In the ER for respitory failure from pneumonia, a doctor asked, "Did you know that you're a diabetic?" No, I didn't. My glucose level was over 600. Later that week, as things settled down for me a bit, I recalled what the doctor had asked. I will never refer to myself as a diabetic. I am a person diagnosed with diabetes.
If this seems simple semantics, perhaps it is. Though language is important. If this seems unimportant to you, I have no judgment or quarrel with that. My own life experiences have caused me to put my human-ness first in all matters. My education tells me that illness and disease is a Medical Model view of what goes on in our bodies; and that is a singular view.
On my last day in the hospital, my physician's visit was much more informal. He asked, "So how're ya doin' with the diabetes and everything?" My answer included what I have written here. To my surprise, he responded, "Yeah, I know what you mean." He did, too! Our final discussion was very uplifting. My perspective is that the Medical Model primarily includes treatments for disease. For many Americans, that points to drug therapies. It is not that simple for the symptoms of this diagnosis. (Truth be told, I do not believe that it is ever that simple.)
I do not feel diseased. I feel that my body is working differently than I had come to know it. I need to make adjustments. I am learning, and I am choosing what those adjustments will be.
My family, friends, and colleagues know me well. It was my daughter who sought out this site and Emailed a hyperlink to me, suggesting that I might gain some "peer support". I have. For me, the medical stuff is widely available in literature and on the Web. I am most grateful for the experiential knowledge available here.
I am a person who is a mother, wife, citizen, taxpayer, voter… and so much more! I am a person diagnosed with diabetes. As the Beatles remind me, "I get by with a little help from my friends"!
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