I am frequently astounded by the daftness of folk, and what comes out of people’s mouths. Honestly I am not perfect, or even close to it, but I’d like to think that I have never dropped any real clangers in my time when speaking to someone about their child’s chronic condition….
Anyway I shit you not, have a look at some of my all-time favourite stupid things that have been said to me, as the mother of a nine year old Type 1 Diabetic
The Classic – Did she eat too many sweets?
Yes my tall slim nine year old daughter was weaned on sherbet dips. Sod breastfeeding, I popped her out of my vagina (actually C-section but one never gets to use the word vagina in written form often so I felt I should make the most of it), and I gave her coke in a bottle instead of milk.
Boom, six years later she got diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Type 1 Diabetes.
The well-meaning – What can’t she eat?
Actually this question shows you care, so you probably can say it to a Type 1 parent. But just to clear it up – she can’t eat poison, and I’d rather she didn’t eat that really sugary shit because a) that stuff will kill you, and b) I’ll be up all night chasing highs.
However she will love it if you give it to her when I am out of sight and she gets to eat it before I can to confiscate it.
The nosey – Should she eating that?
This one pops up usually when cake is involved, or sweets, or chocolate.
Should any of us? We all know sugar is inherently bad for us, but cake tastes soooo good. If she doesn’t get to ask you if you should eat cake with your muffin top, you don’t get to ask her if she can eat that with her diabetes.
The downright fucking stupid – Will she lose a limb later in life do you think?
She is nine, she can hear you, and of course she fucking won’t. Fuck off.
(This is what I wished I said when I was asked this; clearly the Brit in me prevented my more appropriate response – instead I just stood there with my gob open, literally speechless at someone’s stupidity.)
The try to make you feel better – You know it could be worse?
Of course I do, there is always something worse, I spend enough time in the hospital and see some terribly poorly kids and my heart breaks. But I refuse to be thankful that my kid ‘only’ got diabetes and has to spend her entire life dependant on needles and insulin controlling a chronic condition that if not managed could kill her.
So maybe don’t say that.
The one that maybe you’d be better asking Google as to not look stupid – Is it curable?
In a word – no.
The trying to be helpful – Will it be easier when she grows up and leaves home?
Bollocks, don’t remind me that one day my beautiful kid who sometimes forgets to brush her teeth at night will be responsible for ensuring she has safe blood sugars to get through the night without falling into a hypoglycaemic state.
I don’t need to think about that time yet. Let me get through today first.
Still trying to be helpful – But it will get easier as she gets older?
Yup – we are all excited in my house about puberty, bet that is going to be a breeze with diabetes and hormones.
Exam stress? Add in a condition that reacts to stress – bring on those SATS and GCSES.
Pregnancy and birth – again I imagine hormones and diabetes will just live together in harmony in those nine months.
Type 1 doesn’t really get easier, it is life long, and you don’t get a day off. But what us Type 1 parents are trying to do it is raise kids who can face all of those events without letting Diabetes ever get in the way.
My favourite: You know, God only gives these things to those he knows can handle it?
I don’t believe in God.
And if I am wrong about that and me and the big guy get to meet one day they we are having serious words. I can count the number of times I have slept through the night since diagnosis on one hand, and my hair didn’t use to be this frigging grey.
I have no choice but to handle it. None of us do, we are not the chosen ones, that was Luke Skywalker or maybe Anakin – anyone, not me.
Famous advice from my Mum, if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. When it comes to Type 1 Diabetes, there is such thing as a stupid question.
I feel better now I have got this off my chest.
Have a good day 🙂
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