I know we have a thread where we detail annoying experiences we've had with people who don't understand type 1, but since I got some nice comments today, I figured I'd start a thread for some nicer experiences as well. :)
Anyway, I was at college today when one of my classmates came up to me just prior to class and asked if the machine on my hip was an insulin pump. I admitted it was, and I told her I was a type 1. Normally I give a small explanation of what type 1 is when people ask me that question, but today, I figured I'd see if she knew what I was going on about, lol. Well, not only did she know the difference, but she told me how her grandmother lived to be 93 with the disease after having been diagnosed as a teen. She also said, "I bet you get annoyed when people don't know the difference between the two main types and think it is always caused by poor diet!" I smiled and agreed knowingly, lol. I also added how it's not even fair for type 2s because not all of them are overweight even though that's a risk factor for developing the disease.
So yeah, it was so nice to meet someone who actually understands our situation and doesn't spout off misinformation. :)
I guess the best I can say is that I've met some people who were really interested in learning about the differences between the types of diabetes, which has given me a chance to do some edumacating... Sarah's friends have been really supportive, and she's gotten opportunities she otherwise wouldn't have (like singing a song to all the walkers before the local diabetes walk).
But for the most part people seem reasonably detached because it doesn't affect them. She goes about her business of testing, carb counting and bolusing with little positive or negative results. But hey, we're only 7 months in, ask me again in a year... :-)
Glad to hear of some others who have been willing to learn. :)
But, I suppose you are right - like most things in life, people aren't really that concerned if it doesn't affect them. That actually doesn't bother me so much - it's the vocal types who don't know their diabeteses (diabetii? lol) who cause the most frustration.
I had a positive experience with my best bud (at the time we were just newly acquainted though) when he first found out about my diabetes. He had absolutely no idea what it meant when he found out I had T1 Diabetes, but he was determined to find out. But, he was too shy to ask me about it. He also later told me that he didn't want to seem "dumb" in front of me. So, he did all this research about Diabetes on his own before approaching the subject with me. When my diabetes finally came up in conversation, he wasn't so ignorant about it. LOL! Now, he is a biochemist or something like that (I'm not sure of his exact job title, but it's very scientific - hahaha) and he still continues to research on his own about T1 Diabetes. In fact, he researches it so much, that he has even educated me as to what exactly is happening in my body. He's educated me about how insulin works and what it is specifically. I mean, I know the simple version, but he explained it all to me scientifically. However, as great as he was explaining it to me like the best science teacher you can have to where you actually understand what they are saying, I cannot repeat the explanation back. LOL! It all just makes sense in my head. I'd have to get him to email it to me or something so I can post it here. It's fascinating stuff really.
Another positive experience I had recently was when I was waiting for my husband to meet me for dinner after work one day and while I was sitting in the front of the restaurant, this man noticed my pump and asked if it was for my insulin. I said, "yes, do you have one?" He said he has a friend who is also T1 diabetic and is on a pump similar to mine. He then asked me, "So, do you just eat small portions of food too?" I was amazed that he did not assume that I had to just NOT eat sugary foods. I replied, "Yeah, I usually eat about 1/4 of the portions served when I eat out and then instantly box the rest. I get like 3-4 meals out of 1 restaurant dish!" He laughed and said, "That's a money saver, right there!" Then he said, "That's probably why you guys are so petite because my friend is small too." So, I jokingly replied, "Yeah, T1 is not the FAT diabetes!" (thinking of one of the Juvenation posts) and he laughed again saying, "That's a good one. I'm going to tell my friend that!"
Every time one of us (Type 1 diabetic) responds to and educates someone in a positive way we make a difference. I do pick and choose when I will educate (some people just aren't interested). I've actually joked about handing out JDRF donation envelopes to strangers who ask be about Type 1 diabetes, because if someone starts the conversation, I will the inform the heck out of them. :D
Actually, the other day after wind ensemble rehearsal ended and my friend and I both had frees, I checked my blood sugar because I was feeling high and he asked me how it was. Some friends (including him) had walked with me during the walk for diabetes a few weeks earlier and I explained how what frustrates me the most about having diabetes is that I often feel bad because my blood sugars are high, low, dropping, rising, etc. None of my friends without diabetes ever really ask about my blood sugars, so it was nice to have a friendly inquiry :)
Also, over the summer I went to a music festival for a couple weeks with mostly undergrad/grad students and I was completely on my own regarding diabetes (which I liked, lol). However, one of the coordinators of the festival had a son with diabetes who was in college and a musician as well. Towards the end of the festival she asked me how all the performing was affecting my blood sugars (her son's always sky-rocket from the stress), which was nice because I really struggle with lows when I have to perform solo.
I think it's important that we give credit to the people without diabetes (though there may be few) who try to extend their lives into the realm of our diabetes experiences.