive. The frustration was reaching dangerous levels but somehow just before my head exploded I calmed down when I realized that I am not alone. There are a lot of other categories of people who cannot identify with characters in a Woody Allen movie. They are called “minorities”.

For most of my life I was a member of the majority and on the few occasions when I tried to separate from the crowd it was always my choice. A sort of punishment is expected when you break the norms and I was ready to swallow it. But with diabetes, nobody asked my opinion and now I have to accept the inconveniences of a different life style. Damn!

Each time I go to a party I look for other people with diabetes. At election time I would vote for a candidate only because he is diabetic. At work I would prefer to do business only with diabetics. Contrary to what my parents and educators told me to do, I was on the path of becoming a bigot, to vote for the person and not for the issues and to give illegal preferential treatment. I was on the way to become the worst guy on the planet.

But after the movie episode I started to better understand other people’s frustrations and how these frustrations are born out of being captive in a minority group. But not all minorities are alike. There are minorities that you are born in, like skin color (remember Michael Jackson?) or place of birth. Let’s call them type 1 minorities. Type 2 minorities would obviously be the ones that you can escape out of, or where you entered by choice.

So now, thanks to diabetes (and to Woody Allen), I have another view of the world and a better understanding of other people’s state of mind. Is my colleague unhappy and frustrated because of her race or because she’s fat? Type 1 or type 2 frustration?

Nicely put!!!