You ate too much candy!
I remember distinctly the day I first encountered this nonsense about what causes diabetes. I was 13 in Boy Scouts and my mom was desperately ill. She was in the hospital and weaving in and out of near death. She would remain there for 9 weeks. The issue at the time was the abrupt removal of a narcotic used to ease her suffering from neuropathy. Honestly I was not for certain what was worse the narcotic, or the suffering, my dad chose the suffering, my mom was more afraid of the narcotic so when she was removed abruptly she had to be hospitalized. It was terrible.
So I went about my business and off to scouts per usual, I was almost an Eagle Scout at this time so keeping on was the most natural thing. At any rate while going for a weekend camp out the scout master asked about my mom and I said well she was in pretty bad shape. He listened to my concerns and then said these words. “I bet she wishes she had not eaten so much candy now”? Honestly I had never heard such nonsense ever before and it registered in my brain like did he know something I didn’t know?
Flash forward 4 years and when I was diagnosed, the same guy said “I told you not to eat so much candy”. I thought this over and realized he was full of it. I mean I barley ate candy. The thing is when you are a child of a type 1 in significant distress most of your life, candy is not something you have around.
Well of course as time went on, we now know having diabetes has nothing to do with candy consumption. Something we would not know for certain until several years later. After all in those days, late 60’s early 70’s we really had no idea what caused diabetes. It seemed like a random lottery that mom and then I had won in a bad way. Go figure.
Well today we know so much more about diabetes and while we still do not completely understand the disease process we do know that diabetes has nothing to do with candy consumption. (see my gut reaction to be so angry with that man was correct). So today I do not expect to encounter the ‘you ate too much candy’ jab. Yet there it was. Twice in one week.
The first happened in a movie I saw over the weekend when one character admits to the other that his family has “lots of diabetes”. The other charter said what your family must eat lots of candy. Ok well it is a movie and not aimed at me and yelling at the screen really would not do much good so I considered it in context held my tongue and went on. Actually it was a pretty good movie and this throwaway line could have destroyed it for me but well in the context of the character it might of have been ok. When I reviewed the movie I said there is an offensive remark but I hope movie goers would consider it in the context of the character, a foul mouthed comedian who makes fun of everything. Hey in context maybe it was ok. Anyway it did bother me but who to complain too? No one I could think of so I sort of dismissed it. Well I admit I dismissed the comment but it still brought up that offense about my mom 44 years ago.
So fast forward three days and there on Facebook was a comment by a guy who I really like. He posted one of his dumb little things for a laugh. Well this one hit me. It was in the context of a math problem where the child is given this question “Bob has 39 candy bars he eats 29 how many does he have left”. The fake answer is supplied by the kid is “He has diabetes”. Wow twice in one week. This time I was angry this guy knows I am diabetic and he is educated so he should know better. You know after 44 years I am dam tired of being accused of eating too many candy bars.
So what did I do? Well I fired off a note that said listen dude that is offensive. My Diabetes is an autoimmune issue and while it may be funny to you, it isn’t to me or my family. Diabetes is not caused by eating candy bars and in 2014 you should know better. I received silence. So that is ok I mean he is a buddy and we will remain buddies albeit at a long distance. By the way he is one heck of a cool guy and he did much for my sons as they grew up. He helped them grow into men and in other areas where I had no expertise. I am forever grateful to him for that assistance and my sons admire and respect him which means a lot to me. None of those good feelings will change over a stupid remark made out of ignorance. But darn when am I going to get over this?
It has been 44 years and the comment my buddy made threw me back to being 13 and the upset I had over the first time I heard this nonsense. My anger, upset and pain was far more about the Scoutmaster and less about a movie or my buddy. I understand that this anger is misplaced. I am still angry over the offense perpetrated when I was 13, not the anger I feel today.
So the question for me today is how to educate? I suppose we just have to keep doing what we do and go on. We have to correct when we can, stick up for both type 1’s and 2’s neither are caused by candy and keep moving forward. But wow don’t you just want to hit some folks? I mean violence never solved anything? Well yeah but in this case I might feel better. No you would not feel better you say hitting is violent. But then again you know I might.
Announcement, the party of angry diabetics forms at the front lobby at 4 PM Eastern.