We’ve all heard them at one time or another — those insensitive comments that just make you cringe. But what do you say back? We might wish we could share the snarky comeback on the tip of our tongues, but that isn’t always a good idea, especially if this is someone you’ll have to see again (a family member, friend, etc.). A few weeks ago, D-mom blogger Joanne was inspired by a “D-wit” post from Kelly Kunik to create a hilarious video filled with all those things you wish you could say. Today, Joanne shares in writing what she really does when faced with those “say what?” moments:
A Guest Post by Joanne of Death of a Pancreas
Anybody who is closely connected with type 1 diabetes will tell you that the general public is grossly misinformed about the disease, and this misinformation can lead people to say some pretty stupid and hurtful things to those of us who have to deal with diabetes on a daily basis.
Most of them were summed up quite nicely in the video “What NOT to say to the Parent of a Type 1 Diabetic.” And yes, I have heard each and every one of those at some point in the two and a half years since my daughter was diagnosed at 12 months of age.
Just recently I met a woman whose comment trumped all the lines in the video. I told her Elise had diabetes and she immediately dove into a lengthy explanation of how she totally understood everything we go through… because her cat had diabetes.
Apparently her feline companion having diabetes is the same as your own flesh and blood (who you carried for 9+ months inside of you, who you would gladly sacrifice YOUR own LIFE for) having diabetes. Lady, I like cats and all, but…. Oh. My. Dear. Lord.
I am a big fan of the old adage, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything.” The problem when it comes to people commenting on Elise’s diabetes is they don’t really know that what they’re saying is hurtful.
Most people don’t know anything about type 1 diabetes. That’s why, even though the urge to become the Queen of Snark is quite strong, I like to use these occasions to educate people. Watch carefully, though. It’s easy to recognize those who really want to learn, and those who just really want to tell you about their grandma who is blind, or about their cat on dialysis.
For the ones who really do want to know, I try to honestly share what it’s like without making them sorry they asked. It’s a fine line we walk, and I hit on the big points: how type 1 is an auto-immune disease that she will have for the rest of her life (or until a cure is found), and there was nothing we could have done to prevent it. How insulin is not a cure, but merely a form of life support. I tell them that she can eat anything, she just has to have enough insulin to cover the carbs, but there are some foods that are trickier than others.
Because what it all boils down to, is that I want people to understand my daughter’s disease. They will never “get it,” nor can I really expect them to. But I want them to see how all-encompassing, and life-changing type 1 is, and why it is so important that we find a cure.
So while the urge to respond sarcastically is very strong, I never want to ruin any chance of opening up someone’s eyes to type 1 diabetes. Because another saying I’m rather fond of is, “You can catch more flies with honey than with poison. Or with cookies… made with poison.”
Although I may have just made that last one up.
Anyway, if you haven’t seen the video yet… you totally should. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry. You’ll watch it again. If you only see one video this year, make it this one. No wait… I’ve been watching too many Hollywood movie trailers again.
Two thumbs up, Joanne.