Discrimination and being proactive (and other questions)


(kdrake88) #1

Reading a blog earlier, and along with some self reflection earlier today, I wanted to ask everyone if they would like to share some stories where they felt they have been discriminated against... Personally I have some fairly frustrating stories which I believe hinder my attitude about diabetes...

As I've mentioned before, I am studying to be a Special Education teacher and ironically enough have to do a project on Diabetes as it is recognized as OHI (Other Health Impairment) under IDEA. I wanted to know, as Diabetics, what route you think I should take to best educate other future Special Educators so future students do not have the negative experiences that we have had.

Another question...do you guys ever feel like the room is tilting or you are falling over even when you may be sitting or standing still? I'm not sure if everyone feels this at times or if it even pertains to Diabetes...I'm thinking part of it has to do with having a lot of fat content for dinner... but i haven't noted any similarities when it has happened before...suggestions?? (other than seeing a dr. lol)


(Sarah_0776) #2

[quote user="Kim"]Another question...do you guys ever feel like the room is tilting or you are falling over even when you may be sitting or standing still? I'm not sure if everyone feels this at times or if it even pertains to Diabetes...I'm thinking part of it has to do with having a lot of fat content for dinner... but i haven't noted any similarities when it has happened before...suggestions?? (other than seeing a dr. lol)[/quote]

Interesting question...I've noticed many times that I feel like I am leaning way to the side when I'm sitting straight. I've never thought to ask other people about it though.


(kdrake88) #3

Yay sarah for being the first to reply!!! lol I've been anxiously waiting...

I wonder why that is that we feel the world tilting...or us rather...


(Anonymous) #4

After a night of serious highs and headaches, I felt like the bed was tipping one night, until I fell asleep. If that helps? Ha.


(kdrake88) #5

hahaha... I guess what I'm wondering is if anyone knows what it means when we have the "tilts" and if anyone has opinions on what they would want me to share with a class of future special educators on Type 1 Diabetes so they have a better understanding.

Thank you for the input! I actually had a trained EMT tell me that high blood sugars give us a "drunk" sensation... so its good to know you only need to drink HALF as much! Just kidding...Drinking is bad!! ;-)


(kdrake88) #6

^^ I only share the above information because that may have something to do with the tilts. maybe it is just due to high blood sugars? ^^


(liwaenahari) #7

Kim,

I'm twenty-three years old, and have been working in public relations for a couple years in Saint Louis, and I can honestly say I've never been discriminated against for being diabetic! That doesn't mean I've never been afraid of it, though.... I have "forgotten" to mention I'm diabetic at a couple of interviews and business meetings.

I guess I'd need a bit more information before I went into a spiel about what sounds like a good or bad idea about your presentation, though. Like: what's the goal of the presentation; what "negative experiences" are you referring to; and what routes are available, and in what scope?

I have felt very dizzy, before. It happens on a semi-frequent basis, and from what other diabetics have told me, it's inevitable and uncontrollable. I don't like the feeling, because it doesn't seem to have any governing factors, so I can't control when it happens.... From what my doc says, it has to do with the sucrose coating on your eardrum, and it's a symptom that all diabetics experience in some aspect, but that it has nothing to do with one's diabetic health, and you should be concerned unless it becomes severe. If it makes you sick, then the coating may be too thin, and you need to make a diet change to help re-coat that area.


(Eric_Carpenter) #8

Some nondiabetic explanations for the tilting could involve structural issues in your vestibular sense.  Did you have a lot of ear infections as a child? I know someone who has a prescription for vertigo medication for this reason.  You might want to have someone check you for nystagmus (eyes moving from side to side) when this happens, it is a good symptom to tell a doctor about.


(kdrake88) #9

I feel like I have told my doctor about the tilts before...its not very often...maybe once or twice a week-maybe that is too often, but I used to have it happen to me a few times a day sparatically. Thank you for all of the information about it, though! I never considered researching it or looking deep into it, I just figured it had to do with blood sugars and was one of the side effects.

Sam/ anyone else who wants to join in on the discussion(!!!)..... More or less I need to give a crash course about Diabetes. I think mostly I'm going to talk about Type 1 and maybe touch on type 2 since both are being seen in schools nowadays. My professor said I can take it in any direction. Obviously I need to discuss high's and low's and what diabetes actually is. But I'm not sure if I should go to the lengths of discussing insulin pumps and syringes/pens or if I should talk about what it feels like to be diabetic or how not to react if a student is having a complication. I for sure want to review with them the pdf file I posted in the earlier discussion about things to say to a diabetic...Hopefully I don't offend anyone since MANY of them have said "oh my grandpa has diabetes!" But really, I guess I should look at it as they were slightly offending me without realizing it, so I should politely open their eyes.

So bottom line, I do not so much need to discuss about discrimination or sad stories (other than discuss the PDF) but I need to give them a crash course on diabetes and how to best serve their students who have it.


(liwaenahari) #10

Hmm....

Your peers are future educators? Special Ed? I think, if I were to brief a group of future teachers, I would rely heavily upon the mental/psychological side of diabetes (how we feel, what we go through, how we react to hypo/hyperglycemia, etc.), rather than the technical stuff (pumps, injections, etc.). The technical stuff should briefly cover what the educator needs to look out for (symptoms, scheduled injections, carb counting, etc.), but not go too deeply into it - maybe spend about five minutes, tops, on it. Give it about a good eight minutes to explain what diabetes is, and another twelve or so to cover the mental and social aspects that will be most readily used by your peers.

