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Dr. Bill Polonsky, PhD, CDE, knows diabetes. Among other things, he has served as Chairman of the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators, as a Senior Psychologist at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, and as an Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is the founder and president of the Behavioral Diabetes Institute (BDI) in San Diego, California, and a member of Diabetes Health's Advisory Board.
A few years ago, Dr. Polonsky addressed the frustration experienced by people with diabetes when it comes to other people's reactions to their health. He developed a very popular Diabetes Etiquette Card that helps express those feelings. It's not necessarily meant to be handed to another person, however. Instead, it is more an acknowledgment that we have all felt this way at one time or another and that it's all okay. Dr. Polonsky says that it might be time for you to try talking to the family members who "only open their mouth to change feet" when it comes to your diabetes. They usually mean well, but they probably just don't understand how it is for you and how they can help you. You can let them know what's it's like for you gently and with empathy.
Here are Dr. Polonsky's 10 etiquette tips for people without diabetes, written from the perspective of someone with diabetes:
The Diabetes Etiquette Card is free. Here's three ways that you can get a copy of the card:
1. Download a PDF copy from the Diabetes Behavioral Institute's website.
2. Get a hard copy of the accordion-style card at no cost by contacting your local Accu-Chek representative. Roche Diabetes Care has licensed and printed the card and distributes them to healthcare professionals and to people with diabetes and their loved ones.
3. Order it directly from BDI. To cover costs, they charge $1.00 per card plus shipping, and they only sell and ship orders of 50 cards or more. You can call them at 858-336-8693 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read Rachel Garlinghouse's recent article, "Dear Medical Professional" on how frustrating it can be for a person with diabetes to deal with their doctor.
Please post your comment below (be civil, now!) on other things you wish other people would understand about you and your diabetes.
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Source: Behavioral Diabetes Institute
18 comments - Dec 7, 2009
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.