Cutting Him Off
Handling diabetes horror stories
January 2013 — A few years ago I found myself making ends meet (or at least get closer together) by doing safety inspections on HUD homes around Minneapolis. Through a variety of causes the homes had been abandoned, were generally neglected, and sometimes unsafe. But they were destined to hit the housing market again, and that's where I came in.
My job was to inspect the property shortly after they were acquired into the program, document any safety hazards and necessary repairs, then visit periodically to check for any vandalism, environmental problems, or storm damage.
These properties were owned by the government, which made them targets for lawsuits. If someone tripped on an uneven patch of pavement, or poked themselves on an exposed nail, or fell down stairs that didn't have a handrail, or any other possible scenario you can think of, there would be a lawsuit.
With that in mind, my training was pretty intense. Every so often the regional manager would come to town and meet with all of the inspectors to go over a few properties. We all had to be on the same page, and everyone had to say up to date with guidelines and standards. One visit with a new regional manager will be stuck in my memory for a long time.
His name was Walter something, and he was a nice enough guy. Easy to work with, seemed to have a good sense of humor, and treated everyone fairly. Unfortunately, he had a lot of experience watching diabetes destroy people he knew.
I can't remember how the topic came up, but once it did, he just wouldn't stop with it. You know how it happens – they start telling you about all of the people they know who have lived with diabetes, and all of the bad things that happened to them.
Why do they do that?
Is it because they want to convey some sense of familiarity with it? Do they think they understand, which would be a really nice thing (if they only did)? What on earth makes them think that hearing all sorts of terrible things is helpful? You wouldn't do that to someone who just told you they have cancer. I just don't get it.
Off he goes telling me about his aunt who lost her vision from diabetes, and his grandpa who had his leg amputated which started a slow downward spiral until he died a short while later, and another guy he knows who lost both legs below the knee, and another lady who can't feel her feet, and another who's on dialysis... on and on he went.
At some point I cracked a little bit. I interrupted him and told him that I didn't need to hear about all of these terrible things. He tried to keep going, but I cut him off again. I told him that it didn't help me to hear all of the scary tales, and that his stories were not my diabetes. Times are different, type 1 and type 2 are different, I am different.
It felt really good to cut him off like that, and I think I'm going to do it more often. Don't go down that path with me, or I might let you know how I feel about your story.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
Zucchini Spread Apple and Carrot Salad German Sheet Cake with Chocolate Grilled Turkey with Garlic Sauce Holiday Meatballs with Cranberry-Tomato Sauce Broccoli with Green and Yellow Wax Beans Tempeh and Noodle Soup Low-Carb Brushchetta Tofu and Chickpea Dip Savory Mushrooms and Barley Soup
As the thoughts of adoption cross my mind, I have a nagging on my heart that reminds me that I am not alone in this. Not alone in a positive way that I have the support of my husband and I'm building a great medical team to help me tackle any fertility challenges that come along. But not alone in that it's not just my emotions and desires that dictate how, when, or if I have children. Yesterday, I was chatting with a volunteer at work. He and his wife have a two year old and we...