I'm thinking more in utilitarian terms, than anything, here: what should the presentation cover to best serve the audience? If you are presenting to your education peers, an approach heavily focused on the learning/social aspects of diabetes seems the best approach to me.


(cdavid1) #11

[quote user="Sam Winter"]

Hmm....

Your peers are future educators? Special Ed? I think, if I were to brief a group of future teachers, I would rely heavily upon the mental/psychological side of diabetes (how we feel, what we go through, how we react to hypo/hyperglycemia, etc.), rather than the technical stuff (pumps, injections, etc.). The technical stuff should briefly cover what the educator needs to look out for (symptoms, scheduled injections, carb counting, etc.), but not go too deeply into it - maybe spend about five minutes, tops, on it. Give it about a good eight minutes to explain what diabetes is, and another twelve or so to cover the mental and social aspects that will be most readily used by your peers.

I'm thinking more in utilitarian terms, than anything, here: what should the presentation cover to best serve the audience? If you are presenting to your education peers, an approach heavily focused on the learning/social aspects of diabetes seems the best approach to me.

[/quote]

Awesome point! My boyfriend is actually a Special Education major and he asks questions that other people would never ask because he thinks in different terms than other people do. He always asks me how I feel when I'm going through something because he works with children with autism and sees first hand how they feel when they are frustrated.


(KenM) #12

Kim:

I'm 50 years old and can recall only one case of diatbetic related discrimination I've experienced.

It happened about 30 years ago in a drug store. Back then, Type 1 diabetics used disposable syringes which were also (naturally) used by users of illegal drugs. Also back then, at least in Canada, and for me, I needed to first pay for my insulin stuff and then submit a receipt for the purchase to my employer;s insurance company in order to get compensated. In other words, no prescription for syringes from a doctor was involved.

The drugstore employee I dealt with refused to sell me syringes. His explanation was that, although I had a medicalert style necklace, he couldn't be certain that I was truly a diabetic. This obviously inconvenienced and insulted me (not that I have anything much against folks addicted to illegal drugs). This was a pharmacist or under-pharmacist who was presumably basing his decision to not sell the syringes to me on my age and perhaps the working class way I was dressed. I pointed out to him that if I was a 45 year old woman he would have sold me the syringes without hesitating. I can't recall but I suspect I became agnry and made a fuss.

I still get irritated thinking about that moment - 30 years later. That's probably not actually anti-diabetic discrimination but it's close I think.

The only other thing I might suggest about awkward psychological moments related to Type 1 diabetes are the many times I've foolishly decided not to reveal that my blood sugar was low in order to avoid centring myself out. This has led to problems and was unnecessary as nobody cares if you leave a meeting or class or other event in order to test your blood sugar or drink some carbs.


(kdrake88) #13

Thanks guys! I have PLENTY to talk about concerning the psychological/emotional aspect on my own account, and I truly think it is very important that I spend most of my time discussing this part of being diabetic. However, I am not sure how to go about it without it sounding like a sob story. I guess I could touch on everything without presenting it in first person narrative.

Courtney,

What sorts of questions does your boyfriend ask so that maybe I can present those facts to my peers?


(cdavid1) #14

[quote user="Kim"]

Thanks guys! I have PLENTY to talk about concerning the psychological/emotional aspect on my own account, and I truly think it is very important that I spend most of my time discussing this part of being diabetic. However, I am not sure how to go about it without it sounding like a sob story. I guess I could touch on everything without presenting it in first person narrative.

Courtney,

What sorts of questions does your boyfriend ask so that maybe I can present those facts to my peers?

[/quote]

He's always asking what I'm feeling like when I am high or low. How my mood suddenly changes when I feel my bs fluctuating. How it affects my day to day life and things that I've had to change to take care of myself. Alot of this stuff he sees first hand because we've been together since before I was diagnosed. But, a lot of things he doesn't understand because it's not him going through it. He's also really interested in if it ever affects my school work or in class.


(smachado31) #15

Participating in sports in high school was a very tough time in my life.  Pushing myself to keep up with my varsity softball team sometimes lead to low blood sugars, as would be expected.  Taking time out to drink some juice or eat a snack always drew looks of diapproval - from coaches and other players alike.  Although rarely, coach would even ask me if I was going to have an "episode" during practice or if I was "healthy enough" to participate.

High school is a nightmare to begin with; High school with type 1 is hell.  Had I known then what I know now, I would have stood up for myself more with my coach or with my peers. 

We've all learned to deal with needles, pumps, glucometers, ketostix, highs, lows, and everything else that comes with the territory.  We've all gotten the grossed-out looks from people while trying to check our blood sugar or inject some insulin.  Even though it is based on ignorance, I believe that those looks - those little ignorant comments - are a form of discrimination as well.

My favorite is "eww, do you have to do that in front of me?  I hate needles." 

As if I were stabbing myself because I just love needles.  Anyway, I think education is the best way to be proactive.  Instead of getting upset or angry, I try to educate the people around me.  Very often I have found that I am the ONLY person they've ever met with type 1 diabetes.  My hope is that by educating one person, their behavior will change, and they might take the initiative to educate someone else.


(Kateski) #16

[quote user="Kim"]

Thanks guys! I have PLENTY to talk about concerning the psychological/emotional aspect on my own account, and I truly think it is very important that I spend most of my time discussing this part of being diabetic. However, I am not sure how to go about it without it sounding like a sob story. I guess I could touch on everything without presenting it in first person narrative.

 

[/quote]

Focus on science and maybe don't tell everyone that you are diabetic until the very end.  You may also want to talk about the fact that T1 is an autoimmune disease and that often someone with T1 will also have other autoimmune issues.   Use diagrams and charts.