Diabetes Pet Peeves

March 25, 2006 at 12:22 pm | Posted in The Sweet Life | 30 Comments

A little diabetes blog game as I am feeling diabetically peevish and very procrastinatory today. Here are ten of my own personal Diabetes Pet Peeves (DPPs). Between now and next Sunday, please add your own peeves to the comments. Next Sunday, I’ll post the BIG LIST of DPPs. Then you pick your ten favorites and put them in order. I will tabulate the top ten and post it the following Sunday.

If you’re not diabetic (or in some way a member of the diabetes-world) and you happen to be reading this, you can participate too! Please do tell us, what did you learn from reading this?

Art-Sweet’s Diabetes Pet Peeves (DPPs)

  • Diabetes “Drive-Bys” – “Should you really be eating that? I thought diabetics weren’t supposed to eat sugar? Would you like a piece of fruit instead of that nice luscious chocolate cake?”

Educational notes for those readers not familiar with Type 1 diabetes:

If someone uses a pump or a sliding scale regimen, they can eat whatever the hell [consult your doctor please, this is not medical advice, blah blah blah] they please, as long as they bolus for it with additional insulin. We all ought to eat healthy well-balanced meals, but that goes for you too, my friendly Person Without Diabetes reader. And a piece of fruit or a glass of juice contains simple carbohydrates, which can cause blood sugar to spike more rapidly than that yummy cake you’re judging me for eating. And oh yeah: do you really think you’re being helpful? Unless you know me well enough to know that I personally am on a diet and have no business eating cake, asking me if I should be eating cake is being pushy.

  • “Shooting up” jokes. D’you REALLY think I haven’t heard that one before? Do you really think it’s funny? Do you really think I enjoy it when you associate something that I HAVE to do with taking illegal drugs? No, I didn’t think so. Gosh, you were just trying to be funny? Well, you weren’t funny.
  • The Case of the Disappearing Insulin Bottle/Meter/Finger Sticker/You Name It. It is a rule, that the warmer and snugger in bed you are and the readier you are to fall asleep, the more likely it is that some aspect of your diabetes paraphernalia will be downstairs on the dining room table.
  • The Case of the Appearing Syringes/Test Strips/You Name It. It is a rule that, the more you do not want your purse to pop open and disgorge syringes all over the floor in front of a new co-worker, the more likely it is to start spitting bloody test strips and used syringes everywhere.
  • Diabetes Horror Stories. Your Aunt/Grandma/Cousin/ Neighbor had a leg amputated? Went on dialysis? Crashed his car because he had a “diabetic fit” while driving? I’m very sorry for him/her and his/her family. But why do you think I would want to hear about this?
  • Confusion of Type 1/Type 2: “Can’t you just take a pill for that?” Um, if I could, doncha think I would?
  • “So, I guess your mom must have given you too much candy as a kid, huh?” Yup. It’s all her fault. And I’m so glad you think it’s okay to take potshots at my family. For the record, type I is an auto-immune disease that has nothing to do with sugar consumption… blah blah blah canned speech.
  • “Ooooh! You have to take shots? (gasp). I could never do that.” Yes, you could. And you would if your life depended on it.
  • Eating to exercise. I would like to lose weight. In order to do this, I need to exercise. Frequently, I have to eat in order to exercise. This seems ridiculously self-defeating. (yes, I know that a glass of juice is less calories then I’m going to burn, that I could avoid this with the pump. I do not want advice. I am venting. This is a pet peeve.)
  • That Lantus and Humalog cannot be mixed in the same syringe.


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  1. Oh, boy. I am not diabetic, but I do hear you.
    When I was a child my mother used to threaten me that if I ate too much sugar I would get diabetes. (She based this piece of medical advice on the fact that her grandfather did develop Type 2 in his older years. These are the people who thought sour cream was a health food, to give you some sense of what diet must have been like.)
    Being a child, however, I developed a terror that every time I ate something sweet (and I do have a sweet tooth) I might develop a disease that would involve never again eating anything sweet. I have diary entries from 2nd/3rd grade in which I worry about getting diabetes, but do not spell it correctly.
    Disease is just disease, is what I say.

  2. Well, I’m new to this (my daughter was just diagnosed with type 1 last week) but I already have a couple of pet peeves.

    1) People who say, “Oh, my uncle has diabetes. It’s not that big a deal. He controls it through diet and exercise.”

    2) “She probably got it because she’s run down from partying at college.”

  3. Ugh–I’m so with you on the eating to exercise business. VERY frustrating. And I’m on a pump, and the eating isn’t so easy to avoid, either. Or else treating a reaction during what would otherwise be a great workout.

