OMG, The Card We Need!

You may remember my mention nearly a year ago of the Behavioral Diabetes Institute’s notion to create some diabetes etiquette cards that will help “others” understand what is and is not appropriate to say to us PWDs on the topic of our diabetes.

I’m happy to report that Dr. Polonsky and crew are in the process of delivering on this brilliant little idea!

Check it out:


Naturally, there was just a bit too much good advice to fit on a standard wallet-sized business card, so they made it accordion-style:


Ten VERY USEFUL tips for your friends and family members to be supportive, without annoying the hell out of you…

1) DON’T offer unsolicited advice about my eating or other aspects of diabetes.

2) DO realize and appreciate that diabetes is hard work.

3) DON’T tell me horror stories about your grandmother or other people with diabetes you have heard about.

4) DO offer to join me in making healthy lifestyle changes.

5) DON’T look so horrified when I check my blood sugars or give myself and injection.

6) DO ask how you might be helpful.

7) DON’T offer thoughtless reassurances {i.e. “it could be worse, you could have cancer!}

8) DO be supportive of my efforts for self-care.

9) DON’T peek at or comment on my blood glucose numbers without asking me first.

10) DO offer your love and encouragement.

One paragraph offering some detail on each follows on the card. As noted: Brilliant!

I’m planning to order a batch to distribute generously around here, as soon as they’re ready for distribution. The BDI tells me that won’t be till February, so please don’t bug them just yet. Maybe mark your calendar to order some as a nice little Valentine’s Day surprise for yourself and your loved ones? :)


23 Responses

  1. Albert
    Albert December 27, 2007 at 9:29 am | | Reply

    oh nice, definitely keep us posted when these come out. It’ll also be good to have CDEs give these to newly diagnosed PWDs to hand out to their loved ones.

  2. Living With Diabetes
    Living With Diabetes December 27, 2007 at 9:32 am | | Reply

    Diabetes Mine: OMG, The Card We Need!

    Nice idea BUT too much information at once. We still need individual cards, citing individual abuses. I will buy a few though. Diabetes Mine: OMG, The Card We Need! Naturally, there was just a bit too much good advice…

  3. Kelly Kunik
    Kelly Kunik December 27, 2007 at 9:40 am | | Reply

    OK -
    I need to order these cards in massive quantities! I love #3!

    Every time I go to the airport, at least on of th x-ray techs tell me about their grandmother who ‘has a touch of the sugar” and who has 3 toes!
    Not the visual I need.

  4. WC
    WC December 27, 2007 at 9:49 am | | Reply

    Is it just me, or do all the “DO” recommendations say the same basic thing, just using slightly different words?

  5. landileigh
    landileigh December 27, 2007 at 9:51 am | | Reply

    i need a ton of these, and i’ll be like Bill Engvall. everytime someone opens their mouth with misinformation, i’ll hand them one of these cards and say “here’s your card!”

  6. David
    David December 27, 2007 at 10:05 am | | Reply

    Amy, that’s brilliant! This is a perfect companion to the most popular thread in Diabetes Daily history: “The Top 5 Most Annoying Things People Say”. The card covers almost all of them. These probably make perfect stocking stuffers for next year, too. :)

  7. Mike Lawson
    Mike Lawson December 27, 2007 at 10:25 am | | Reply

    Where do I get them?!!?

  8. Sara
    Sara December 27, 2007 at 10:53 am | | Reply

    Great! Trying to figure out how to give them to co-workers without getting fired!

  9. Mike Lawson
    Mike Lawson December 27, 2007 at 11:21 am | | Reply


    Just leave them all over the office “accidentally.”

    If confronted just say, “Oh, I bought that for my mother. But if you want to read it you can.”

  10. Lili
    Lili December 27, 2007 at 1:44 pm | | Reply

    There needs to be one of those for everyone who starts talking about complications and death when they hear a child has diabetes…in front of the child.

  11. Cara
    Cara December 27, 2007 at 2:17 pm | | Reply

    Wonderful! I love the idea. And need to get some of my own! :)

  12. George
    George December 27, 2007 at 2:31 pm | | Reply

    I love it and will purchase many! Awesome!

  13. Katie
    Katie December 27, 2007 at 3:02 pm | | Reply

    I LOVE IT!!! I think I would add a few more, such as, “DO understand that you probably do not know a lot about diabetes, even though you may know someone who has it” and “DO NOT proclaim to a PWD must wear an insulin pump or take insulin injections because they ‘did not take care of themselves’ or are a ‘bad diabetic.’” Those get my blood boiling every time!!

  14. Sarah
    Sarah December 27, 2007 at 10:37 pm | | Reply

    Type 1′s should have a separate insert that explains Type 1 for idiots, and points out the usually encountered ignorance, such as:

    “You’re too young/thin to have diabetes!”

