Type 1 diabetics; misunderstood?
Let me start by saying that while I understand what type 2 diabetics go through a daily basis, I believe that Type 1 diabetes should need a whole different name. Why? Because of the misunderstanding between people, between professionals, and I’m a little tired (especially today) of having to explain to everyone the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 over, and over, and over again.
I went to the pharmacy today to pick up test strips. Something I do very often on a monthly basis, ever since I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I recently changed my strips from One Touch to BGStar because of my new glucose meter; the iBGStar. So I’ve only picked up a box of 100 test strips about 2 weeks ago, which makes an average of 7 tests a day. Which is realistic, quite frankly. Upon my arrival, they give me my Humalog (Insulin vials) but let me know that there are still 24 days left before I can renew my test strip order.
Um. Excuse me?
I tell the (new) pharmacist that I’m a type 1 diabetic, I need to test my blood glucose quite frequently. Before and after meals, when I wake up, when I go to bed, before and after physical activities or just when I feel plain weird. She tells me with a very serious face “You’re only supposed to test about 3 to 4 times a day.” And I look at her with a very confused face which reflected something like ~How dare you tell me how to control my disease~ and ~Since when?~ and this is when I repeat myself. “I’m a type 1 diabetic, I need (I emphasized on the needing part) to test several times a day.” Especially these days, with the weight loss and the very frequent lows. I need to recalibrate my pump’s basals, so how am I supposed to know how much insulin to deliver if I don’t know my BG every few hours?
She looks at me, a frown on her face, clearly showing that she did not understand why I need to test so often. One of the difference between type 1 diabetes and type 2.
No, I cannot control my blood sugar with what I eat. No, I cannot ~cure~ my disease. I know I don’t look sick, I am just pancreas-disabled, for life. No, if I’m low I don’t need more insulin. No, that is not an mp3 player, it’s an insulin pump. No, you would not die if you would have to inject insulin multiple times a day. Stop saying that.
So she goes ask the head pharmacist (or what I assume to be, much older gentleman who nods when she speaks to him, looks at me, nods and smiles a little as he recognizes me). She comes back saying they will call me tomorrow because they are out of BGStar strips. It’s okay, I mean I still have a few to last me until tomorrow. Besides, it’s not like they’re out of insulin or anything.
So as I was walking back home, my son in his stroller amused by his surroundings, I kept wondering why. Why is it, that even professional people, don’t know about type 1 diabetes? No, not that they don’t know, but they are clueless about it? They think because you are diabetic, you cannot eat what you want. I actually can. How many carbs? 15? Here, let me inject insulin, I’m good to go. I’m not type 2, this type of diabetes is different, on so many levels! But yet again, I’m labeled as if I was because society does not give proper education on this kind of disease.
I was a little… Not insulted, but deceived, maybe. Especially that I had to explain, again, what type 1 diabetes was, to a pharmacist.
Did you get your diploma in a Cracker Jack box, missy?