A Lesson in Diabetes


diabetes education 1 A Lesson in Diabetes This past Sunday I was having my usual Sunday dinner  with the family.

Now there are two important things you have to know about my family: First they are all nurses in fact one of my cousins just passed her LSAT’s last Friday and I am so proud of her. Second aside from her the rest have been nurses for at least 5 years each.

When the issue of my diabetes comes up, which it inevitably does when am doing the routine management tasks like bolusing before a meal, or carb counting or having that special “diabetic” tea that we set aside just for you Ronnie lol.

I find myself having to explain certain things  and Sunday was no different.

This time the discussion revolved around the fact that type 1 diabetes is technically not called juvenile diabetes any more with questions as to how I was a type 1 if I wasn’t diagnosed as a child (I was 19 at diagnosis) and so forth.

Yet Every time this happens I cant help but wonder when exactly I turned into the educator of sorts  in our little fraternity.  I mean shouldn’t the roles be reversed here?

After 15 years with this dreadful disease I used to think that I pretty much knew most of the routine management and other effects of diabetes, but being dubbed educator among these medical minds is something entirely new to me.

Last week one of my Friends on Facebook took her teenage son who has diabetes to the Emergency room and the charge nurse asked her if he was a type A diabetic?

The mother was very much Incensed, explaining that the boy was an Insulin dependent type 1 diabetic.

I understand diabetes is such an evolving disease. We including our medical professionals especially those in the ER and urgent care need to keep up their knowledge or education levels don’t you think?

Now am sure a CDE or Even the attending physician would be, I would hope!! but am just suggesting that maybe they all should because they are a cog of the life saving machine.

As for my friend technically the nurse was not wrong but type 1A and type 1B diabetes are not terms commonly used outside academia, I personally only heard about them a few weeks before, so to expect a parent to know that was a bit overreaching in my opinion and thus the angry response.

For those of us in the diabetes blogsphere and if you read any of the many wonderful blogs in the DOC you will often see this disclaimer: Mine reads

I Am by no means a medical professional and my advice and words should not be taken as such. I am just a diabetic sharing my views and life on diabetes. You should seek the opinion of medical professionals before following any of my advice.

When I am writing, I write about my experiences with diabetes, however vast or limited those experience might be, it is up to the reader to judge.

I shouldn’t be confused with a medical professional.

Yet what does it say about my level of diabetes knowledge or theirs for that matter when I am the one playing the role of educator.

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  1. The ideas in your post have crossed my mind a few times as well. Because we (PWDs) live with this disease every second of every day, it’s natural that we know the things we know- whether or not we intended to learn them. However, for educators, general physicians, etc I wonder if that Type I education is lacking because it’s not something they see often enough in their day at work, if they never learned, or if they learned but have so many more important things to remember (like CPR, bone names, blood report levels), that diabetic terms just slip their mind.

    • Sarah I think its the fact that diabetes is ever evolving and there is just no formula for reeducation as it were. My cousin who just graduated from nursing school a few months ago has a far better understanding of diabetes than my older cousin who has been an RN for far longer. Now the older cousin is currently attending school for her masters in nursing and it is the assumption that part of her curriculum has some diabetes related course in there.
      Here lies the problem however once you become an RN and have no interest in furthering your education, what happens then because regardless of the department you are in, you will come across a diabetic during normal activities.

  2. Ronnie, I have found that the friends in my life who are medical professionals don’t necessarily understand diabetes either. I’ve also seen inaccurate comments about T2 on Twitter from people who should know better. I think you’re right that the world of diabetes is so complex that it makes it difficult to “know it all” but it’s disturbing when professionals are so uninformed about the basics. This just means that we need to continue to try and educate through our blogs and our daily lives…with disclaimers firmly in place!

    • I have to admit Kate that it is sometimes puzzling because those who are specifically educated in diabetes, the CDE especially treat us as if we have no clue, I have experienced this first hand. not say every CDE out there does it but everyone else to use my family as an example are typically asking me about stuff that they should already be familiar with lol

  3. Ronnie,

    Still after about 10 years my close family is still totally confused about diabetes. My mom still questions my A1C’s because she works in the ICU of the local hospital and she had people come in who have diabetes and their blood sugar levels reflect mine and she gets freaked out.

    I do not have any nurses in my family, but I have spoken with primary care nurses and their knowledge of diabetes is insanely bad.

    • Chris, I have a good friend who is a nurse and when I’ve “complained” about my inability to lower my fasting readings she says something like “Oh stop worrying! That’s NOTHING compared to the people I see in the hospital!” Sigh. Well hmmm, if I stopped worrying I might become one of those people in the hospital!!!


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