So, there are are the typical good aspects of diabetes you hear everyday, such as “I get my favourite sweets when I have a low!” I’m fairly sure everyone has heard that one before whether you’re 5 years old or 20 years old, you will have answered with that more than once.
The negatives are no different! I’m 100% sure that the stock answer to the ‘worst thing about diabetes’ question will be about the needles. The frequency of them, the pain of the jabs or even just needing to have them in the first place. We’ve all heard them and probably said them ourselves for lack of thinking or pure laziness.
But what are the things people don’t tell you that they like or don’t like about have type 1 diabetes?
Let’s kick it off with a positive.
Positive #1 – Hypos.
Oh yeah. Hypos are in the positives. No, I’m not crazy. Yes, I know that they bring horrible symptoms and they prevent you from doing things like walking in a straight line. Or understanding instructions. However, that’s quite handy sometimes isn’t it?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not, I repeat, NOT promoting hypoglycaemia. It can be very dangerous and shouldn’t be induced. But you know when it turns out that they’re doing your all time worst sport in P.E, the one sport that you’re absolutely terrible at….. and then your pre-sports test is suddenly a 3.5? Hypo gold as my dad once said!
Negative #1 – Meeting new people.
I think this is a problem at any age. Introducing type 1 diabetes to new friends or acquaintances is an absolute nightmare. You could end up down playing it to seem like an easy condition that barely affects you at all so they think they can ignore it, when actually you’d like them to acknowledge it and perhaps even help you a little. Or you might over do it a tad, making them think you could collapse any second now and they decide to shove 999 in their favourites. Also a bad idea. Is there an inbetween? How do you explain the difficult and severe but manageable view?!
Positive #2 – Theme parks.
Need I say anymore? Anyone who has been in possession of a fast track pass knows exactly what I’m talking about. You simply can’t refuse skipping queues, fitting in double or even triple the amount of rides you normally could in a day and the glorious feeling of walking past hundreds of poor, unfortunate people waiting for hours in the blazing heat, the many soles of many feet almost on fire and you go to stand right at the front, IN YOUR OWN LANE, ready to hop on the the ride next. HOW COULD YOU POSSIBLY DISLIKE THIS?!?!?!
Negative #2 – the dreaded annual review.
It does sadly need to mentioned here. For me, it is by far the ultimate bad aspect of all bad aspects to diabetes. And I’m not talking about the blood test. I’m talking about the pee sample.
Why?! Why do they put us through this torture?! A. I’m not a person that pees often, so how the hell do they expect me to pee on demand?! B. It’s disgusting handing it over. And embarrassing talking about it. And being handed the pot. Just, ewwwwwww. C. They’re small pots. Really, really small. I swear that I couldn’t even fit my pinkie finger into some of the pots they’ve given me over the years. I’m not joking.
I suppose the only good thing about it is you get to practise your aim. Or ‘test your neurocognitive coordination’ as my doctor put it last time! He then said “actually, that’s a big pot you’ve been given there!” It was 2cm diameter. 2cm!
Positive #3 – Alcohol
I know this isn’t the case for everyone, but I feel like being diabetic makes me a bit more sensible. It’s introduced me to the capabilities of my body and that fact that I’m not necessarily as invincible as I sometimes like to think. I realise that things can go medically wrong, quite quickly at times so I understand that actually it could be me that gets into a sticky situation as a result of drinking, whether I was diabetic or not.
I don’t mean carb counting alcohol or having hypos (don’t get me started on that – it’s a nightmare!) I simply mean that from being diabetic I feel I have a better understanding than some that there is a chance it could be you passing out from extreme alcohol consumption or being so smashed you get into a fight that you lose. Things go wrong and it could happen to anyone. Well, anyone who’s been out partying all night. There’s no such thing as “It wouldn’t be me!” where alcohol (or drugs) are concerned and being diabetic has helped me realise that!
I’m not saying I’ll never ever drink, but I will certainly be much more careful than I expect future friends of mine to be!
Negative #3 – Lucozade and toothpaste
The beautiful combination of Lucozade and toothpaste. I’ve certainly had the not-so-lovely experience of tasting the two together. You see, this never, ever happens before you clean your teeth. Simply because no sane person would choose to add a pinch of mint to the very orange tasting Lucozade! Sadly, I have had more than a few hypos directly after cleaning my teeth. I don’t wish that on any poor person. I don’t even know how to describe it! Orange and mint. Mint and orange. Let’s just say they’ll never make it onto the dessert section of a menu as a couple.
There are many, many more bonuses to diabetes, along with many more downsides. Do you have type 1 diabetes (or are a parent, sibling or friend) and have any pros or cons you’d like to add? Please share them in the comments!