Sometimes it’s the incessant sense of failure with diabetes that gets me down. It’s not so much about strangers making stupid comments, or even me beating myself up for not doing a perfect job of managing my BG levels every day… it’s more about the subtle accusations of people closer to me, those who I feel ought to know better than to even hint at passing judgment.
For example, my husband (normally my best supporter and anchor in life), caught me testing post-dinner the other day. He squinted at the upside-down number on my meter, 154, and immediately said: “Whoa, that’s pretty high, isn’t it?”
Now I’m sure he didn’t mean to criticize me. But I still wanted to scream: Do you have any idea how proud I should be right now? I was LOW before dinner, then had to wild-ass-guess that crazy Chinese dish we ate. Actually, I did pretty damn well. And no, 150 is NOT that high…
Instead I mumbled off a quick explanation and left the kitchen, privately fuming. I KNOW he didn’t mean it that way, but why do I feel so judged?
Just a day or two later, I called my endo’s office to get my latest A1C result. The office manager — who’s been there for years and knows me, and should know a lot about diabetes patients by now — adopted a very stern voice as she stated my result: “It’s 6.7.”
“It went UP this time,” she added, with an unmistakable inflection in her voice.
“Yes, I know,” I said through my teeth. “But not as much as I thought it would!” (I added a little cackle here, which I now realize may have sounded rather manic.)
Did she think I didn’t know that 6.7 is higher than 6.4? Doubtful. Clearly there was some form of spotlight aiming at my ‘sloppy work’ here.
After I hung up, again I had the urge to shout: Just give me the number! That’s your job. Not piling on the guilt!
Finally, as we sat around dinner with family friends recently, the conversation turned to an acquaintance who has Type 1 diabetes. He’s the successful CEO of a tech company in his mid-40′s. One of our friends explained how this man started slumping in his seat at another recent dinner party. Apparently his wife had to rouse him to test, and he clocked in at 40 mg/dL.
There were gasps around our table. What did he DO to get so low?? How could he let his diabetes get so out of hand? they all wanted to know. Such an educated man: how could he BE so irresponsible?
I cringed. And then tried to calm my voice as I explained:
“It’s easy to get it wrong, to make mistakes! It’s HARD to get it right all the time! Diabetes is far from an exact science and now matter how diligent you are, mistakes are inevitable.”
Blank stares. Then they changed the subject.
I’m just sure they were all secretly thinking: Well, if it were me, I would never let it slip like that.
Maybe I’m being oversensitive (it’s been known to happen). But things like this just make me feel like when you have diabetes, the harsh eye of judgment is always upon you. People just can’t seem to help themselves.
A penny for your thoughts, my PWD friends…