So, I was in work related training class regarding Orthotics and Diabetes a few weeks ago on a very hot Friday morning. The instructor said some things that really got to me, and not in a good way.
Again, this was work related class. (I was recently hired by an ortho and DME company and my job is to work with diabetic senior citizens with orthotic needs- Diabetes Comedy and Advocacy alone does not pay the bills.) but I had to correct his obvious idiocy. Not just because of my ego, but because there were 50 other students in the class and who needed to be armed with education regarding diabetes awareness and facts, not discrimination and fallacy.
I sat on the incident a while before I wrote this post. I needed some space and some time to think about it.
Tell me, do you think I handled it right?
So I'm in said training class that my company sent me to and paid for, and the instructor starts talking about his diabetic patients.
Idiot: "I treat my diabetic Orthotic patients like Crack addicts," he said in a condescending tone.
Idiot:"Instead of crack, they are addicted to sugar, and act like children regarding their health. They are brittle and non compliant."
Work related or not, my hand shot up and I'm sure that steam was coming out of my ears."
Kelly K: " I really don't think that's an appropriate way to treat your diabetic patients, we aren't crack addicts. Maybe your patients are depressed about their diagnoses and at the way the public perceives their disease. You know, putting the BLAME ON THEM."
(ASSHOLE,) I thought to myself.
Idiot: "Well, obviously you respect your self and your disease. Many diabetics don't"
Kelly K "It's obvious many non-diabetics don't respect diabetics and their disease."
Kelly K:"Look, the diabetes community doesn't even use the word brittle anymore. And we don't measure the sugar content of our food, we count carbohydrates, test our blood sugars and measure our insulin appropriately. Nothing is off limits. There's a lot of discrimination regarding diabetes, TALK ABOUT STRESS."
Idiot Instructor: "My own son-in-law, who also wears the pump, didn't respect the disease until he passed out."
Kelly K "Was it from a high or low blood sugar?"
Idiot Instructor: "I'm not really sure."
Kelly K: " There's a big difference between the two. There are many reasons he could have passed out. He could over bolused his insulin, miss calculated his carb intake, his BS could have dropped for no apparent reason, he might be highly insulin sensitive, or he might absorption issues at his infusion site. "
Idiot: "Well, he learned his lesson."
Kelly K: "I think the lesson we all need to learn is that Diabetics need empathy and education, so does anyone dealing with diabetics. Referring to them as "crack addicts" might not be the best approach. "
Idiot: "Thank-you for your input. Now, back to....."
Many students came up to me during the lunch break and started asking me how they should handle their patients with diabetes.
Respect them, listen to what they have to say, and suggest instead of preaching.
You really can catch more flies with honey.
Nobody was asking him anything, and he left to catch up on his emails.
After bitching about my experience all weekend to my friends, (who told me not to mention it at work,) I met with my employer and he asked how I liked the class, the facility, and the different instructors.
I took a deep breath & told him the truth. I said that while I learned a lot, one of the instructors really offended me as a diabetic. He may be an expert in the field of orthotics and Durable Medical Equipment, but he knew absolutely nothing about handling his diabetic patients. And then I mentioned the "crack' comment.
My boss was shocked, but appreciated my honesty.
He recently told me that 4 other employees that he'd sent to training found his "humor" regarding diabetes offensive.
On the positive side, that idiot gave me loads of material for my comedy routine.
I'm speaking at Virtua Hospital and you know I'm going to work that idiot's stupidity into my routine BIG TIME.
The fact that I countered what he said said in a somewhat calm and educated manner taught the other students a lesson that they really needed to learn.
Still, the fact that this guy was teaching really really pissed me off to say the least.
Diabetes Stupidity exists in and out of the work place, and on every level. I may have to hear it, but you know for damn sure I'm going to correct it, no matter where it might occur, or who says it.
I not only owe it to myself, but I also owe it to my clients, and my community.