Friday, March 4, 2011

You're Not Helping.

image credit here

There are some things in life that you just shouldn't ever say.

Do you know the phrases I'm talking about?

They are things such as "Are you pregnant?". I've been asked this by a stranger before many years ago, and I can't understand the reasoning behind it. Isn't this a cardinal rule? You never, ever, ever ask a woman if she's pregnant - even if it seems blatantly obvious to you that she is. Sometimes, we just have stomach pudge and an unfortunately tailored shirt. And when you make a comment like this to someone who is likely already a bit self-conscious about their body shape, you're not helping.

Then, there's "You look tired!". Believe me - if I look tired, you can surely bet that I'm feeling tired as well, which means that I'm already aware of the situation. Plus, I know how mirrors work, and it's likely that I used one at some point today before you brought this up. Telling me that I look tired won't cause me to look less tired. You're not helping.

When someone with diabetes tells me that they have "perfect control", the only thing that succeeds in doing is making me doubt that person's ability to gauge what "perfect" is. Because I'll tell you what - I don't know anyone who has "perfect" control. Not kids, not adults, not those who have had it 50+ years. The variables are always changing, and trying to be your own vital body organ isn't a situation you can "perfectly control". You might have a low A1C - and I'll be totally happy for you, you know? I'll throw confetti and cheer and dance with the best of them to celebrate. That's hard work to get there, and I appreciate how difficult that can be. But please, please don't tell me or anyone else that your control is "perfect". Tell me that you're doing an awesome job; tell me that you're getting it right most of the time; go ahead and tell me your A1C history. But please - don't use that "p" word. It discounts just how hard this life-saving balancing act is to those who aren't in our circle of understanding. And it just drives home the fact that no matter how hard I (and others just like me) try, we never seem to be able to achieve and sustain that. You're not helping.


  1. You know there are people out there in the 'nation that drive me crazy with that. I feel your pain and want to well kick them... yeah, kick 'em good.

  2. I sincerely doubt there is a T1 who runs 100 or 5.5 the whole time - I have yet to meet one anyhow....

  3. AMEN. I get those ALL THE TIME. When we were looking at houses this past fall a realtor decided she was going to make up this elaborate story on why we need this house and how when we welcome our new baby... i was like WTF. Just because i'm wearing a sun dress and HAPPEN to be at a fertile age does not mean you can have no manners and say that to ANY Women.

    and I too hate when people say they're perfect with T1 or their doing great. How can you ever be great. Just when you get numbers your hardwork is paying off finally and then you get 200's or higher to mess with you more.

    Thank you for posting, frustrations I have frequently!!! Thanks Kim! I don't think you look tired at all:)

  4. Nice post, Kim. I feel ya.

    Actually, there's one Type 1 that I've interacted with through the years who is a high-level reporter nationally, and T1 of 50+ years. He regularly claims to have "perfect" control and achieves control that I just don't believe is possible. Anyhow, I've met him in person a few times over time and once I called him on it, and he showed me his meter - was like 9 tests a day, and is was pretty spectacular. A1c under 6 all but when he was a kid, which still amazes me. He's made a point to show me again, and I'm in awe. He is the ONE person I have found this to be the case with...

    For me, I readily admit to being "perfect."

    Of course, that means in my world: "I'm perfect at being imperfect."


  5. Having "perfect" control is no way to live, anyway! :) I hear ya...diabetes is an up & down rollercoaster, even with good or great control. It's tricky...even when non-D people are trying to relate, they unknowingly say the wrong thing and think they are "helping", when really they are not! I think the people who claim to have perfect control are saying it mostly for themselves--they want to have that sense of control and they want to reinforce the thought that they are doing a great job. Either way, people need to remember that everyone's situation is different. Once, a lady at my work who is type 2 asked me if I wanted a "diabetic" muffin. One of my friends was sympathetic to how I might react and started joking around, asking if I wanted a syphilis cupcake. It made me laugh! I wasn't necessarily bothered by her calling it a diabetic muffin, but I was bothered that she said it out loud at work in a way that singled me out, like I should appreciate the fact it's a diabetic muffin because really, I should be watching what I'm eating, right? It's ok for me to have because it's "diabetic." So annoying!

  6. I think that "syphilis cupcake" is my new favorite diabetes term!

  7. I have to agree with you again, after agreeing when you tweeted this sentiment. No, no perfect. When I hear someone say they have perfect control, I think "hard work" meets "lucky" instead. Even with the hardest of efforts sometimes, s&^?*#$ happens. No perfection. I also saw this today: and it made me think of this post.

  8. Great post! There's no way to achieve perfection when one is a pancreas by proxy. And, I'm cracking up about the syphilis cupcake comment above.

  9. First of all, OMG, I'm so with you on the "You look tired!" I personally consider it rude. Unless I'm like, yawning or putting my head on my desk, "You look tired" translates as, "You have bags under your eyes, look like you overslept and didn't wash your face this morning, and maybe you're starting to look a little older." I know that's not how people mean it, but "You look tired," without a clear SIGNAL that I am tired, means I don't look good somehow. So, WTF?

    And on the "perfect control" thing, those peopel will get knocked down a peg. I never felt like my control was "perfect," but I swear I had a month or two there where I was really damn pleased with myself, and feel like maybe this diabetes stuff isn't so hard after all. Cue a week of completely awful blood sugars and pump site failures!!!! That'll teach me...

  10. I had a friend tell me today that I look tired. To quote Susan Sarandon on the movie Stepmom - "When people tell you that you look tired, its just a nice way of saying you look like shit."
    What I wanted to say, but didnt was... Of course I look tired! Were you up 3 times last night checking your child's blood sugar, and did you have to conjole them into eating 2 sugar tablets at 3am? Heck yeah - I'm tired!
    Luckily I am a better friend than that - I just nodded and smiled. And luckily I came back to work and found this post, so I could leave this comment, because I am restricted from blogging about it, since said friend reads my blog. :)

  11. I get "You look tired" more times a week than I can count. And it pisses me right the eff off. I can identify with a lot of this post. So, just so you know, you ARE helping. :)

  12. Oh, yes, I'm perfect -- perfectly ME!!!!! :-)
    I'm lucky in that my friends are solicitous about my diabetes, but never make ugly remarks. They also tend to carry life-savers or something in case I go low.
    I worked REALLY hard on my control for the last 5 months, and got an A1c of 6.3. Good? yes. Non-diabetic? No. So I really need to stop chastising myself for not being perfect and accept that those over-200's and under-70's are going to happen no matter what, and just keep in mind that I'm doing the best I can and let it go at that. And who cares what anyone says -- I'm the only one who REALLY knows what's happening with me!

  13. Perfect and diabetes??? Um.... that's not possible. Doesn't exist. It goes into the same category as the people living on mars and having too many shoes.

    I've gotten the "You look tired". I always want to say, "What gave it away? The dark circles? The unwashed hair? The glazed expression? Why do you ask? Wanna take over while I go grab a nap?" Of course I don't. but I'd like to!