This Is How Diabetes Works, So Okay!

| Right | March 23, 2017

(I am serving two women who have come into the restaurant for lunch. I am taking their order.)

Customer: “Yes, and could you be extra careful with my meal? I’m diabetic, you see.”

Me: “Of course. Just to let you know, we do offer diabetic friendly meals. They had a ‘D’ next to them on the menu—”

Customer: “Yes, thank you. I think I know a little more about diabetes than an idiot-child like yourself who’s probably just left school.”

Me: “Actually, I’m at university, but the reason I say this to you is because I myself suffer from diabetes, and in fact fought for the identification you see on the menu.”

Customer: “You’re diabetic?”

Me: “Yes, miss.”

Customer: “Oh, well. Thank you.”

(She says nothing else so I head for the kitchen; however, I look back before I actually go in and notice the woman dragging her friend out of the door. I don’t understand what happened but ultimately forget about it until a couple of hours later, when her friend comes back in.)

Friend: “Hi, sorry. I’m not sure if you remember me. I was in before with my friend who said she was—” *with air quotes* “—diabetic?”

Me: “Yes, I remember. I saw you leave. I hope it wasn’t anything I said.”

Friend: “Oh, no. It’s just, and I don’t know how to say this kindly: my friend isn’t diabetic.”

Me: “Really?”

Friend: “Yes, she just admitted it. I’ve spent the last month panicking whenever she took a tumble, ‘cause she said ‘attacks’ were common with diabetes. She’s been lying this whole time for special attention. I think she panicked when you said you were, too, and had to come clean.”

Me: “I see.”

Friend: “I’m so sorry.”

Me: “No, it’s all right. It’s just, wow…”

Friend: “She kept saying she had the ‘bad’ kind whenever I asked. I know there’s different kinds, but I didn’t understand what she meant.”

Me: “I don’t know either. There are two kinds, Type 1 and 2, but both have advantages over the other. I have Type 2 and it’s diet controlled, so my body produces insulin, just not enough. I can’t eat anything I want because it would put my glucose up too high for too long. Type 1 is where your body destroys the part of you that makes insulin, so it needs to be delivered a different way, usually injections. Technically you can eat anything you want, as long as you counter it. The drawback is that if it isn’t properly controlled, the damage can be more severe. You’re also more at risk of attacks like your friend said, where your glucose drops below what is needed to function, so you shut down. I’m not at risk of that because I only use the insulin my body makes.”

Friend: *going pale* “Oh, my god. That sounds really serious.”

Me: “It is, but easily manageable. People used to die from it, but now millions of diabetics live normal lives.”

Friend: “I just can’t understand why she would lie like this, with something like that! And I’m so stupid; I just believed her.”

Me: “You aren’t stupid. A lot of people don’t take the time to understand it so there’s a lot of ignorance.”

Friend: “Oh, thank you, and again, I’m sorry. I felt you deserved to know.”

(She left, but I was a bit shaken by the revelation. It was the first time I had ever encountered someone who lied about having diabetes, and hopefully my last.)


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