A Dose of Perspective
Global view of diabetes brings home reality of managing this disease.
By Walt Raleigh
Most days I do fine with it, but, you know, sometimes I get tired of this diabetes thing.
Lugging around a meter, test strips, swabs, and lancets, a pill-bottle containing my dinner medication in case I have to work late at the office, sugar tablets in case I overshoot the runway with the meds and get hypoglycemic (it's only happened badly enough to *really* scare me once... once was enough.) I'm never seen in public without a fashionable briefcase or shoulder bag, and it's *not* because I'm a metrosexual (okay, arguably I am, but the two syndromes are completely unrelated.)
Guesstimating and faithfully counting every single carbohydrate I ingest. ( Just how small is a "small baked potato," anyway?)
Drawing blood three or more times a day and recording my blood glucose in an Excel spreadsheet (hey, I'm a geek, it's what I do.)
Realistically, I know that when you're diagnosed with a serious illness, the only sane thing to do is take every step and precaution that you can to take care of yourself. And I've taken enough holidays from "realistic behavior" to know that if you don't take care of yourself, you can start feeling pretty bad in short order.
For the most part, I'm grateful that I know what's wrong with me, I know what to do about it, and that I have such a good support system in place.
Still, sometimes, I just get tired of it.
It is usually at about this time that reality, the Universe, or God (take your pick, more than one choice is allowed, no points will be subtracted for guessing) whomps me upside the head with some perspective.
Here's some perspective that arrived on my doorstep recently.
Last week, here in New York City, the International Diabetes Federation and Novo Nordisk held an invitation-only event called "Global Changing Diabetes Leadership Forum." Bill Clinton was the keynote speaker.
My invitation must have gotten lost in the mail. :-)
But the press release did land in my inbox. Check this out:
"Diabetes could become the worst pandemic of the 21st century. Today, already more than 230 million people worldwide have diabetes. This number increases by 7 million people every year, killing as many people as HIV/AIDS. At the present rate, this number may grow to more than 380 million people within 20 years."
And over at the International Diabetes Federation's website, I found a bleak rendition of the Pareto Principle, known popularly as the 80/20 rule (For an explanation of Pareto Principle, check out Wikipedia.):
- More than 80% of expenditures for medical care for diabetes are made in the world's economically richest countries.
- Less than 20% of expenditures are made in the middle- and low-income countries, where 80% of people with diabetes will soon live.
Most of the problem, in other words, is about to be where the fewest resources are available.
I'm over my little snit, and back to sticking my fingers and counting my carbs without complaint. But I'm also starting to think about how I can make a difference for diabetics other than myself.
dLife's Daily Living columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team to find out what will work best for you.
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