Friday, June 17, 2011

Le sigh

Let me set the scene. We were at a church event. Elise is standing in line for one of those obstacle course bounce houses. I'm hovering nearby, holding Mattias. Hovering because this event holds all the ingredients for a BG disaster; extreme heat, bounce houses, excitement, running around, and ice cream. I was hoping the last item on that list would counter-act all the other stuff.

Anyway, back to the bounce house line. A girl, about 8 years old, is standing next to Elise. She points at Elise's dexcom sensor on her arm and asks what it is.

Elise replies very matter-of-factly, "it's my sensor. I have type 1 diabetes." Elise looks at me with a sweet, beautiful smile. My heart is bursting with pride at that moment.

The girl asks her, "so... you're sick?"

"No," Elise says, just as firmly, "I have type 1 diabetes. I wear a sensor." She shrugs her shoulders as if to say, "doesn't everyone?"

The girl comes back with, "but you have diabetes because you're not healthy, right?"

Elise looks at me again, her smile starts to falter. She says, "I'm NOT sick. I just need insulin."

The well-meaning, but very misguided girl takes Elise's hands and says, "I know ALL about diabetes! I can teach you. All you have to do is eat healthy and you won't be sick anymore!"

***insert needle scratching on record here***

Elise's face starts to fall, so I swoop in. "No", I say to the girl, "you are not right. She has type 1 diabetes. Part of her body, the pancreas, is broken and cannot make insulin. So she needs shots. There is nothing she did to get diabetes and it's not the kind that goes away."

"Yeah," interjects Elise, "I need shots. Insulin shots!" And with that, she was smiling again.

The girl looked at me as if I was growing another head right there in front of her and turned away.

Oy. Where to start with this one? I am so proud of Elise with how up front and open she is about her diabetes, but man-oh-man did I want to punt the little girl into next week for what she said. I know she's not to blame for her ignorance, but she had to have picked it up somewhere.

You know what? I blame Oprah.


  1. Good for Elise for being firm and holding her ground and good for you for stepping in and laying it out simply and setting her straight...and for having the restraint to not take her down! (might have been hard while holding Mattias, but with your made breastfeeding while BG testing sillz, I'm sure you would have managed!!)
    It's sad that there is so much misinformation out there and sometimes the only way to 'fix' it is one person at a time.
    Sure hope that girl latched onto some truth!!
    Damn Oprah!! ;)

  2. Aw good for Elise!! I know I want to punch people who say dumb things but I have to remember that they probably just don't know any better. Good job , mama! And great job Elise!

  3. Love that Elise is so strong and confident Jo. That had to have been a hard to watch that interaction.

    How did the Blood Sugar Gods treat ya? I hope Elise's numbers behaved. xo

  4. Way to go elise !!! Yep there are some adults who think the same thing. I had a lady come up to me in the bathroom and tell me that if I had been well cared for as a child I would not have the diabetes . Oh brother , being as she looked almost 90 , I so wanted to say to her well maybe if you had stayed out of the sun then you would not have so many wrinkles !!
    Grrr.... I wish some ppl would do their research before they open their mouths .

  5. I was totally cringing at reading that little girl's comments to Elise! Good for Elise for standing up and trying to tell this girl like it is! High fives Elise! and hope the BG's stayed good post bouncy house fun!

  6. Speaking as someone with type 2, I also hate these types of exchanges. There is just too much information out there about type 2 that causes people to misunderstand this disease. Heck, there's just too much to know about diabetes....period! (there's also too many nosy people in the world.) It's hard enough on an adult with type 2 to be "judged", I'm sorry Elise has to deal with it too. She's lucky to have such a great mom to help her through. D parents ROCK!

  7. yeah darn oprah! Truly it is sad knowing that our children will deal with this ignorance their whole lives, I wish that JDRF and ADA would spend a little of their dough on a few PSA's for our loved ones benefit, it does over time wear on their esteem...I know,I've been told by an adult that has dealt with it his whole life and now he wants to punt way too many people when they even begin to ask him about his d.
    And way to go Elise being such a big girl to say directly what the truth is, she is an amazing d advocate already!

  8. You never fail to make me smile.

    It's totally Oprah's fault. And stupit Dr. Oz. AND that Dr. Z on the Biggest Loser....he got it wrong once too.

    The list of people screwing up is way tooooooo long!

    FYI...I miss you. I'm so bad about blogging, but working to change that. Again. : )

  9. Way to go Elise, for not only correcting the other girl but for also not being afraid to tell others about diabetes. At her age i would have been to shy t say anything. And i agree more needs to be done about diabetes in the media... Stupid people who know nothing. My neighbor and i were having a conversation about diabetes when he brought up the "my grandma has diabetes" thing.When i asked him what type he said he had no idea and that was the end of that. Point for me!!! The only people who bring up food for me are my friends. and that's more of a can you have that right now. We ended up at some slide though and i had no issues with BG, even with that ice cream cone :)

  10. I tend to give kids a little leniency since most of the info comes from misguided TV shows like the Hannah Montana episode about when Oliver was diagnosed with Diabetes and there in the blink of an eye the whole episode that could have done so much GOOD turned into a BAD episode of 'watch what you eat and take insulin and you will be ok' and his 'BFF's' Miley and Lily were mad he didn't tell them and acted like idiots. The school nurse told them about it Hello Hippa! Anyway I am proud of Elise! I worked with a student in Pre k and K who was very open with her diabetes with her peers and they knew all about it BECAUSE SHE TAUGHT THEM! They looked out for her. Yes you still had little girls like the ones you are talking about but I found the teachers I worked with were less tolerant and misinformed more than the kids were.

  11. I am so proud of your girl!! Go Elise!! Good for her. :) Her first shot (uggh...pun!) at being a T1D advocate!

  12. Aw go Elise! What a brave little advocate.

  13. I had to read this aloud to L since she has a problem with the way Oprah handled the D thing. She LOVED what you had to say. As did I.


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