No one listens to a diabetic

I have had diabetes for 5 years. I’ve been on the pump for 3. as I grow older, moving up each grade, no one seems to listen to me. Those stupid little posters in the health aid office, they don’t have the correct information about the symptoms. When pointed out, ‘oh no sweety we got that from ADA.’ That ticks me off. and this year ( technically last) in my bio-med class, we were discussing diabetes, and the teach er and my classmates kept getting the wrong thing, and when I said that its wrong, stupid ADA came up, AGAIN. So they insist on believing this website, and yet im here like, really?! See no one listens to a diabetic. GRRR!!!

I’ve been having a similar experience at work recently. I’m a veterinary technician at a contract research organization. I’m the only diabetic and everyone there knows that I’m diabetic. But when we started our first ever study on diabetic swine (we’re studying wound healing compounds and want to see how well they work on hyperglycemic patients), no one asked me for any input. Not that I think I should be making all the decisions; that’s what the vets are there for. But they don’t have any expertise in endocrinology and I have 20 years of diabetes management under my belt. I even used to take the same kind of insulin the pigs do. I thought that for once my disability would be an advantage in the workplace, but aside from a coworker asking if I would check her blood sugar ('cause she wanted to know what it feels like), no one cares.

We also had our annual first aid training recently. Most of the video is awful and cheesy, but the diabetes/low blood sugar reenactment is totally spot on. It’s so familiar it makes me want to cry. But I don’t think anyone else at work realizes that. They think that it’s just as over-dramatic as the rest of the video. Diabetes is a weird disability for other people to understand because there’s virtually no visible component. I’ve really been struggling the past 2 years to keep my blood sugar stable at work. I probably have at least 1 low blood sugar every other day. But I usually feel it coming and can treat it without anyone ever knowing. So they don’t get just how hard it is or how sick I feel most of the time. They all think I’m fine.

Your classmates and teachers know on some superficial, intellectual level what diabetes is all about, but they don’t really internalize it. They can’t. So that’s probably why they’re reluctant to listen to you. You’re too real. They would have to think about it more deeply than they’re comfortable doing.

Out of curiosity, what is it about the posters that you think is wrong? Have you tried contacting the ADA to find out what studies they’re basing the information on?

Hi FredTheMedicalNerd,

Oh I know the feeling I hear that same thing but from dr. and nurse that deal with diabetics. I tell them how I react to the insulin and they tell no that not how it works. Or how I treat my blood sugar which works best for me and they tell no this how to treat which doesn’t work. But what do I know I’m only the diabetic that lives with it every day. I just think that some people are supid lol.

Meghan

I absolutely know how you’re feeling. I’m in high school too, and my blood sugar was about 280 in class one day last week. I gave myself insulin, and then started to cry, just because I didn’t know what else I could do. The school nurse wanted me to call my doctor. But I’ve been diabetic since I was eight, and I think they would laugh if I called them because my blood sugar had been a little high for not even an hour. People seem to think that its just a matter of not knowing today’s secret blood-sugar-lowering secret code. It isn’t.

I told the nurse that I had been having trouble detecting highs and lows, and that that upsets me. She said, “Well no one can tell what their blood sugar is without a meter.” Seriously?

Grrrrrr is right. And people at your school are supposed to help you deal with YOUR diabetes, not the diabetes the diabetes that they sort of kind of know about.

Hope you’re alright,
Jane

As a parent of an 11 year old I’ve lived with the fear if people not listening I know how you feel in that department! But I don’t know how highs or lows feel so I try to understand the best I can when my son feels bad! The biggest issue is people are not educated and Ada is more for type 2 awarness than type 1 so the info is very basic in that dapartment. The other thing is most type two don’t see an endo and regular dr. Aren’t specialist so they don’t even no what the difference is between the different types of diabetes and there are many! So don’t be afraid to educate people about your illness and how it affects you!!! Be confident and look at it as an opportunity even if it seems hopeless some times I always say educating one person at a time makes a difference!

I’ll echo what Sillirious says, that as frustrating as this baseline information is, it is directed to Type 2’s, who represent at least 95% of the diabetic population. It’s easier for Type 2’s to put their diabetes on the back burner, simply because they can cruise along in the high 100’s or low 200’s for months on end and not even be symptomatic. So these posters I think are geared toward trying to kick them into gear and get them moving toward at least some basic self-care. Don’t pay attention to them. Make sure you’re seeing an endocrinologist, because a GP or internist just doesn’t have the necessary experience to deal with Type 1’s. And keep coming back to forums like this where you can vent to others who “get it”!

Very well said bsteingard…T1D is a virtually no visible disease and unless you have it, you truly can’t relate. The people who don’t have it can only judge based upon their stupid study that they did or based upon them having to taking care of their granddad that suffered from T2D’s being controlled by a pill. I understand completely. I have experienced this first hand many occasions. Most of my life, I have seen family physicians for my diabetes and even they act as though they completely understand. I once told my doc that she was wrong. I said, I know, I’ve lived with the disease for 20 years. I have the experience. There was this one time, I was operating a fork lift, rushing to get the next truck loaded. We were in a tight predicament and needed to hurry. I was the only one there allowed to operate the fork lift. Well, I had to stop because my sugar was getting dangerously low. Up to that point, I had ignored the low BG symptoms. I couldn’t wait any longer. So, I stopped and went inside not telling anyone what was wrong. One of my co-workers said, “oh, he only stopped because he doesn’t want to work and he will probably say that his sugar is low.” Later, I took the warehouse management position, but these types of comments is why I hide the fact that I have T1D.

Sillirious, hang in there. I’m so thankful for parents and their support they gave me through the years I spent with them living with T1D. The best thing I can advise, don’t sugar coat anything while talking with your son in regards to T1D, it’s a hard life and he will face discouragements due to T1D. Voicing the depressing moments in his life is very important, but he needs someone that will only LISTEN. Don’t hover, give him space, but also encourage him. Micromanaging something that he has to do already with his T1D just will turn him away. My teenage years were the hardest when it came to T1D. My mother is so precious to me. Little that she knows, she has helped me get through some tough times in my life just by listening. I know you already know these things, but I think I just wanted to say the above for myself!! Not telling you what to do. You sound like a great mom!