As a diabetic, surely enough you have had someone make some ridiculous comment to you at one time about diabetes. There are so many crazy misconceptions out there such as how we can’t have sugar, how diabetes can be cured by insert ridiculous “cure” here, how it’s your own fault you have diabetes, how only fat people get diabetes, and so many more. Ugh there’s so many it’s so ridiculous to be honest. So, what’s the most ridiculous comment you have heard about diabetes?
I don’t get that much of it. Occasionally, someone will perceive my pump and express surprise “I didn’t know YOU were diabetic!?” but I haven’t let it get in the way of very much and am pretty open and out. A few folks were like “eek, I don’t like needles…”. Once a guy who played drums in our band saw me shooting up (a bit more aggressively than usual…) and turned pale so I presume he really didn’t like needles so. Of course, the bass player, a psychiatrist, immediately began giving him crap about it.
I had a girl in my high school anatomy class tell me “my mother doesn’t let me eat sugar so I don’t get diabetes” after I told her and a few others that I was in the hospital a few days prior for DKA and undiagnosed type 1 diabetes. It was my first day back from my hospitalization, and I really wanted to stab her with my insulin pen after that comment.
More of a general thing, but for me it’s the phrase “diabetic coma.” My boss is always saying this when someone brings in cake or cookies or whatever. “I’d offer you some but we don’t want you to go into a diabetic coma!” It’s become a kind of popular expression too. “If I have one more of those Boston creme donuts I’m going to go into a diabetic coma!” Well no, you’re not, and neither would I for that matter. Explaining to people that for a person on insulin therapy, the scary-risky part is the therapy not the disease, is the hardest thing I come up against. They’ve absorbed the idea from popular culture that the main thing about diabetics–T1s in particular–is “They can pass out at any time!!!” and as for why, well, they’re diabetic. Must be the sugar!
I don’t mind the ignorance–people only have so much bandwidth for things that don’t directly affect them. But the phrase is like a signal of someone pretending a knowledge they don’t have. It has a science-y, medically-informed sound but it leaves you totally unsure what they’re referring to. Severe hypo? DKA? Those are the terms we’d use because they refer to completely different things and it makes a huge difference to us which one you’re talking about.
Most ridiculous thing I’ve been told is that it’s my fault I got diabetes and I did it to myself.
It never ceases to amaze me that people even find that appropriate to make comments like that. I find it no different than making comments about someone’s weight in passing. Ask me questions if want, but don’t make dumd comments.
You mean something like the term “idiopathic”?
Some people should just learn how to admit they’re clueless. But instead they often choose to hide it behind a word which typically is used to mean essentially the same thing but can give the misleading impression of a deeper insight.
I don’t recall any comments about the disease itself at the moment.
But there does seem to be tendency to believe that “we” PWDs are all networked together in some way. Someone will say something like, “Oh, I have a brother-in-law who has diabetes. His name is Bill Hardly. Do you know him?”
Because we’re all members of the Club No One Wants to Belong To, I guess?
This is so true. I remember how little I knew about diabetes before my diagnosis. I knew that diabetics must give themselves insulin shots, often many per day. I didn’t even know that there were different types of diabetes. I had no idea what type II was. I didn’t know that some people with diabetes (actually most) don’t even take insulin.
I also realize that I am not well-informed about other diseases like multiple sclerosis or lupus. I think that’s OK. But I’m very aware not to assume I know more than I do, especially when interacting with someone about their disease. An honest caring curiosity is the best stance, I think.
People are often terminally confused about the inverse relationship between insulin and blood sugar. They think a diabetic experiencing low blood glucose must need more insulin! I understand this ignorance in light of my above comments and my own ignorance, but I try to gently educate. I know most of my efforts, however, will not stick, but it’s the best I can do.
And the problem there, especially as regards that “inverse relationship,” is that you’re up against a phalanx of TV drama and film depictions, wherein the rule is, if there’s a diabetic in the story, That Guy’s Gonna Need A Shot! (TGGNAS being the only reason* the writers put a PWD in there in the first place). So it almost always ends up looking like if you’re passing out from hypoglycemia, there’s never any insulin around and we need to give this guy a shot, stat, or he’s gonna die!
*Actually I did see a Law and Order episode once where the Law of TGGNAS was broken. The fact that the guy was testing his BG somehow played into proving his guilt or innocence–I misremember which–but to my amazement he never needed A Shot Stat! Exception proves the rule I guess.
You must eat a lot of candy. Which I don’t. But I eat a lot of carbs just like you!
My 2 favorites are:
- Oh you must have the “bad kind”. I didn’t know there was a good kind.
- I could never give myself a shot. And I always say, you do it or you die, so guess what you do it.
Oh the joys of trying to educate people.
What does TGGNAS stand for?
Is there a dictionary of diabetic related acronyms somewhere?
Some of the posts on here make me feel like I’m back in the military.
From DrBB above. I don’t think it’s a widely used acronym but TV and film writers should be aware that it’s a tired, inaccurate, and offensive cliche with people with diabetes!
Check out this diabetes acronym decoder written collectively by members of TuD. You’re in the Army now!
I think the all time “best” was a pharmacist telling me that diabetics don’t need glucose tabs, because if you have diabetes, your bg is high…not low!!!
And I thought “ignorant pharmacist” was an oxymoron! They’re usually pretty sharp people.
I had yet another pharmacist argue with me when I pointed out that glucose tabs should not be taxed as they are not a candy…but a remedy! His rationale is that they are taxed because non diabetics use them also! When I pointed out that it made no sense, he then said that the non flavoured ones are tax free!!! (Like THAT made sense???) Ok bub…give me 5 packs of non flavoured!
Can you say STUPID?
I find that a lot of people don’t know that foods like milk and fruit also contain carbs. Says something about our education system, I guess.
Fruit especially, yeah. I hate that situation where someone who knows you have T1 has brought the snacks for some event, and they happily announce “I know you can’t have the chocolate-frosted brownies so I brought you some fruit!” Not because it’s annoying or ridiculous but because it’s just really uncomfortable. They’re honestly being really thoughtful, but I’m quite accustomed to foregoing the brownies after 31+ years, whereas disappointing some well-meaning person by explaining that “If it ends in -ose, it’s sugar, and yes that includes fructose” just makes me feel like a jerk. Alternatively: crackers, chips etc. On one work-day birthday for me, knowing cake would be a problem the thoughtful person brought cheese nachos from the local Mexican restaurant. Corn chips hit my BG worse than candy. Sigh.