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Friday, September 6, 2013

What every diabetes educator should be like!

There are some little nuances about having diabetes (either the good kind or the bad kind of diabetes), and they are small but they build and build until we usually get depressed or go into diabetes rage on somebody.  These are small comments that people do not think are negative or harmful to us diabetics but they are and they do.  The one that is like finger nails on a chalk board at my work is when my co-workers hear the beep on my meter or CGM and they say out load: "Whoa" like something bad just happened like my BG's are low or high (they don't know the difference).  Then they also say the: "Whoa" whenever they see my numbers are below 120 or above 200 (still they couldn't tell you what any of that means they just know it should always be 150 to 180).  So the "whoa" noise I hear is my co-workers telling me I did something wrong and that it needs to be fixed.  My mother never meant to say hurtful things to me and I never realized they hurt me till high school age but she used to ask: "What are your numbers?"  Then if my numbers were high then she would say: "Now what did you do to get that way? Was it that cookie you ate or something?"  My mother was not trying to be the diabetes Nazi police but she was and it put guilt into me for wanting to eat a cookie or have some ice cream.  I became depressed about diabetes because I knew there was not another diabetic on this planet that did this eating and BG thing worser than I did.  What changed me from depressed worst diabetic on the planet to positive diabetic that loves to always make sure everyone in a square mile radius knows I have the bad kind of diabetes is when I joined a diabetes support group and the diabetes educator was a type 1 as well but she hated diet coke and told me she refuses to drink the stuff and always had regular coke and she knew how much to bolus for it and to not go crazy with the stuff.  We also went over trigger words in our little support group and that is where I learned which words upset me and which ones I want to hear.  This was probably one of the best things I have ever learned.

During our Montana trip we had a diabetes educator named Carla.  Now I was a skeptic of Carla from our phone conversations, wondering if she was a diabetic Nazi police or not, but I was open minded and wanted to see how it went before I made any judgement.  Then on the trip I got to know Carla and from minute one I loved her approach to discussing diabetes with youth and how she engaged (or at least tried to engage) everyone in their diabetes care.  The first thing she did with everyone was discuss what she required of the youth and when she wanted it.  This was awesome because diabetic Nazi police never let you know when they want a number from you but when they do they want to tear you up if it is not what they want it to be.  Carla even asked each juvenile adult diabetic if we wanted to do this with her (we all were 100% in doing whatever the youth had to do).

The amazing thing was how Carla reacted to a 350 BG or a low 65 BG, she would ask the person what they thought about a treatment, then she would either agree or let you know why she would disagree, and both sides had a chance to talk about what they thought was the best thing to do and Carla never was over bearing or determined for her angle.  Then she documented it in her three ring binder and go on to the next.  Do you know how liberating this is to a diabetic?  This is a concept that needs to be spread around the world and back, to not question why a diabetic is where they are but to just discuss with them on how to get where we want to be.  Parents, Diabetics, and everyone this is how to win the hearts and minds of diabetes.  Never worry (ok maybe discuss counting carbs or something but use it as how to work on future things, not how bad we must have been to dissapoint with an off number) what we did wrong to get somewhere but how to make the right changes in the future to get where we want to be and then to follow up with how to adjust our future to stay there.  I wish every juvenile diabetic and their families could hang out with Carla and learn these awesome ways to keep your diabetic and diabetes in the land of happiness.

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