Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Diabetes on Demand (Disclosure)

"Who here has diabetes?"

Those were not words that I EVER imagined coming from any instructor's lips, let alone the department (semi) head. But flow they did, in response to another student's inquiry on a diabetes-related topic.

"Oh, I do, I do, I do!I got it when I was 16.5, which isn't as sucky as some ages to be diagnosed because you can take full responsibility for your disease,and can wield a needle like a pro, but still,the only good age to get diabetes is age 86(or whenever you're in your final illness) when you don't really care that much because you're nearly dead..."

(Wait a second. What am I about to DO? I'm about to tell a group of people (of which, 50% will probably turn out to be food Nazi's and hound me relentlessly for the next 1.5 years (till graduation) about how I should manage "my" diabetes. They don't need to know. This is a teachable moment,but it is not "my" teachable moment. There are 30+ people in this room & my not saying anything,will not forever influence/ruin their careers.) And so my hand(burning with the urge to go UP) stayed down.

"Some of my student's in past semesters have diabetes,and have better perspectives on that (various diagnosis ages) then I do."

I thought about that, and while it's certainly up to the individual in question whether they want to share that I don't think it's something an instructor should be asking the class. That's an extremely personal question. I have diabetes,and at this point only the disability office knows it because they're the only ones who need to know. It still feels a tad weird though (the amount of candy that flows through this class is like being in kindergarten)like you should say something (about why you're not chowing it down like the best of 'em). Nothing against the candy in question, it's usually my blood sugars that I don't want to chase for the next 6 hours. Regarding different diagnosis ages,things are very different when you're dx'd at 6,16,26, or 60. But at every age, the patient can be involved in SOME way. (6 year olds are very smart & can get concepts before adults do) Being dx'd at 17, my childhood was D-free and candy was candy.(not something to be fought over, or something that would kill me.) I didn't have major food issues because I was diagnosed in the age of carb counting(and we always ate pretty healthy, so no changes there either)Getting diabetes is so much more then "anxiety over insulin injections" such as the examples in class are portrayed. It's more like anxiety over hypo/hyperglycemia/blindness/stroke/heartattack/kidneyfailure/amputations/neuropathy/foodbattles/dating/marriage/childbirth/job/healthinsurance/bloodsugarswings/earlydeath etc.etc.etc. I guess they choose that (as something that the nurse can actually "do" something about.)You can't dive forehead deep into something, you've got to take it by degrees.

On the plus side,I've survived three tests,a math test,a presentation,and a paper (with mostly A's) so I'm not just surviving,I'm doing pretty darn good. Switching to disability accommodations in the testing center was a really good idea.(less stress,lower bgs,and the slightly extra time have really improved my test scores)I should have done this a long time ago.


Michael Hoskins said...

Good post, Heidi. You're right: I don't think that's an appropriate question that a professor or teacher should be asking a classroom. Sure, some may want to share it and not have an issue talking about it. But it's NOT cool to some, and that's over the line. Even for those who don't often care about sharing their D-Life adventures, it's different when you are put on the spot like that. So no worries! And it's an interesting point about the various diagnosis ages. Being dx'd at age five for me is different than what others experience, especially later so you have to "retrain" your brain. Anyhow, thought provoking stuff. Thanks for sharing!

meanderings said...

Is the instructor going to ask the same question for every disease you study?
I'm with you. It's nobody's business unless you want it to be.

Diabetes Supply Beast said...

Excellent post! It is really amazing to see some one coping and succeeding. Darn Diabetes doesn't have to own you, just has to make it a bit tougher right!