Friday, April 29, 2011

Avoid Clichés Like the Plague

Prompt: What health cliché do you tire of hearing? Can you turn it around and make it something you don't mind hearing?

I didn't have to think twice about this one.

I tell someone I have Type 1 diabetes. The next comments I hear are "Oh, my ___ had that" (when they probably mean Type 2), then "do you have to take shots?" (that's like asking an amputee if they had to lose a limb), followed concernedly with:

"Are you in good control?"

I frequently hear that last one and never know quite how I want to answer.

I want to launch into my diatribe about how normal glycemic control is nearly impossible for a type 1. I want to explain that from meal to meal, from day to day, the volatility of the condition is such that the asker can't begin to understand what they are asking. I've blogged about this before here.

It's one of those things people ask and don't even know why they are supposed to ask it.

Do they want to know if I'm like one of those people in a movie whose legs or feet are rotting off from gangrene?

Or maybe they just want to know how one controls Type 1 diabetes - what's involved and such.

Maybe they just mean Are you healthy? Do you feel well?

Maybe it's just curiosity. Maybe they want to hear something dramatic or something inspiring.

But let me just ask you, dear reader...are you in good control?

Your life? Your career? Your work day? This morning? In traffic?

When your kids are yelling at one another? When your mother calls? When you balance your checkbook? When you choose to eat that donut?

Your spring cleaning? Your to-do list? Your long term goals?

Are you in good control?


To turn this one around and make it something I can appreciate being asked, I have to think about the genuine meaning of control and answer thusly:
Yes, thank you. I am in control, especially since I have to be my own pancreas. I choose what to eat, how much, and when. I choose which doctors I see, how often I report back to them, how often I test my blood sugar. I educate myself on the latest technologies available for managing my condition. I do everything in my power to live an empowered, healthy life...and no, my blood sugars are not in the desired, optimum range much of the time. What else would you like to know?
Maybe that will satisfy their curiosity.

That and a peek at my gangrenous appendages.

1 comment:

  1. Amen sister!! I never know how to answer that horrible question. Should I tell the person my most recent finger-stick reading (which they likely wouldn't understand)? My most recent a1c (which they almost certainly wouldn't understand)? Or maybe I should just make them feel really uncomfortable and say "nope, I'm not in control. How would you recommend I keep my sugars comfortably in that 70-90 range?" People just don't think before they speak.