Living with diabetes blog

Pet peeves for those with diabetes

By Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N. and Peggy Moreland, R.N., C.D.E. December 2, 2011

Having family with diabetes has made me more aware of some of the "pet peeves" they have. Here are a few that my family members have shared with me as well as some that I've gathered elsewhere.

  • Ignorance — Those with the least knowledge about diabetes seem more likely to shout, "Are you supposed to eat that?" or "I thought diabetics weren't supposed to eat sugar?" or "How about a piece of fruit instead of that nice luscious chocolate cake?" Explanations seem to fall on deaf ears.
  • Unsolicited advice on how to manage diabetes by people who think they know what you should do. They also feel the need to argue with your explanation.
  • Doctor telling you that "sugar is poison."
  • "Shooting up" jokes.
  • "Horror stories."
  • Over-worry from a lot of people — mostly concerned loved ones.
  • Discrimination.
  • Lack of consideration from others at work and at home.
  • Whenever a person with diabetes does something that people do not agree with, they ask if your blood sugar is low.
  • Spouses who leave because they can't handle your having diabetes.
  • Having diabetes makes you feel that you're not good enough anymore.
  • Spending money on diabetes supplies when there are a million things that you would rather spend your money on.
  • Having a low blood sugar and feeling awful, being late for work or getting fired because of it.
  • Needing a job that provides insurance.
  • Hearing people say, upon being told someone has diabetes and is on an insulin pump, "Oh, she has the bad kind then?" Like there's a good kind.
  • Comments like: "Hey, that's what my mother just died of. It's a slow death. You'll be lucky to make it 20 years!"

I'm sure that you can think of many more pet peeves and hope you'll share them.

So, how do we deal with them?

  • Educate your family and friends. Let them know what kind of support you need, whether you need help planning meals and keeping track of your blood glucose or if you just want a little encouragement and understanding. My son taught his college roommate to administer a glucagon injection should he have a severe insulin reaction.
  • Find a support group led by professionals.
  • Connect with others on a reliable online message board monitored by a diabetes professional.
  • If you have suffered discrimination, the American Diabetes Association offers educational and legal resources on the ADA website that can help you protect your right to fair and equal treatment.

Please feel free to share your experiences.

- Peggy

Dec. 02, 2011