  4. Ooooooh, where do I start?

    1. Test strips that don’t work.

    2. When I have to prick myself two or three times to get even the tiny blood sample required by a freestyle, and end up bruising.

    3. That quicksets won’t work in my stomach, so I end up using my hips all the time.

    4. The idea I’ve heard in new mother circles that immunizations cause diabetes. Right. That must have been why the ancient greeks and romans never had it … oh, wait.

    5. When my insulin pump runs out of insulin 20 minutes after I’ve finished eating lunch at work. Yes, if I’d been monitoring more carefully I would have realized that it was the 10 unit alarm I heard this morning, not the 20 unit alarm. But I didn’t, and now I have to go home and refill the damned thing.

    6. “Oh, you have an insulin pump? I guess your diabetes must be really bad then, eh?”

    7. Trying to figure out where to put the !^#@# thing when I’m wearing a skirt. Or, what actually happens, never wearing anything without pockets because there’s nowhere to put my pump.

    8. Catching the tubing on a doorknob and having it pull out.

    9. The Canadian Diabetes Association trying to classify us as “disabled” for income tax purposes.

  5. My biggest PP is similar to the one you said about said person not being able to do shots.

    I got this from my sister-in-law who has kids:

    “Aw, I don’t know how you give Brendon shots. I don’t think I could do that.”

    I told her, “If the alternative is death, then yes you can give your child shots, asswipe.” (I really didn’t say asswipe, but I so wanted to).

  6. Oh, look. An opportunity to rant. Let me up on that soap box, please.

    1. New reports (yeah, I’m lookin’ at you, local NPR affiliate) that don’t differentiate between type 1 and type 2.

    2. News reports that make type 2 seem like you have type 2 because you’re a fat, lazy slob who eats chips and drinks soda all day. Not. Always. True.

    3. Having to do the spiel to people over and over and over and over again. And then do it once more. I’m so sick of the spiel, but it pisses me off so much when people have the facts wrong. and they ALWAYS have them wrong. Always.

    4. Being told that if I just did thus-and-so or just gave Oliva thus-and-so, she’d be fine.

    5. Hearing people say, upon being told that Olivia has diabetes and pumps, “Oh, she has the bad kind then?” There’s a good kind? I’ll alert the media.

    People are stupid and piss me off on a regular basis. The ignorance about diabetes, type 1 and type 2, is just staggering and infuriates me. Today more than usual.

    Shannon – I had a friend say the exact same thing to me. My answer? “Well, you’d better hope Amanda doesn’t get it because if you can’t give her shots, she’ll be dead.” Shut her right the hell up.

  7. I’m probably repeating what has already been said, but here goes…

    You ate way too much sugar as a child and now are paying for it…

    Bad infusion sites/sets…leading to sky hi BS

    Dealing with HIGH BS that isn’t due to the site, and spending time changing everything you can think of and still no solution. Grrr…

    Gaining weight when you are doing everything to prevent that…

    Trying to find the right basals and bolus rates….DAMN TRIAL AND ERROR!

    I could go on, but I won’t 🙂

  8. 1) Batteries dying in the middle of the night.
    2) Relatives only asking “How’s the diabetes?” – um, hello, I’m a person here, not a disease!!! How about asking how I am
    3) Getting errors because you couldn’t get enough blood onto the strip fast enough
    4) Being denied just about all forms of insurance that require a health exam
    5) Any comment about “Should you eat that?”
    6) (because I also have PCOS) – The more you weigh, the more insulin you need, the more insulin you need, the more weight you put on and up and up the scale keeps going
    7) Having to interrupt my “normal” life because of something in my “diabetic” life

  9. Ditto to all of that – I think it covers my pet peeves – especially about eating and family/friends asking how the diabetes is… grrr…

    To expand a little on Julia’s item: Not just news reports – ANYTHING reported in the general public that doesn’t differentiate between T1 and T2.

  10. Thank you for the Diabetes “Drive-Bys” info. I have a friend with a pump and I always ask him about sugar when he eats it.

    How uninformed and irritating of me!!!!

    I will officially never do that again.

  11. Oh yes! Brilliant! You, and those who have already commented, have captured almost all that I hate most about diabetes.

    I really don’t think I have anymore to add.

  12. When I was diagnosed with type 2, a coworker responded “Hey, that’s what my mother just died of. It’s a slow death. You’ll be lucky to make it 20 years!”

    Gee, thanks.

  13. OMG, these are all so true. Both the post and the comments. All. So. True. I hate getting errors when testing. I hate stupid comments about food a shooting up.

