Language and Diabetes

Laddie_Head SquareToday is hump day and we are halfway through 2016 Diabetes Blog Week. DBW used to last for seven days and I am happy that it has been reduced to five days. Although the topics were handed out ahead of time this year, I wasn’t motivated organized enough to get a head start. By Friday I will be crying “Uncle!”  with sore typing fingers and a brain devoid of ideas. Despite my enjoyment of the international camaraderie of diabetes, I will be ready to get back to popcorn and cable TV. Once again, thanks to Karen Graffeo of Bitter-Sweet™ for abandoning her knitting and cat to run the DBW show.

Today’s Topic:  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.

The problem with words, especially when writing on the Internet and not talking face-to-face, is that what one person hears might not be what the other person thinks she is saying. The hole gets deeper as one person criticizes, the other gets defensive, more words are exchanged, and other people chime in from the sidelines. World wars have been ignited over less.

I do my best to think about what I am writing. For the most part I stay out of arguments. Some people are adamant that right and wrong are polar opposites and easily distinguishable as black and white. I am comfortable living in a the world of gray where most issues are neither completely right nor completely wrong.

That being said, I do have one pet peeve.I am a Person

I hate being called a diabetic (noun). I hate being called diabetic (adjective). I hate being referred to as that old diabetic bag in Room 3. That hasn’t happened…yet.

It is a cumbersome phrase to write, but I am a person with diabetes.

I don’t buy diabetic socks because they are unnecessarily expensive. Socks don’t get diabetes anyway. I don’t buy diabetic foot creams or vitamins for diabetics. Rip-offs for sure. I do however own diabetic pants. These are LLBean cargo pants that have enough pockets to carry my pump, CGM receiver, phone, glucose tabs, Fitbit, and car keys. I revel in the tackiness of calling them diabetic pants and I own a boatload of these slacks. Some have been cropped and hemmed to be capris.

Many people are comfortable being called diabetic. Their decision, not mine. If I edit the writing of a friend or co-blogger, I will flag “diabetic” and suggest substituting “person with diabetes.” But life is too short to go ballistic when someone doesn’t phrase things the way I would.

Call me wishy-washy if you like. I am a person with diabetes who happens to wear diabetic pants.


To read other Diabetes Blog Week posts on this topic, click here.

Life Hacks for Diabetes (and Blogging)

Banner_DBlog Week


Laddie_Head SquareBecause the audience for Diabetes Blog Week is mostly a “With It” crowd, I don’t know whether I have any diabetes tricks that will make my readers think “Aha! What a fabulous idea. I would have never thought of that.” One reason for that is that almost everything I know I learned from the DOC. But many of my readers are also bloggers. So I decided that I would briefly mention a few diabetes tricks and then a few blogging hints. Because I am approaching my one year anniversary of blogging, I’m sure I’m qualified to help those of you who have been doing this for years and years!

Diabetes Related

Pull out the scissors:  A few years ago after I had 2-year period where three or four Medtronic pumps cracked in the exact same place. I was using the Medtronic clip and one rep finally suggested I quit using the clip. They sent me a free leather case which I despised. I started carrying the pump in my pocket with no other protection for it. I hate to sew and just used my scissors to cut holes in my pockets for the tubing to fit through.  I have never had any of these holes fray badly or ruin my pants. So those who think you need reinforced and stitched holes for the tubing. Not true. Just be careful when you cut the hole so that you don’t cut any other part of your outfit. Also, don’t put the hole near the bottom of the pocket because things like car keys and coins will fall out of the pocket and take a ticklish journey down your pant legs. BTW once I quit using the Medtronic clip, I never had a pump case crack again.

Cargo PantsPants with Pockets:  I previously wrote a blogpost about my favorite “diabetes” pants and thought I’d give the link here. As a woman I struggle to find pants with pockets that can hold my pump, CGM, glucose tabs, car keys, and phone. These slacks are perfect for me and  I wear them most of the time. I even bought an extra pair and shortened them to work as capris. Click here to get the information.

FedEx LogoDon’t wait at home:  Most of us order at least some of our supplies and medications by internet order and rely on FedEx and UPS to deliver them to us quickly and in good condition. If you live in Minnesota and are expecting a sensor delivery and it is -10º out, what do UPS Logoyou do when you need to go to work and can’t stay home to receive your package? Or you live in Phoenix and don’t want insulin sitting on your front porch in 115º temperatures. Both FedEx and UPS have programs that give you many options over the delivery of your packages. Click here to read my November post detailing services available from FedEx and UPS.


Blogging Tips

Those of you who read my blog regularly have probably noticed that I use graphics or photographs for every post. The last thing in the world that I am is an artist, but I used to work at Kinkos/FedEx Office in the days when we provided in-store design service for our customers. I learned the basics of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and thoroughly entertain myself by continuing to work in those programs. This winter I purchased my first Apple computer and am slowly trying to wean myself from my Windows design programs. I think that Pixelmator at $14.99 will be a good replacement for Photoshop. I’ve been told that Sketch will replace Illustrator, but I haven’t taken the plunge at $79.99. I’m going to throw out a couple of ideas that you can use for adding graphics to your posts.

Text as Art:  I often use text as the basis for a graphic. I am cheap and there is no way that I am going to spend money buying fonts to use in my blog which nets me zero money. My absolutely favorite site for downloading free fonts is Font Squirrel which bills itself as Free Font Utopia. You can browse through categories and find some really great fonts to download. It’s easy to download fonts and if you don’t know how, just Contact Me through my blog and I’ll help you. If you want to see some Font-based graphics, click here and here.

Clip-art:  So far I have not been able to abandon Windows and live in a totally Mac world. My best source of clip-art is through Microsoft Word. Under the Insert Tab, click on Clipart and you will have access to a huge library of free clip-art. I use this clip-art on my blog as well as for fun personal documents. In my Mac world I have not found a lot of free clip-art. I bought PrintMaster for $40 and it has a lot of clip-art. But I keep going back to the desktop and Windows. I have an iPhone, an iPad, a MacBook Pro, and a Windows Desktop. I use all four devices every day.