She was a first grade teacher and was telling me how much she loved her students and how they always kept her on her toes and continually made her laugh and how she learned from them just as much as they learned from her.
And then someone else in the group interrupted us and asked: Kelly are you OK if we push back dinner for an hour?
And I was like, 'yeah, don't worry about me,' and turned my focus back on the conversation with Teacher Lady.
Teacher Lady looked at me quizzically and I could tell she was puzzled.
Me: It's no big deal, I have Type 1 Diabetes and Lara just was wanted to make sure I was cool with the new dinner plans.
Teacher Lady: Oh...., one of my students has "severe diabetes." He wears an insulin pump and goes to the nurses office three to 5 times a day to check his blood sugar and make insulin adjustments on his pump.
SIdebar: Yes, I totally cringed when she said the term severe diabetes and did my best to put on my game face and present her the #diabetesfacts. I mean she was a really nice person and it was clear that she didn't know that severe diabetes wasn't such a great term.
So I whipped out my insulin pump & said: I love my insulin pump! And that's not "severe diabetes," that's life with diabetes. In this case it's life with Type 1 Diabetes. The word 'severe', by it's very definition equals harsh and or bad and putting the word 'diabetes' in front of 'severe' makes the person you are referring to a harsh and bad diabetic/PWD. That can't be good for anyone, especially a 7 year old. How's he doing?
Teacher Lady: He's doing great...He's so funny and smart ... He's such a great kid!
But wearing an insulin pump and all that testing, how can his diabetes not be severe? Sometimes his sugars are are on the higher side and other times he runs low.
And I have to admit it, when she said that last part about his blood sugars being high and low I damn near laughed out loud.
Me: Insulin pumps mean you have an electronic pancreas clipped to your hip. It's a little more work, but wearing one sure makes life easier.
Diabetes means that your blood sugars aren't perfect - And when they are "perfect," they don't stay that way. Sometimes my sugars are marching towards Canada, other times they head towards Florida. That's life with diabetes.
Honestly TL, "severe diabetes" is considered a really derogatory/offensive term to many of us living with diabetes and in your student's case, it's the wrong terminology entirely. Your student's doing exactly what he has to in order to live and live a good life with diabetes.
Diabetes mean testing blood sugars anywhere between 7 and 10 times a day because our pancreases are busted & our bodies don't have the ability to measure, let alone control our blood sugars on their own.
That's why we take insulin & that's why we test our blood sugars - Dude, that's why we have diabetes!
Instead of calling your student's diabetes and his diabetes treatment 'severe', why not refer to him as being a smart, proactive, technically savvy person with diabetes who's doing what needs to be done as far as his diabetes is concerned.
Teacher Lady: OK, I never even considered anything you just said before.
Me: I know, but you are considering it now - And that is a wonderful thing~
ANd then we clinked wine glasses - Because it was worth celebrating!