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Sunday, 24 November 2013

My Diabetes - How often do you as a diabetic or the diabetic your with look at their watch?

I have found over the years that it's really important when meeting new people I will be interacting with to let them know I'm diabetic.  It really helps them understand the little 'weird?' behaviours I've developed over the years as just plain common sense.  Question? How often do you as a diabetic or the diabetic your with look at their watch?

For me its very often almost whenever I mention time. So what did I think that those who didn't know I was a diabetic thought I was doing?  I didn't know so  I asked them after telling them I was diabetic, and they said things like, I thought:

  • you were a very nervous person
  • you were impatient with me or others
  • you looked like a junkie waiting for your next fix
  • you weren't interested in what I had to say
  • it was an ignorant thing to keep doing in public
  • if he keeps doing that, I'll ask him if there's somewhere he'd rather be
  • you were disrespectful to others, looking at your watch and not listening

It became apparent that without the appropriate background information they were rightly making some serious value judgements based on what they saw, which could have relationship or career limiting consequences.

Having been told this I decided that I would use my watch checking 'tick ;-)' to introduce others to my diabetes without appearing attention seeking or narcissistic.  I generally say something like:

"Sorry before we start can I just say that if you see me keep looking at my watch or the clock on the wall, it isn't because I'm bored, or I want you to shut up, end the meeting and go, its just that I am an insulin dependent diabetic and I need to eat at regular set times".  Interestingly, I find I even look at my watch when telling them or if I mention time in any way past, present or future during any conversation.

Of all of the thousands of people I've told throughout the years most have said "oh thats no problem and thanks for telling us".

I've always felt that trying to hide my diabetes is totally counter-productive if people aren't happy about it, then its their problem, but if they are unhelpful when I told them, they would certainly be no use for me in an emergency.

Learning Points:

  • I tell people I am diabetic so they understand that I am different
  • I find people are generally nosey and show interest
  • I find most people say they know somebody with diabetes, but sadly they say they don't tell people and keep falling over
  • I find they appreciate the confidence
  • I find that in a business situation it humanises me and the meeting
  • I find that people will then disclose issues of their own


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