The worst kind of Diabetes?
Yesterday at the doctor’s office while I was waiting, a couple was engaged in what I thought to be a very odd discussion. The gentleman a man in his 70’s had recently been diagnosed with diabetes. The couple was discussing his diet, and debating one thing or another, including what to purchase at the grocery store. It was a discussion most couples have after diagnosis I am guessing and frankly it soundly like my wife and I discussing a new diet I have recently started.
In the midst of the discussion, the wife asked what kind of diabetes do you have? The man reported the doctor had told him a type 1 or 2 he did not remember. The wife said he needed to call the doctor when they left and find out because it made a big difference. “You know she said you do not want that killer diabetes”. He said no he did not think he had the “killer” kind because the doctor said “lose some weight and I will be cured”. It was an odd conversation and my personal diabetic radar started to kick in when the wife said “can you go around the grandkids, I do not want them catching it”?
Now I knew in my time in the waiting room I could have talked to the couple for a few years and never reach the heart of this matter. So I abstained and frankly it was well I did because no more had she uttered those words, then my name was called and I left. Just to be extra careful she did not catch that “killer diabetes” I walked around. Now it is true I missed a chance to educate and normally I push http://www.tudiabetes.org as a good place for information but in that time and place I abstained.
It is amazing how the ladies statement about catching the “killer” diabetes made me freeze. I suddenly felt unlike I have in years. You know mentally, I know of course this notion of catching diabetes is rubbish, let alone saying that type 1 is a killer disease. I suppose for a second I was stuck in an awful mindset that I had not felt in literally 35 years.
What I wanted to say is that diabetes is the “killer’ disease. It is not that type 1 or type 2 matters. We all come to the same place, namely management and if we do not manage well we have issues, how we get there matters little. One kind is not better than the other it is all management. I wish I had said those things, but I didn’t. It really bothered me the rest of the day.
Fast forward to this morning when I was listening to a crazy radio program, this one on tape delay. The host was speaking to a “health expert” and the subject of diabetes came up. I honestly forget what they were discussing, but the host said what the difference between type 1 and type 2 is? The expert said well Type 1 is the one with more complications, more problems, the one you don’t want to have. It was like a repeat of the discussion in the office.
Ok the fellow on the radio did not say Type 1 was a communicable disease but other than that it was pretty much a replay of the earlier of the discussion. So in the course of less than 12 hours I was hearing almost a repeat of the same conversation. Be it chance or coincidence I was confronted about the same feelings.
So to top it off the third or fourth caller on the program wanted reassurance from the expert about his daughter. It seems while living with her mother the girl was diagnosed as type 1. He reported she was now living with him and he stopped her form taking insulin. Saying he did not want her to be type 1. He was controlling her diabetes with diet. What diet the “expert” asked? None in particular just lots of good food, was the response. The “expert” reported that it sounded like he was doing a good job and to be sure to check her blood sugar and see a doctor. Both things seemed lost on the caller and he hung up a happy man. The caller was reassured he was doing the right thing. This time of course I had an excuse for not correcting the information the program was on tape delay and if I had called I would have gotten the perpetual busy signal.
All of this again reminds me of the awful burden we have to educate the public, even so called “experts”. I did not fulfill my part of the contract in the doctor’s office. I am not beating myself up about it but still I feel a little bad about it. I missed a chance and could have done better. It just gives me resolve to do more next time. I hope if a similar situation presents itself, we will all take the opportunity to tell people, there is no good or bad diabetes. Diabetes is not a communicable disease and while we might get to the disease from different paths, we all have the same concerns.
Perhaps someday this type of discussion will not occur. Perhaps someday even “experts” will not believe there is a “better” diabetes. I know a few months ago we had some folks who wanted to rename type 1 diabetes, to distinguish it from type 2. Nothing could have been more wrong. We do not need to distinguish them, we need to blend them if anything. Ultimately after all, the worst kind of diabetes, is the one you or your loved one has.