Very Old, Very Healthy Diabetic

...or die trying.
I was diagnosed in 1998 at the age of 33 with NIDDM or Type 2 diabetes. I come from a diabetic clan. I even married a diabetic. Are you on the diabetes road, too?
This is my goal: to become a very old, very healthy diabetic by day to day choices regarding eating, exercise and medical management. Walk along with me...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

My Naivete

(And no, I don't know how to get the accent displayed on that last e, as it should be)

I continue to be dismayed by the Portland Police Bureau's use of a stun gun to subdue Ms. Brandi Hess, who was experiencing a diabetic episode. Yes, I know she was combative and striking the officers and medical personnel. Yes, I am very happy that she got the medical help she needed and is still alive. Yes, I am very glad that she was not beaten, nor sat upon by a 250 lb. officer, nor had ribs broken, etc. I am very happy that she was not shot. I am happy that she does not have brain damage.

I do not think the police were wrong to assist her in receiving medical aid. I do not think that Brandi was wrong in her management of her diabetes. I'm not blaming either of them. I wasn't there.

But I do wish it had happened differently.

After a little more research (maybe that should be the title of my blog), I learned that this sort of thing is not that uncommon. Probably every 6-12 months, some poor diabetic, behaving erratically as a result of diabetes, somewhere in the USA has an encounter with the police or authorities, where she or he is beaten or subdued in a manner which seems excessive to me. Sometimes, the diabetic dies. Sometimes, somebody sues. Here's a story about a driver who crashed, suspected of being drunk, was actually low. Here's another story. And another.

I learned that if you do searches for news including the words "diabetic" and "police", you will find some pretty sad things, such as this story about Hallie Shanklin's mother being convicted for Hallie's death. And that's not even going back very far.

I'm not sure what to think about finding out that I am, at nearly 42, still so naive and hopeful to think that a person with diabetes can receive good medical care without being beaten or tasered or blamed for poor diabetes self-management. I don't like to think that injury at the hands of the authorities is one of the possible side effects or complications of diabetes (type 1 or type 2).

I like my hope. I like to think that the world can be a good place to be. And I will continue to look for examples of people being kind and helpful to others. And I'll keep trying to be a wonderful person who is kind and helpful to others. Somedays I do it. Sometimes not so much.

I find, for me, that it's hard to be kind when my feet hurt. Maybe the police officers were responding out of their pain, rather than out of their compassion. Not unreasonable.

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  • At 9:41 AM, Blogger MileMasterSarah said…

    This is very good. My mom warned me when I started driving to be careful about not driving when I am low. She said that police officers may pull you over and mistake you for being drunk, and you won’t get the help you need. She also said that if your blood sugars are high when you are pulled over, your breath may smell like you have been drinking. It is too bad that these things happen, all these stories you posted.

  • At 5:37 PM, Blogger cass said…

    i didn't know it was so common! it is surprising! and for 17 years, after THINKING i have experienced it all... i guess i really haven't. scary to think this could happen to me.

    i don't consider it poor diabetes managament at all though. it is just a part of daily diabetes life. you can never please them all. trying to keep your a1c low invites frequent lows. of course a lower a1c is what is considered GOOD control. so, if it's not one thing it is another.

    very frightening stuff. i haven't been quite so aware of this side of diabetes. diabetics in the same category as mental illnesses, etc.


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