Education Is Key…

Most people are of the opinion that their medical history is private; something to be shared only with immediate family and medical practitioners. In most circumstances, this can make sense. After all, who needs to know the intimate details of your health condition and what the symptoms and problems associated with said condition may be? Honestly? Everyone. The correct answer is everyone.

I’m well beyond what can be considered conventional. Not only in matters of health, but with life in general. Unlike the previous paragraph, my personal policy has been full disclosure. Full disclosure with family. Full disclosure with friends. Definitely full disclosure with employers. Not only has this prevented a number of awkward questions throughout the years, it’s truthfully saved my life on a few occasions as well.

There’s always an exception to every rule. Even if it’s always been my personal policy, people who have been aware of my condition have gone out of their way to ignore it. I’m not talking about something straightforward like blaming my bad mood on high blood sugar. I’m referring to something more obvious and definite. this is where I’m reminded of my 11th grade French teacher…

During the 1994-95 school year, I was 17 years old and full of the same raging hormones and issues as any red-blooded teenager. Bad acne, oily skin and a singular focus on the female gender… oh, yeah! And Type-1 Diabetes! I was on two types of insulin, a fast-acting and long-acting, delivered by way of manual injection via insulin pens. I didn’t have the level of control that I have these days, especially since I was pretty much a morose, semi-goth kid who just didn’t give a shit.

I was in 11th grade French, trying to keep my eyes open during class. I likely SHOULD have recognized the symptoms, but my blood began to drop dramatically. Looking back on it now, knowing what I know, I can only assume that my initial dose of fast-acting insulin was too much for the amount of carbohydrates I had ingested at breakfast (if I had eaten any at all). I got dizzy and disoriented and wound up setting my head down on the desk and closing my eyes. I soon fell asleep at my desk.

Now I don’t know about you, but in most classrooms I’ve ever been in, teachers will take serious offence and wake any student they find passing out during their lectures. Despite the fact that teenagers have hormonal and growth imbalances that make them prone to falling asleep in class, teachers usually get pissed about it. It’s just human nature; I’d probably take offence if someone fell asleep during my lectures as well.

The point is, I was unconscious in class and my teacher was ignoring it. She knew I had Type-1 Diabetes and she also knew that I wasn’t the typical type of student who usually DID sleep in class. Common sense would dictate that she’d have assumed there was a problem. She should have halted her lecture and come over to check on me and see if there was a problem. But she didn’t. She let me be and continued on with her lesson. Bitch.

All the while, my blood kept dipping lower and lower, to the light knows how low of a level. When class was done and the lunch bell rang, one of my classmates walked over and shook me awake. He would be the one who would ultimately tell me that most people in class took notice of my passing out, but the teacher didn’t intervene. Given the nature of pack mentality, everyone figured that if the teacher didn’t care, why should they?

I staggered my way to the lunch line and got some food and made my way to a table, pretty much on autopilot. Once I had some carbohydrates floating into my system, I fell asleep in the cafeteria, from genuine exhaustion as opposed to low blood sugar. Dropping or climbing to extremes is incredibly tiring on the body. I missed the first period after lunch, until one of the cafeteria staff found me and roused me. I made the rest of my afternoon classes then walked home.

This gives you an idea of the kind of difficulties I’ve dealt with, even when I’ve TOLD the involved parties about my condition. Imagine the difficulties I’ve had with the people who have had no fuckin’ clue? This is why it’s SO important to get over your insecurities and share the specifics of your condition with the people around you. It could potentially save your life.

What would you prefer? Keeping your Diabetes history to yourself and private or providing others with information that under the right circumstance, could potentially save your life. Ultimately, the choice is up to you. But it’s definitely food for thought. Everyone nowadays is absolutely obsessed with their privacy. And with good reason, I think. But it stands to reason that there are some things that you shouldn’t keep to yourself; especially when it relates to your health and well-being. ☯

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Shawn

I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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