Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Language and Diabetes

Diabetes Blog Week Post:  Language and Diabetes - Wednesday 5/18 Link List.
There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I'm willing to bet we've all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don't care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let's explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.

I have never been overly sensitive about what you call testing or checking your blood sugar. I have never really cared much about how it pronounced either but I think that is mostly due to the fact that I have had Type 1 Diabetes for 36 years this month. I know I find that the longer I have it the less sensitive in many ways I am about it. The part that does get me in an uproar is when they give out incorrect information about Diabetes. I am extremely sensitive about how they word and how they write about complications. I know people who have complication who have tried and they did the best they could but there is no guarantees when it comes to Diabetes.

 I know I work just as hard as anyone else does but when I walk into a Dr.'s office they automatically at time will label you as uncompliant or assume you don't work at keeping you numbers in a decent range. I know we all have stories and experiences. I hate the word uncompliant more than any other word associated with Diabetes. It to me as the patient not want to try our hardest because our own physician does not even had the confidence in our ability to handle our condition.

I know the word uncompliant has shown up in my medical records even thought I tested frequently had an in range Alc , logged my numbers, counted carbs and used a Dexcom CGM. I know the word uncompliant should never be used to describe a patient. I know patients do read them and also other physicians and medical personnel do as well. So it really sets a patient up for failure by using such a word that has so much bad associated with the that word. I am sure the Dr. see that term and makes assumptions that might be very untrue an could affect you treatment as the patient.

I know we sadly only see Dr.'s for several minutes each visit so when a new physician sees you they may not offer options they offer to what they would consider a compliant patient or they might feel like they are wasting there time on you as the patient. I know my last Endocrinologist did list me as a compliant patient which was wonderful to see because I do work so hard. I do get mad when just because you have a complication you are automatically considered uncompliant. This set your relationship with the Dr. up for failure because they have not taken the time to find out your story or your background. I wish Dr. would never use the term when referring to any patient in the future. It does not help the Dr. or the patient.

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