Even after all this time, we still have so much to learn.
June 2008 — This is the University of Diabetes. It where every single person with type 1 diabetes is automatically enrolled upon diagnosis. We all eventually attend "classes" and "sessions" here, willingly or not. While I have gone through many periods of rebellion in my time, the past five years or so I have had my nose to the grindstone.
I have attended as many "classes" as possible, diligently studied material on my own, worked with the teachers and professors for extra credit, and devoted almost all of my time and energy to understanding my diabetes. I have spent so many hours in these classroom seats that I have a permanent wood grain imprint on my rear end.
I have developed a very real and sincere relationship with my latest teacher. He knows that I am trying very hard, and that I want nothing more than to really understand, to really "get it". He has also devoted much of his time to my never-ending questions and need for answers that make sense to me.
"No Scott," says the teacher with a stern look and slowly shaking his head with exhaustion. "We've gone over this so many times. I just don't see why it's not sinking in."
"But last time…" I start, but am unable to finish my sentence.
Why can't I get it? Why doesn't it make sense? The answers always change, even though the numbers are the same. This is impossible math. Like some sort of prank that is not funny anymore.
While the usually packed classroom is empty now, I feel very self-conscious. It's not just the embarrassment of being wrong anymore; this stuff is starting to affect my health. I don't feel good when I'm wrong. It's not that I'm not trying, but that the target keeps moving! It wouldn't be so bad if there was some communication and I had some idea of where the target was going to be. But I'm often shooting my arrow where the target used to be, only to find that it has moved to a completely different place!
"I'm tired and don't feel very good," I say, hanging my head, ready to throw in the towel. "I just want to go home."
"I know," he says with a kind and gentle concern.
He walks from the head of the classroom and takes a seat on the edge of his desk. He takes a very deep breath, removes his glasses and sets them on his desk. He sits there for what seems like a long time, arms crossed with one hand up cradling his chin.
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Consider a world in which everyone's health data is SO private that no individual, no healthcare professional, no medical textbook can be certain about the cause of a person's symptoms, or how best to treat them. Amidst a myriad of expensive, highly-targeted pharmaceuticals and devices, therapy is a hit-or-miss proposition — provided one is wealthy enough to be able to try one, if not all, of them. In many ways, that's the state of diabetes care today. And if...