What does 'real bad' mean?!

i just have to vent.

an older coworker of mine has type 2 diabetes. he just whispered to someone "did you know nicole was a diabetic?..real bad."

what the heck does "real bad" mean? is that the phrase he uses when describing a type 1?

it annoys me like nothing else when i get described as such.

as a matter of fact my a1c is great, and i take care of myself. im doing real good if you ask me.

Calm down a little and then tell him. It's pure ignorance.

A social myth drives statements like the one your coworker made. The myth stems from ignorance about diabetes. Many people believe that T1D is the "bad" kind of diabetes. T2D comprises the overwhelming majority of diabetes.

The social beliefs related to T2D often color beliefs about T1D, whether accurate or not. Many T2Ds see insulin use as a mark of failure (it's absolutely not!) and they conclude that since all T1Ds must take insulin for the rest of their lives to survive, that they have the "bad" form of diabetes. I also think that the emotional trauma surrounding the fact that many (not all!) T1Ds are diagnosed as young children creates a special worry and uneasiness.

I believe that T1D generally demands more moment-to-moment active management. Having said that, I'm very aware of the extensive management efforts of some T2Ds, as well as their amazing control! Using insulin, whether for T1 or T2, makes one more susceptible to hypoglycemia but it's also a highly effective tool to control BGs.

I know how you feel about the social misperception your coworker suffers. The only way to neutralize that is with communication of actual facts. Unfortunately, we must deal with this on a one-to-one basis. I don't think we will ever live in a society where this does not occur. I think it's part of the human condition.

Since this tapped into an emotional sore spot for you, consider this an opportunity to engage in an effective antidote. Talk to your coworker and dispel some ignorance. It will make you feel better. By the way, congratulations on your excellent A1c and BG control!

It's like when I tell people I'm diabetic, they ask, "the good kind or the bad kind?" I'm like WTF?

thanks, terry! after calming down a bit i see more clearly why he made the comment.

your response did shed some more light onto it though.

he likes to talk to me about diabetes since we both have it, so i will try to work up the courage to let him know in the best way i can. ive let the sore spot get worse and worse from yrs of ignorant comments that ive never addressed.

thanks to you & zoe!

I’ve a T2 tell me that they had diabetes too but not as bad as me. It’s hard when you have a life you are trying to live and people are saying dumb things like that.

I'd be more ticked off that he whispered your condition or any of your personal business to someone. THAT is real bad manners and I'd call him up on it and let him know that his level of ignorance is epic bad and his describing T1 as "real bad" is real stupid.

It's okay if you don't want to waste your time trying to educate the older ignorant coworker, I have learned that some folks really can't learn new things.

Congratulations and Yay for you Nicole on doing real good!!

Nicole - Strange as it may seem, your T2D coworker may respect your dealing with T1D due to his belief that it is the "bad" kind. In reality, you both deserve to garner respect since both conditions require vigilance and sustained effort for good management.

It's quite possible that fellow got his information directly from his own doctor. I have been told by a doctor or two that I'm lucky to have T2 because T1 is the "bad" kind. And then I was handed a diet that was destined to fail, and prescriptions for cholesterol and blood pressure pills that I didn't need, but "all diabetics need to take." And no, I couldn't see an endo, who might have actually taught me something, because my diabetes wasn't "bad" enough. It didn't matter that I'd already had a toe cut off and couldn't walk because of amyotrophic neuropathy supposedly caused by diabetes. So, Nicole, please do share what you know with the coworker. The chances are really good he needs some accurate information. If I hadn't come to Tudiabetes, I shudder to think where I'd be today. I've learned so much here, and mostly from the T1s.

I suspect the thinking is along the lines of:

T1: No insulin = dead in 2 days from DKA
T2: No insulin/don't take care of your BGs = blind, lost limbs or dead in ?10 years from heart-disease/kidney failure or whatever.

2 days is worse than 10 years.

That was better stated than I could ever hope to state it. I also see the use of the word bad as meaning that the consequences of lack or control or even just random events of the day as having very severe outcomes, even death. So in my point of view T1 is "real bad".
I hope not to step on anyones toes, as I myself am not diabetic but my wife is a T1 diagnosed in her late 30's

well, IMO, your co-worker is right...T1 is the BAD kind; DKA, extreme lows, an autoimmune disease which often means more autoimmune disease(s), no cure or any diet, weight loss, meal plan or starvation will help us get off insulin. maybe his type 2 is managed with diet and exercise alone...lucky for him...so, in his opinion, which he's entitled to, Type 1 is the BAD kind. I'd certainly exchange T1 for T2 any day!

I can only agree with Terry. He writes up the best answers, all the time…
I just wanted to add that you can tell him honestly how hurt/ disappointed you felt when you heard that comment, so he understands what a sensitive spot this is for you!
good luck

I believe that these kind of statements reflect the common misconception among the T2 crowd that theirs is not as serious a condition. It is a misconception because the long term effects are just a bad for T2.

Many T2's believe (I was one of them) that because they do not need insulin, at least not yet, that they have it better. What they don't realize is that their clock is ticking also and they face the same serious complications.

Your T2 friend is misinformed not insensitive.

Excellent advice Zoe.

no one said complications aren't as bad, actually...I believe T2's do indeed get more complications as they have the metabolic portion of it as well and can let their blood sugars spike sky high without the threat of DKA. Majority of T2's aren't on insulin. management of type 1 is different, as it's an autoimmune disease. maybe this T2 is not misinformed at all, maybe it's his experience with diet - exercise he's well controlled, or an oral medication and has no complications.

You may be right Sarah, each person's experience is unique. I was however speaking in general terms.

Today, someone said to me, "Oh, yea. You have that T1 diabetes--adolescent or juvenile, right?"

type 1 diabetes is far more misunderstood then type 2. majority of people don't even really know what type 1 diabetes is and ISN'T. very few people are touched with type 1 diabetes; it's still considered rare. many, prior to being diagnosed type 1, never knew anyone with this disease and still don't. type 2 is at epidemic levels; young, obese children are being diagnosed type 2, unfortunately.

being a rarer disease and being a misunderstood disease are two different things. i understand that you feel very hard done by sarah, as most of us do at times, but i think t2 may actually be the more MISUNDERSTOOD type, as people THINK they know about it, THINK that the media gives them the right information about it.
to be misunderstood is to be wrongly interpreted, it can also mean not given sympathetic understanding, which i think t2 also wins at.

as for the situation of the OP, i think i would be more annoyed that my coworker was whispering my medical information to people. that is like school on sunday, nooo class!