Sometimes Do We Do the Very Thing……..We DO NOT Want Done to Us?????

Say whatI had heard it before; this time I wanted to know why?

When I was in a discussion recently and was discussing the life of having two kids with T1 diabetes; it was said to me again.

“My aunt has diabetes and had her leg amputated.  She died, relatively, very young.”

Normally I say to myself, “Say What?—-WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU SAY THAT?”  This time I wanted to learn so I tried a different approach.

“I am not trying to be rude, but I am a writer and would like to ask you something, may I?:


“Why would you think I need to know that fact?”

Without a beat the person said, “I stated it because she never took care of herself, I hope your kids don’t do the same.”

The discussion moved on to how she did not mean to offend and I thanked her for her candor and our discussion continued in a different direction.

When people have said this to me over the years, it annoyed me, but this woman’s answer was interesting to me and here’s why.

How many times have we read people stating they are in the middle of a crisis and they seek what to do; but the answers are just as reflected of the person’s bad experiences as they are giving advice.  The woman I was speaking to, had good intentions and I’m not saying that each time that line was said to me over the years was also meant the same way.

Now many will say that by sharing their experience they hope to help the person asking for help.  Understood.  Experience helps others if action steps are also included how the situation came to resolve and there surely is help knowing others know your pain.

When someone is going through something, especially if the situation is just beginning; if one has advice that may help that is medically sound; great.  But we might also be better off only letting the person know that we have been there and know their pain and skip to helping solve the problem than sharing the specific ‘horror-story’ details until later, if ever.

If I’m having a problem with, let’s say, my child’s pump.  Let’s say my child is on day one and there is a problem.  It might be a better option to state, if anything, a possible solution to what I am going through and leave off the point that because of a malfunction you ended up in the hospital with your child throwing up for the next 18 hours.

I think it may be important to share your story at some point but in the middle of a crisis, I would be looking for a solution and not necessarily looking to hear a story with a different result than I am hoping.  I’m sure I have shared a horror story or two that we have been through that I probably should have thought an extra second before sharing. 

I get the point that sharing knowledge is important but just like the woman who meant good by telling me about her aunt, it is not necessarily something I wanted, nor needed, to hear AT THAT MOMENT.

It is the ‘AT THAT MOMENT’ where I believe, sometimes, we may want to take another second before a point is shared.  By asking ourselves, ‘what does this person NEED to hear right now’, might be a great guide to help them more than anything else.

But this is my opinion, what’s yours?  Please share how much information one needs to share when trying to help someone else?

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.


10 replies on “Sometimes Do We Do the Very Thing……..We DO NOT Want Done to Us?????”

I wonder if a lot of people only know that a person had diabetes because of the complications. My aunt had Type 1 and she has a lot of complications and I feel that was my perception of diabetes until my son was diagnosed and I started meeting “normal” healthy people with Type 1. I never saw my aunt check her bg or inject insulin, she was very private about it, all I saw were the bad things caused by high blood sugar.
Our neighbor was diagnosed last year as an adult and I felt that it was important to offer support and someone to answer questions, not horror stories, but then again I’m a D-Mom, not an average person when it comes to this topic. You have made me wonder about how I respond to other crisis…I think I will be more thoughtful when responding to another’s crisis…at least I hope!

I am 24 years old and was diagnosed with T1 3 years ago and I’ve come across plenty of people who tell me the complications of diabetes and also if they know someone who was effected because of diabetes. It is very scary to hear these things and think about your future and what could possibly happen. even though I am on top of my diabetes there will always be times when my sugar is too high or too low, it’s hard (for me at least) to keep it perfect all the time. so honestly I think it is better not to hear these stories (especially if they are from people who don’t know a lot about the disease). But I will say anyone who does have diabetes should most definitely keep track of it, it’s crazy to think people choose not to give themselves insulin or check there blood sugar!

It is crazy to think that peopel do not…..I am still at a loss why people seem compelled to tell us of the horrid things taht happened to their family or even why their dog as been diagnosed as if that is the same thing. Thanks for writing.

Something similar to this happens with pregnancy also. When people find out you are pregnant they almost compulsively begin to tell you horrible labor and delivery stories. I’ve had to stop myself from doing the same thing! Why? Because they (we) are looking for a common point of reference. “You are pregnant? Hey, I’ve been pregnant! Let me tell you all about it!” In a way, it is no different from telling people you are from the state of Michigan. What do people do? They start asking if you know other people from the same state or telling you about their family vacation there in 1976. It is all about the shared experience, and finding a connecting experience.

so true on all accounts. the same I guess when a couple is married for a few years and people start asking about a family—-it is none of their business. I had a friend of mine who had a fabulous answer when people asked them when they were going to start a family (they chose not to have children) and she would say; “….we’re not; want to ask any more personal questions, like why?”

Stopped them right in their tracks EVERY time.

I try my best to not be offended when someone shares their horror stories. But I have had several bad experiences happen in the presence of my grandson. He was diagnosed at 20 months old, six years ago. I once had a woman tell me about her relative that went blind. He overheard the conversation and had nightmares about losing his eyes. On another occasion, a gentlemen spoke of his wife’s leg amputation. This happened again in the presence of a 6 year old with very ” big ears”. So I only would ask that if someone wants to share their experiences, please be aware of who else is listening. I hope to protect him from all the grisly facts of diabetes until he is older.

I have been T1D for over 47 years. I have 3 healthy grown children and one very active grandson. I try my best to keep good control, but still go high and low. I however try my best to look at the source that the comment comes out of and try my best to ignore it. I have been told right out that I would go blind and I even had one woman tell me that by-pass surgery is a cure for T1D. Silly me, I guess I should have had that done when I was diagnosed at 2.

I have had similar comments made to me about “the aunt” with the amputated leg or blind in her left eye. And I have to be honest when I say that I always got very upset and my reaction and response were not very nice. I guess it’s the natural protective instinct that is in every parent. I thank you so much for posting this because it never occurred to me that the ignorance could come not so much from lack of knowledge but actually the negative knowledge that they do have. Next time I will take into account that they might not know a diabetic but maybe not one like my daughter and I will take the time to tell them how sorry I am that “aunt” lost her leg and or her vision. But I will do everything in my power to continue to guide and educate my self and my daughter to prevent such a tragedy.

I guess also it is to do with people’s inability to know what the “accepted” response is. Most people are so totally ignorant (“He’ll grow out of it won’t he?” – one of my favourites) but they want to somehow show a sort of empathy. And of course the horror stories will be rife as aunts, uncles, the man next door etc who are older with diabetes didn’t have the same technology available to measure bloods or inject insulin or pump… however when comments like that are made within earshot of my 9 year old I tend to talk over them. I guess also it is a chance for us T1 parents to educate… The other comment I loathe is the “X has diabetes and is 25 and is fine.” People don’t see what happens behind closed doors. He/She may be “fine” to the average Joe, but who knows really if they are “fine” inside and as to longer term damage…. they don’t know? Well meaning again, but what do you say to a parent of a T1 child if you don’t understand it? Education, education, education!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *