We’re Not Bad, We’re Human

Meagan Esler

| Apr 3, 2013

I've had type 1 diabetes for 18 years and whenever I hear bad news about someone with diabetes it hits me hard.

The other day at work, things were going well when a woman doing some temporary work at my shop came to me seconds after beginning her shift asking if she could please make a phone call.  I said it was fine and pointed to a phone she could use as long as it was a quick call.  

She was noticeably distraught as she began rambling about her younger brother who was having serious diabetes complications and was hospitalized that morning. Her brother was about my age so it really hit home. She continued to tell me about his "out-of-control diabetes" while myself and a volunteer who knows about my diabetes, stood jaws open, exchanging glances and listening in horror. It was noticeably uncomfortable for both of us to say the least.

I wish I could say she stopped, but she didn't. I know it was out of concern, but she began ranting about all his failures with diabetes. As quickly as I could compose myself I interrupted and told her about my own diabetes. I told her controlling diabetes was like rocket science and that I felt sad for anyone that was forced to live with such a difficult illness. Control sure is a funny word when it comes to diabetes.

I found out she herself has type 2 diabetes. She admitted to also having troubles with her own control, finding it especially hard during the summer months since her family has wonderful barbecues and parties filled with tempting foods. She said she was no longer on insulin.  Unfortunately she seemed somewhat misinformed about insulin use. I explained that insulin didn't mean someone failed. 

She mentioned her brother drove a truck for a living, something he would no longer be able to do with his level of complications. We ended our conversation with her wishing out loud she could be at the hospital, which was many miles away, with her baby brother, and both of us near tears.

I spoke to my husband on the phone that day at lunch. I had to tell him, through the tears that I'd choked back earlier, that I was trying. I had to tell him that even though he might not always see it, all the highs and lows really do bother me because I want desperately to be in good control of my diabetes. I don't want to go down with people talking trash about my carelessness. I am trying. I've been trying, for a long time. I still have a terrible time controlling it on some days, but I always try. He sympathetically agreed and comforted me as he always does.

I walked into the kitchen later that day to see the woman stuffing some chips into her mouth. "I'm being bad," she said. I shook my head and said, "You'll get no judgment from me. Diabetes is ridiculously hard."   

We do our best. Don't blame the person, blame the diabetes. We have to live through diabetes while doing the best we can. We're not bad because we do something less responsible, less cautious, less perfect once in a while. We're not bad, we're human.


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Categories: Diabetes, Diabetes Health, Diabetic, Insulin, Lunch, Type 1 Issues, Type 2 Issues

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Posted by Anonymous on 5 April 2013

Once more Meagan's thoughtful article hits home. My brother, who passed away 10 years ago at the age of 66, had diabetis since he was 18, just like Meagan. Retrospectively i can hear the admonestations of the whole family, who loved him and was extremely caring, but finding fault with so many aspects of his treatment. It seemed that every hypo, or bad A1c, was due to his lack of proper management of his diabetis. I wish i had been made aware of Meagan's judicious remarks, I wish i had stopped people around me when they were blaming him. I also wish that Meagan made a collection of all her articles and made them available to all who have a diabetic person in their surroundings. It takes ages to understand and become famiiar with this dreadful plague, and a collection of good advice would help the newly diagnosed and their family.
simone ruther

Posted by Anonymous on 5 April 2013

I totally agree with the writer. I have diabetes for the last 15 years. I too get fed up with all controls and often indulge in eating forbidden foods for diabetics.
I being above 60 years of age, it is alright for me too.
After all, we are mortals.

Posted by Anonymous on 8 April 2013

I've been diagnose with Type 2 diabetes for 30 years now. My mother and my younger brother both died from complications of diabetes (type 2) os I know the devastating effects of diabetes (loss of limbs, hospitalizations, heart disease, high blood pressure which causes kidney failure, etc.) I say when you know you're being 'bad' you should stop and reward yourself for being able to stop & be good to yourself..whatever that means to you. It's all about managing yourself: self-management is the key. When times get tough, and we all have tough times, realize it and get back to managing yourself. No one is 'bad' ...as you say "we are human" and has humans we can chose for ourselves. I would suggest to chose to be healthy with lower A1Cs. Not perfect A1Cs, but lower and keep at it, work at it to have lower A1Cs. You'll realize how much better you feel with lower A1Cs. (P.S. My A1C numbers are disappointing to me right now, but I don't go off and eat a bag of potato chips...maybe baked potato chips but not the full fledged greasy chips that I think are the most tasty.) Get with it and make a better choice...keep at lower your A1Cs for a longer life with your husband and family.

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