    “You got diabetes as a baby because your mom fed you too many carrots and must have put Coke in your bottle”

    “Didn’t you know that you wouldn’t have to take injections if you would follow the Atkins diet”

    “You can prevent your diabetes from progressing, you just needed to lose weight (as a Type 1, I am 100 Lbs and a dress size 5. If I lost any weight, I’d disappear)”

    PLEASE powers that be, PLEASE make a card for Type 1′s. I would pay ANYTHING for it.

    -List the cause of Type 1 (autoimmunity).

    -Explain how and why it cannot be prevented and how it is different from Type 2 diabetes.

    -Explain that it is nothing the person did wrong, and it has nothing to do with weight.

    -Explain that diets cannot replace the insulin needed for Type 1′s.

    -Explain that Type 1 is the “severe” form of diabetes, and that yes, low blood sugar is an emergency, and that yes, I really DO need to test and take insulin when I say I do. Or I can DIE.

    -Also explaint that I can (usually) match my insulin to what I eat, and this works fine. Yes, I CAN have some candy, and NO, the fruit cup is not “safe for diabetics” because it is NOT sugar/carb free. Fruit, cake, Coke, all carbs, I still have to bolus.

    -Type 1 is often diagnosed in childhood, thus it is NOT “rare” to have it “so young”.

    -Type 1′s often have other autoimmune diseases like Celiac or thyroid disorders. They are not making this up for attention. ;) Autoimmune diseases tend to cluster.

  15. Runehawk
    Runehawk December 28, 2007 at 12:04 pm | | Reply

    Diabetes Forecast (March ’06)article had a similar theme: Diabetes Etiquette. Might be a good place to start for those interested in ‘making your own’ cards! -r

  16. Nick
    Nick December 28, 2007 at 5:02 pm | | Reply

    That’s awesome, and I really like the idea of the card for type 1′s as well. That way, when someone sees you testing in a restaurant, and they say “Oh my granddaddy does that once per day too,” I can just hand them their card and continue devouring my Big Mac.

  17. Jules
    Jules December 30, 2007 at 11:03 am | | Reply

    All of the comments have a bit of truth to them but….it’s too “in your face” style for me. Too many people would be turned off by it. I prefer to educate slowly but surely and treat people with respect and kindness. This seems to go a long way for me in getting family and friends to understand the disease. I am also severly hearing impaired and refuse to wear “Look at me when you speak” buttons as I have observed that they put people on edge and people end up avoiding you. While I enjoy the diabetes cards, I would never pass them out to friends in an effort for them to “get it”. There are other “softer” strategies that work for me.

  18. Jo
    Jo December 31, 2007 at 3:18 am | | Reply

    I don’t know how many times I’ve heard about aunts and uncles dying or losing toes, or etc. Just the other day at the pharmacy a lady did just that. BUT – she said, “But isn’t it great that doctors are more aware now and it doesn’t have to happen anymore?” Took the stink out of her story. I’ll be ordering some of these too.

  19. Penny
    Penny December 31, 2007 at 6:10 am | | Reply

    This is a great idea.

    The ones I like the best are: “don’t tell horror stories” (Why do you think I want to hear about your grandmother’s amputations and horrible death from a disease my son has? Who gets a kick out of things like that?)

    “don’t peak at the meter”: often times when I check Riley in public I will shield his meter with my hand. Not because I’m ashamed of what the number might be, but because I know others won’t know that I am perfectly happy with a 148 BS, but they think it’s too high. And, really, I’m tired of explaining why it’s OK.

    “don’t look on in horror”: I can’t stand when people make faces and comment when I test Riley in public. My favorite:”I couldn’t do that to my child” My response: “Really? Because if you couldn’t your child would be dead.”

  20. Scott M
    Scott M January 2, 2008 at 10:12 pm | | Reply

    I picked up one of these cards at the TCOYD conference in San Diego recently. The Behavioral Diabetes Institute had a booth set up and handed them out gladly. It’s a great idea to build on. The more knowledge out there floating around- The Better.

  21. Trisha
    Trisha February 5, 2008 at 7:18 pm | | Reply

    Are these available yet? From where?

  22. Tracy
    Tracy February 6, 2008 at 8:51 pm | | Reply

    My pet peeve? “It’s manageable.” Try explaining to your 8 year old why he can’t spend the night at his best friends’ house because you’re too scared to let him and his best friends’ parents are completely freaked out by the whole thing.

  23. Carl
    Carl November 23, 2009 at 10:09 am | | Reply

    Its been a couple of years and i still have not seen these in the main stream.

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