    I echo all the ones said so far, and add a few:

    1. When I have high bs I am starved. When I have low bs I just want to throw up. No fair!

    2. People saying I fake low bs so I can eat/no exercise.

    3. Insurance woes

    4. Carrying all the crap with me

    5. Low bs right as I am about to go to sleep

    6. Random highs that take 3 corrections to bring down

    7. People who say they know the “cure” to diabetes, and it turns out to be some quack or diet and exercise.

  14. Where to start?

    The common thought that PWD’s cannot eat anything with sugar. I don’t comment on what you eat, so don’t offer me your comments on what I eat!

    All the freaking paraphernalia & medical waste!!! With all my diabetes stuff how can I carry a cute little purse?

    Always having to wonder if it is the diabetes making me feel like crap or is it just me?

    People offering advice about alternative treatments to help my diabetes.

  15. My mom has type II. I’m wondering why it took so long for someone to diagnose her diabetes. Now there are heart problems and kidney damage on top. I have to cook for her. She has lost 65 pounds in the last year and a half and we have been able to decrease blood pressure medicine and diabetes medication.

    Here is the Peeve: Why do low carb foods that have taste have to be so high in saturated fat? Can’t someone make a low-carb, fat free dressing or some kind of dessert that tastes good enough for her to enjoy.

    She tells me that when she is on her death bed and there is no hope for recovery, she wants a large piece of chocolate cake.

    I am running out of ideas. Use the low glycemic index foods and still running out of ideas.

    Oh, yeah. Here from Michele.

  16. i’m not diabetic but i understand… it’s a little like when you are on a diet. people think they have the right to ask “should you be eating that?” i always WANT to say MYOB but i just can’t let myself be rude back to them.

  17. My dad has diabetes type 2, so I know a little bit about this. People can be so tactless and ignorant…*sigh*. here via Michele’s!

  18. I would like to echo what the others have said however my BIGGEST diabetic pet peeve is that doctors and health care providers think that EVERYTHING that is wrong with you or might possibly be wrong has to do with Diabetes.
    Hello I can get a hang nail or a broken toe just like everyone else.
    Similiar pet peeve in that when I am grouchy or sad people ask me “Should you check your BG”? Maybe you are high, maybe you are low. Bites my ass when they don’t have a clue but want to keep tabs on me. Guess what I am grouchy because I have a hundred things on my mind and I don’t have time to chit chat with you. I test 18 hundred thousand times a day I think I know when I need to test.
    I have hundreds of peeves but those sneaky test strips, how do they end up everywhere? I awear they have their own feet. I find them EVERYWHERE, not just in places where I check my BG.

  19. Interesting and enlightening. I don’t have diabetes, though I have an understanding of the difference between types I and II (my paternal grandmother, and now my dad have type II).

    Thanks for the mention of the sliding scale, etc., I didn’t know about that (though when I’ve seen the diabetics I know eating a sweet or drinking wine, I’ve kept my mouth shut, figuring they must know what they’re doing).

    In regards to cute purses (mentioned by Melissa): I have a friend with diabetes who designed and developed these purses specifically for diabetics:


    I bought one for my 2nd IVF cycle, and now a friend is borrowing it for her cycle, it seemed pretty cool. (Not trying to give annoying advice, though, really!!) 😉

  20. Oh, boy, a lot of mine here too, especially being asked “How’s the diabetes?” I’ve taken to replying “Still there.” If it goes away, I’ll tell you.

    Also people who don’t know the difference between types 1 and 2 – especially health care professionals – sick of going in for a sore throat or whatever and having the nurse say “But you’re so skinny” or the dr trying to give me sugar-free vitamins so they don’t affect my “diabetes diet”.

    People who say “Maybe you had it all along, and just found out.” No, it was quite dramatic, thank you, if I’d had it all along I think I would have noticed.

    Not being able to tell if a bottle of insulin is bad other than injecting and waiting to see what happens.

    Finding half-chewed test strips all over the house from the dog or cat.

    Being really stuffed after a huge dinner and going low – that juice box seems like the one thin after dinner mint from the Monty Python skit.

    Being told it was brought on by stress, not eating right, etc, etc.

    The exploding test strip case — which never seems to happen in my own house.

    Being asked “Isn’t there some kind of herbal supplement you can take for that? I mean what do people in China do for diabetes?” They take insulin. Or they die.

    The cat attacking my tubing.

    Having to go on a comping trip with my son and either lugging a huge purse with me, or wearing a fly-fishing vest full of juice, test strips, etc. (I don’t mind if I’m where only my family can see me, but with a group of other parents I feel like a dork).

    Any kind of report that displays ignorance of this disease. My HR person at work just sent out a memo telling people if their BMI is too high they can get diabetes and heart disease… with a helpful link to a BMI calculator. I really wanted to send it back to her asking her to stop making ignorant discrimanatory comments about my life which I consider workplace harassment and cc the company president.

    Wanting to eat dinner and discovering I’m 325.

