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4. Simulating DM

"Recently many people have talked about getting a teen to do diabetes correctly. Any of you voluntarily willing to simulate living with diabetes for a month? Or even a week? I have heard of a professor who gave that assignment to some of his med students; they all refused."

In the mid '80s I was the president of our local DM support/education group (for 2.5 yrs). I was making changes and the group tripled in size. I was being criticized for some of my help by non-diabetics. I drew up a schedule for someone to volunteer for a month to be a pretend DMer and report their findings. No one would. The staff advisor said, "No! I don't want to be known as a diabetic!" (I once had a nurse tell me in the hospital that of all the diseases, she would not want DM -- like I had a choice!!

My plan was: Poke yourself with a lancet, but to save costs do not use a strip. Just get the poker out and do that 4 times a day AT THE RIGHT TIMES--not just when it occurs to you!

Carry a ballpoint pen, and before each meal, poke yourself with the pen so there is a blue mark indicating it has been done. Remember to prep with an alcohol swab each time.

Have a scheduled diet plan (exchanges back then) and stick to it. A month can get pretty old pretty fast. I think of these teens with DM--it was old for them long ago and it is for a lifetime.

I heard the teen years described as converting your home into a restaurant and still living there while the remodeling is taking place. A lot of confusion, frustration, clutter, and mazes (amazes) going on. Add DM to that--it's quite a load.

I can't put my teen years input to this since I had to pee on my hand to catch it to test--therefore didn't. It was unreliable anyway. Mom said I often had fruity-smelling breath, so I guess I was living with ketones most of the time, too. I didn't get to go to slumber parties and we had only saccharin for iced tea (blechhh). I was given a death sentence anyway and had no hope. I picked the ripe old age of 35 to be dead.

Alas, I've lived with this for 49 years and 11 months today!!! ܰ

--Jan Hughey


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