Feeling Less Than Human

A lot of people bring up the many physical complications of diabetes. Not many talk about the mental issues. They range from people treating you different after finding out you are diabetic to forcing you into a predetermined box they think you fit in.

A lot of people still think diabetics can’t have sugar. I hear all the time “Oh you’re a diabetic. You can’t have sugar.” Let’s clear up that fact right now folks. Everyone needs sugar. Your body and mine will not work long without it. The human body uses sugar to power your mind. your heart, and any other of your muscles. We just need to control how much we take in. Most modern diabetics use what is called a sliding scale to be able to change on the fly how much we eat and still not go high with blood sugar. All that comment does is make me feel less human.

Next on the list is being treated differently by people who now know you are diabetic. This is really hard to take when at work. The first time you have a low sugar at work and they call the ambulance things change. It has happened to me at pretty much every job I’ve ever had. At some point there is a change that throws the “normal” balance of things out of whack and I end up with a  low blood sugar. I don’t change. My mind is still the same one I had before the incident. I still have the same personality, the memory, and feelings that I had before the low sugar. In other words I am still me. All this change does is make me feel less human.

More than one time I have been treated with kid gloves when it is found out I am diabetic. This actually upsets me the most. Maybe it is the fact I know people see me as weak, but I tend to over compensate. I used to work out hard in the gym until it got to be too expensive. I was pretty strong back then being able to bench 300 lbs. at one point. I have a very high pain tolerance as well. You kind of have to as a diabetic. you are constantly being attacked by people giving shots, including yourself, and taking blood for tests of all kinds. Hyper extended knee, dislocated shoulder, being bitten by several animals including humans (more than one actually) and several surgeries and lacerations give proof that I can take at least as much as anyone else can. More than some I’ve seen. Kid gloves are not needed for me. All this does is make me feel less human.

The last one is one that has irritated me the most. The fact that we as diabetics are legally prevented from being able to do things others are allowed to do because of our disease. CDL licenses  while not prevented mean a much more intensive medical procedure than a normal person to a diabetic. Why are only diabetics required to get quarterly medical certification while “normal” drivers are only required to get yearly checks? Wouldn’t it be better to have everyone checked quarterly so you won’t have people slipping through the cracks staying on the road when heart or mental issues come calling? Just saying. Diabetics are being discriminated against in this fashion. All this does is make me feel less human.

It is a lot for a diabetic to count the cabs on their plate. Have you ever tried to figure the carbs for a McDonald’s meal? It is a lot higher than you might think. I don’t care. As long as I can know and figure the right dose of insulin I will eat it. I think it is one of the best meals I can get. Did I mention the McRib is back? Oh yeah baby!!! I had at one time 6 carb ratios to keep track of, two for each meal. One for days I worked out and another for days I did not. People I’ve explained this to have been “Wow how could keep all that straight? I could never do that.” Maybe but I’ve been doing this for better than 38 years now so I have practice. Being able to change what I eat, when I eat and especially how much I eat makes me feel more human.

That fact is that being a diabetic doesn’t make you weak or fragile. I feel that it has made me far stronger than I would have been otherwise. It is other peoples false facts and incorrect assumptions that make life more stressful for us diabetics. My feeling is that there is nothing I can not do. I have a body piercing. Diabetics are not supposed to get them. I had to figure out how to do it myself as no serious piercer will perform it on a diabetic. It almost killed me before I learned the tricks to make it safe. It has been, wow, 10 – 12 years now since I did it and it is still there and it is fine. The doctor still asks me about it and can not believe that I pulled this off once let alone twice. Point is that diabetics are only limited by their minds not their bodies in what they can do.

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