“So how often do you have to take shots?”
“Does it hurt when you prick your finger?”
“Do you get annoyed when people ask you all sorts of diabetes questions?”
Just about every time I eat, no, and definitely not. Sometimes, I find myself getting bombarded with diabetes questions. Unlike my answers above, not every question leads to a succinct response.
For instance, I was on break with some co-workers earlier this week when they started asking me about sweets. We like to spoil each other every once in a blue moon by bringing treats into work to help us get through the tough days. So when my boss brought in some homemade blueberry muffins a few days ago, I caved and indulged in one. This led to someone saying, “I thought diabetics couldn’t have anything sweet?”
This misconception has always bothered me. I started off by explaining how it’s kind of a myth. I said that I don’t like to deprive myself, so I will have desserts on occasion. However, I have to be diligent in how much insulin I take so that my blood sugar won’t spike dramatically later. This simple round of Q&A led to a string of other questions, during which I was quizzed about the foods that I do and do not have often, and how I calculate my insulin dosages. My thirty five minute break turned into an exhausting affair in which I struggled to answer all the questions in a manner that didn’t confuse or bore my co-workers. Furthermore, I was hindered by my usage of diabetic jargon that had to be defined to those who weren’t familiar with terms like bolus or Humalog. It certainly isn’t the kind of discussion to be had with someone who’s in a rush or doesn’t show any interest in what I’m saying.
But when it’s all said and done, I would take long-winded conversations over silence any day when it comes to my diabetes. While it doesn’t define who I am, it is a part of me and I think it’s important that anyone who is in my life should have a basic understanding of what it means. As long as someone is willing to listen and learn from me, then I am happy to learn from them and answer the questions they may have. That’s why I’d encourage diabetics to talk with others about what we have to deal with on a daily basis. It results in you and your friend becoming more comfortable with your diabetes and how you manage it. And when the time comes, they can even help you explain what it is to newcomers that you both may encounter. I know that my close friends who have known me for years (Kortney, Roshani, Chelsea, and others) have really helped me out in situations where I couldn’t find the right words to answer a question very well. And from the start of our relationship, I’ve been open about my diabetes and my treatment of it with my boyfriend Patrick. As a result, he is relaxed when I take care of myself and even reminds me to do extra blood sugars checks from time to time.
And on this note, I find those endless lists of questions to be extremely helpful rather than tedious. In the long run, a few extra minutes of conversation has turned out to benefit me and those around me. Next time you find yourself engaged in a diabetic interview, consider being an active participant and maybe you’ll discover how rewarding it can be.