Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Blame Game - Diabetes Blog Week 2017

Blame is such a heavy word, and there is plenty to go around in the diabetes community.
Doctor blame patients for not being in "control." I have not experienced this with my doctor; he is great! But I read almost daily of someone whose doctor or cde has shamed them in some way for their management (or lack thereof, in the healthcare providers mind). Might this be why people give up? Maybe some grace and gentle guidance would be more effective than blame and shame?
Patients blame themselves for "mistakes."  We all make them. How could we not? Our pancreases don't make insulin, so every bite of food we eat must be calculated and matched with insulin. Food labels can be off as much as 20%. Glucose meters can be off as much as 20%. Activity, stress levels, illness, and many other things can affect glucose levels and insulin absorption. We make mistakes. We have to treat ourselves with kindness and grace, and move on.
Parents blame themselves when their child with diabetes has high or low numbers.  Imagine having a young child, perhaps young enough that they don't speak yet. Now imagine that you have to guess how much food that child will eat at EVERY meal and snack. If they don't eat it all, their blood sugar goes low. If they eat more, they need more insulin. It's a constant balancing act. Mistakes happen. Parents need to be kind to themselves as well. 
Parents also tend to blame themselves for passing on the genes that cause the disease. I know my mom even mentioned that when I was diagnosed with type 1 at age 45. I stopped her in her tracks....blame does no good.
Society blames us for our disease. This is a big one. Whether the patient has type 1 or 2, or any other variant, we are NOT to blame for our disease. There are strong genetic factors involved, and the experts don't even fully understand it.
One of the saddest and most infuriating cases of blame are when my fellow type 1 folks throw our type 2 friends under the bus. It's not right, and it's not fair. Like it or not, we are all in this diabetes game together. We must be kind to other. Without kindness and compassion, we start treating each other as less than human.

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