(This was inspired, in part, by dino’s blog “I’m putting down the gloves” http://tudiabetes.com/profiles/blogs/im-putting-down-the-gloves and a few other sources, particularly a cold turkey quit smoking site that has been very supportive for me.)
Is this how a friend treats you?
This friend comes to live in your house. You didn’t invite him. He has no job. He has no money. He has no clothes. He has no visible means of support. But you can’t kick him out. Why? Because he’s Type 1 diabetes and he’s your friend.
The first thing he does is look in your refrigerator and tells you its full of junk that he won’t eat. He then gives you a list of stuff he WILL eat and expects you to go out and buy it, which you do. And you eat the stuff, too. It makes you feel pretty good, actually. But if, just if, you happen to eat any of the junk your friend doesn’t like, you will pay. Oh, will you pay. If you don’t get physically ill, your friend will nag you into despair about your unhealthy food choices and what a rotten, ungrateful friend you are.
Then he starts leaving his crap all around the place. The small paper remains of medical supplies. Biohazardous detritus, flotsam and jetsam appear everywhere; on the counters, on the hallway floor, between the cushions on the sofa. Has this guy ever heard of a trash can? Yes, he has, because they are overflowing with his junk, his cotton and alcohol swabs, his tubes and cannulas, his sharps and needles and other pointy things.
The pointy things! He won’t go anywhere without them! If you leave the house and they’re missing, he makes you go back to get them. It’s true for all his gadgets. And he loves gadgets. Oh, yes. If there’s a new gadget on the market, he’s got to have it. Why? So he can annoy you with all the buzzing, pinging, vibrating alarms at all hours of the day and night. But he doesn’t set off the alarms while you’re home on the sofa fishing test strips from between the cushions and watching “The Closer” No. In the car is where he loves to hear them. On the freeway. All at the same time.
Can you go anywhere without him? No. Sometimes you can hide him. If you don’t talk about him, people usually don’t notice him. After all, you’re the only one he enjoys annoying. He’s best pals with everyone else. Your other friends will become his buddy and they’ll take his side EVERY TIME! “How’s your Diabetes?” they’ll ask you. “Should you be eating that?” they’ll ask you. They have no idea what a demanding little cretin he really is.
He demands your constant attention. He slaps your hand when you reach for a slice of pizza. He wakes you up at night and makes you stumble around to find him some glucose tabs. He forces you to go to bed in the middle of the day and curl up in a ball. He pokes your fingers until they bleed. He taunts you with numbers, numbers, numbers. He tells on you to your doctors. He spends your money, he questions your resolve, he tests your patience, he knocks you down then he stands on your neck and kicks you in the gut. Then he asks you to get him a diet coke.
And he’s not going away. No friend would treat you this way. That’s because he’s not your friend.
He’s more like family.
So I guess you have to treat him that way.