After reading some posts in the past and recently as well as dealing with my own experiences, I've always thought that Type 1 diabetes is the Rodney Dangerfield of childhood diseases, ailments, and other such health issues. It doesn't get the respect I feel it deserves from people we know. Now, there are some friends and many in my family who understand the dire consequences that Brendon lives with 24/7, thankfully. But, for the most part, Brendon's condition really doesn't get much respect at all.
No one really understands it, they see a healthy child running around doing everything any other child does, so how bad can it be?
They typically don't see the world we live in unless they catch me testing Brendon, or pulling out his pump to do a quick dose or cut back his basal to prevent a low. While seeing that, people don't understand what is being done, why it's being done, and what happens if I don't do it.
I take time to explain the whats and whys, especially when I'm ASKED ABOUT IT!! But the words of explaination fade from my vocal chords and I turn around to explain it to the wall, or stoop down to tell it to the grass and dandelion weeds because they don't get that glassy look in their eyes when I give the Kindergarten version of what Type 1 diabetes is. They stay to listen. They don't walk away either, as I've had happen time and time again.
Playgroups were notorious for disrespect:
"Oh, can Brendon have that cupcake? I know I should've asked before I gave it to him, but I couldn't resist holding it back while the other kids ate." Oh, it's OK, he'll just have kidney and organ failure due to the excessively high blood sugars if a situation like that is constantly repeated. Thanks for asking though!!
Or I'll ask: "Uh, do you have the packaging for the juice pouches the kids are drinking? I need to know the carb count so that I know how much insulin to dose Brendon for."
"Oh yes! I'm sorry, but the box is out in the trash can in the garage under the piles of dirty diapers. Sorry! I didn't realize." (said by someone who I asked time and time again at each playgroup and who never seemed to serve the same kind of juice twice.) And so I'd resort to the humiliating task of rooting through the diapers to get to the packaging and make note that "Michaela" ate A LOT of raisins that day.
I sat back and let the moms talk about "Suzie's" diaper rash everytime she ate grapes. And tried not to get the glassy eyed look when I had a mom talk to me for hours about how "Nancy" has to go to Children's Hospital too!! Why? So she can see a specialist about two eyelashes in her right eye that instead of growning outward, grow inward and have the fascinating abililty to grow INTO HER EYEBALL! Can she go blind if not treated? No. Well, so much for drama.
I nearly throttled a mom when she gave Brendon an apple to eat after getting fed up with an "argument" he and I were having about when he could eat it. I was explaining to him that he had to wait until we got home as he was still on Humalog and NPH and you know how it goes with the timing of meals. This mother took the apple out of my hand and said, "Oh, just let him eat the apple!!!" and proceeded to give it to him. I shot her some evil eyed laser beams that burned her ugly contorted face off. I turned on my heels and walked out with all three kids in tow. I was so angry I wasn't sure what I'd do if I received a glassy eyed stare if I told her why I was witholding the apple.
I got fed up one day when a mom named "Liz" was telling us all a story about how "Johnny" was allergic to yet another fruit and gets a rash around his mouth when he eats bananas. All of the "oohs", aahs", "tsks", and holding of "Liz's" hands and concerned pats on her back was almost too much for me to take. At this particular group, we had a potluck lunch. Each and every mom brought in the ingredient list and phone numbers for the manufacturers so that "Liz" could have every bit of info at her finger tips to see which potluck item had offending ingredients in it.
I had been going to this group weekly for a year and they KNEW I counted carbs. Did they include the nutrition charts? No.
So after hearing about the said banana rash around the mouth story, I piped up about Brendon's trip to the ER where he was first diagnosed.
I made sure that not a glassy eye was to be had by these mothers.
I immediately started with "If we hadn't brought Brendon to the ER when we did, he could've DIED either that night, or at the very best, he would've only held on 'til the next day."
You couldn't hear a pin drop. I hooked them. They were listening! They continued to listen about the trip to the ER, what happened in the ER, and the subsequent 7 day hospital stay. Not only that, but they listened, they really listened, to the whats, hows, and whys of what went into Brendon's care each and every day.
If I had to resort to appealing to their morbid curiosity to get Type 1 the respect it deserves, then dagnabit, that's what I did!
I needed to one up these mothers and I accomplished my task.
I FINALLY set up Type 1 diabetes to get the respect it deserved. Yes, I stooped low by making Brendon the center of a death trap story, but at least I didn't get that glassy eyed stare from anyone. And that's really all I could hope for.