It takes a lot to make me mad during my birthday season. It takes a whole hell of a lot to completely piss me off on my actual birthday. But a$$hats: be proud. You’ve done just that. And while my intention for today was to blow off any work that was not absolutely necessary and just enjoy this crisp fall day, I’m pounding on the keyboard. Make that P-O-U-N-D-I-N-G.
Because on behalf of myself, my daughter with Type 1 Diabetes, the gabillion of people I know with T1D and everyone who cares about them, I’m boiling over.
Because right now my heart is breaking for a woman, a young soon-to-be-mom blogger who has had T1D since she was nine and started today thinking it would be a highlight of her life – in the very best of ways. But right now, she’s being made fun of internationally. All because she has T1D.
Thought we lived in a world free of that kind of backassward, ignorant, cruel and bigoted population? Think again.
Here’s how it went down. While almost never turn a TV on in the daytime, I ran to click mine on today to see President Obama’s Rose Garden Speech about the Affordable Care Act. Now yes, I in fact am passionate about affordable and fair health care for all, but that’s not the reason I was pumped to click on the TV. Rather it’s because a fellow diabetes blogger who had written a particularly wonderful post about The ACA had been asked to attend the speech—and stand just behind President Obama. Like health care or not; D or R; Tea Party or coffee klatch, whatever you are and however you think: that’s just freaking cool. It is. So there. I wanted to watch her in her glory moment and celebrate for her.
As I watched I noticed a few things: her dress was slammin! (I wondered if she bought it for this day or if she had it already). Her hair looked amazing (Did she do it herself? Wow~!) And: I can see her dexcom on her arm! Diabetes in the wild is always so fun.
I also notice the sun was right smack dab on her. But I didn’t think of heat stroke or plunging blood sugars ; rather I thought of how it made her hair look even better.
The speech went on. And kind of … on (no offense President Obama. It happens). And then, as time went on, I noticed something else: The young woman I’d tuned in for was getting …… that look.
You know, that look. The one that every single person on this earth who cares about a person with T1D knows. The one that sets us on alert. The one that seems to set an alarm off way down to our very core. The one that to us, means danger.
At first I tried to shake it off. But I felt it welling up inside of me. I actually YELLED at the TV screen. “You’re going low!” While my head said ‘please no please no please no not now,” I felt the urge to smash my hand through the screen and just get to her. If you don’t love someone with T1D you might not get that. If you do … you do. In an instant I was pissed off at that sun that I’d so loved for making her hair shine. “Get off her! Can’t you see she needs shade?”
The young woman swayed a little, and then grabbed at the hand of another young woman standing next to her. Both looked confused as the young woman took deep breaths in and out (I could almost hear her counting it out). Finally, she swayed big time and the President of the United States – our commander-in-chief, stopped mid sentence, turned around and helped catch her before she went down. Someone came from the eves and escorted her off. The President cracked a polite joke and went back to his talk. (Not about her – it was polite).
I burst into tears. Because …. Sh** don’t you know it, Diabetes can really screw things up. The look I’d seen in her eyes haunted me as I sat there. And I kept thinking about how she’d probably woken up that morning thinking “This is a top 10 day in my life.” She’s probably worried about how she’d look on live TV, how she’d hold up to the eye of history. I’m sure she had a slam-dunk blood sugar plan for those hours; she’s that kind of person. Never, never did she picture this.
And then I was thinking about her – being embarrassed; being worried about her low and the baby she’s carrying. Feeling like she let the diabetes world down.
I went on-line to check in with some of her friends.
And I that’s when I boiled over.
The world was making fun of her. Making fun of a woman who clearly had a medical emergency … at a speech about medical programs. There is no way the asshats poking fun could NOT have had an idea that the person chosen to stand just behind the President during a speech on health might just have some special health considerations.
Yet people were using it – no make that using herto make jaded, crass, far flung political statements. They took what happened to her and turned it into a chance to kick the President (You know—the one who halted ALL his intentions to reach back and help this woman). I mean gosh, maybe they just couldn’t find any more kittens to kick this sunny day.
So yeah, I’m f-ing bullsh**.
I’m mad that this woman had this happen at this time.
I’m mad that diabetes, no matter how hard we try, can jump and ruin any party any time.
I’m mad that we’ve worked so hard to fund so many studies and we have so many tools and still we get this.
But most of all I’m mad that people can be so absolutely ignorant, cruel, narrow-minded and, well, to quote a sage friend “douchewaffle-ish.
So here’s a message to all those who created gifs or buzzfeeds or not-so-clever jabs at the situation:
Diabetes has no cure. Every single moment of every single person with diabetes life is a battleground. They may not show it, but it’s there. They may not admit it, but it’s truth. And they may make it look good, but it’s freaking bad.
But you know what? It’s going to end well for the young woman. She’ll get a national platform to educate from all of this (at least she should). When she is ready to joke about it she’ll think of some great ones (that’s what we do in this d world). She’ll go on and have her baby and live a full life and savor it all. There’s no cure yet for her, but she’s going to thrive.
The good news for YOU, a$$hat, is this: there IS a cure for douchewaffle-ness. Educate yourself. Get some therapy to help you learn to take a breath before pouncing. I know you can be cured. And we’re all here to help.