    Wanting to sleep and discovering I’m 50.

    Wanting to drive home but having to wait for the juice to take effect.


  21. I have another pet peeve. When TV shows or movies do not portray a type 1 diabetic accurately.

    I was watching Law and Order SVU the other night and a 6 yr old girl with Type 1 was being stalked by a guy. When she was being questioned by a detective, she told the detective she wanted juice. The mom was watching on the other side of the window and said that she asks for juice if she feels low. Then the mom goes in the room and gives her juice…did she check her, NO!! She just gave her the juice.

    Then the girl is kidnapped by a woman who thinks she’s her daughter. The detectives figure out where she is. Does an ambulance accompany them to rescue the girl? NO!! They run in, and ask the girl if she’s feeling OK. How long was she without insulin for Christ’s sake!!

    Then in the courtroom, the prosecuter is questioning the girl and she starts crying and gets all stressed out. They let her off the stand and she runs to her mom. Does the mom check her to make sure she isn’t so stressed that her numbers spike or drop? NO!!! She just gives her a hug.

    Why bother using diabetes in a storyline if you’re not going to portray it properly.

  22. Wow! I guess I’m not the only one feeling peevish these days. Please keep on commenting – I’ll post the BIG LIST for voting next Sunday.

    And of course, I had to add another peeve of my own.

    “Oh, but you get used to it right?” Usually said with regard to taking shots, as if that was the worst part of diabetes. Answering “no” to this is like saying “well, actually, I’m miserable” to “how are you?”

  23. Wow most everything I could offer is already here.
    I do however absolutely hate when medical staff have no clue. When the pediatrician did an UA on Daniel and of course it came back with an amount of sugar, he actually asked me if that was a normal level. The school nurse is convinced that Daniel can NEVER have dessert or chocolate milk.
    It also drives me insane when other parents say negative and ignorant things about diabetes which cause their children to be afraid to play with my child or become bullies.
    How about when you send free foods to school for snack so your child does not spike and the teacher insists he needs pretzels so he will have something crunchy.
    Ok I will stop now.

  24. I related to everything on your list! I think that goes to show that people are not very unique! They ask the same dumb questions all over the country (and probably the world!)

    1) I’d add to the type 1/type 2 confusion my anger at media/commercials for saying
    “diabetes” whem they mean type 2. Now, when people see me doing my shots they say things like “Oh you’re already on insulin” implying that I must have type 2 and just took really poor care of it! So frustrating!!

    2) Not getting enough blood on the Freestyle Flash strip… then I’ll add more which it rejects (even though you’re supposed to be able to add blood for 1 minute) and then you’ve wasted a strip!

    3) I’ve dropped two vials of insulin on the ground and they shattered. One was when I was at my mom’s (800 miles from my current home) for my bridal shower. I had to go to a Rite-Aid and have them call in the prescription from San Diego. This was the first drop and shatter incident and I only had one vial of Lantus with me. (The second was on this Saint Patrick’s Day…I was a bit tipsy!)

  25. My 3 year old has D, and I can so relate to a lot of these. “He must have eaten too much sugar” (Ah, no, he wasn’t allowed soda or anything like that pre-diagnosis.) “Should he be eating that?” (No, he shouldn’t. I’m just trying to kill him.) What are these people thinking? or” My family member has D. They are on dialysis and have had one of their legs amputated.” (Thank you for the encouraging words.)

    I’m a nurse and the one that really wants to make my head explode is “You’re lucky you’re a nurse and know what to do” Really the only thing about being a nurse that was any different was I didn’t have to be taught how to draw up and give insulin, but giving it to your child and to a patient are two totally different things. It just seems so insensitive, like because I’m a nurse, the fact that Riley had D doesn’t bother me or it makes it easier.

  26. I wondered whether to even post this … but one of my personal pet peeves is whining. So friends ask how your diabetes is coming along when they see you — so what? They are showing that you are important enough to them that they will remember that you have D, and will show concern if you had any unpleasant episodes.

    Purses? Just leave the paraphernalia at home for a day. Then, tell me again how awful it is to have to lug a purse around.

    People being clueless about the difference between type 1 and type 2? Educate them. If they do not learn, give them the four-hour explanation. I guarantee they will not make that mistake again.

    Now if you need something to get all riled up about, S.1955 would be a good topic.


  27. This post has been removed by the author.

  28. (Sorry for that delete, my sentence didn’t make any sense!)

    I’m not diabetic, but I completely sympathize with the problem of having to hear to dumbass, unhelpful, and insensitive remarks. Vent away, girl!

  29. Oh my God, my sentence still didn’t make sense. I give up 😉

  30. Mini Elevators

    Diabetes Pet Peeves | Artificially Sweetened

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