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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

D is for Diabeetus

I met Wilford Brimley today.
Okay, not really, but I met a man who looks and sounds just like him. I swear this guy I met could be related to Wilford Brimley. So I’m just going to nickname him Wilford.
(You all know who Wilford Brimley is, right? He’s this guy.)
We were at the tennis courts where my kids and his grandkids take lessons.
Before he’d begun playing, Jack had tested his blood sugar, and Wilford had eyed Jack, as Jack was lancing his left pinky.
A few minutes later, when Jack was on the courts, I heard, “Yer son have diabeetus?”
“He does.”
“Sheesh,” Wilford said, shaking his head. “That’s a shame.”
Um, yeah, it’s shame, but you know, it is what it is, and I can’t dwell on the negative aspects of diabetes. Quite frankly, I’m grateful my kid is alive. I’m grateful he’s able to play tennis.
Before I could respond, Wilford told me, “I got diabeetus, too.”
“Type two?” I asked.
“Yup, type two.”
“My son has type one.”
“Yeah, well, that’s usually the case when they’re that young,” he said. “Let me tell you a story. I was born in 1939, but I got a friend, who was born in 1973. She’s got diabeetus, too. Type one, like yer son. I was there the day she collapsed.”
“You mean the day she was diagnosed?” I asked.
“Yeah, the day she was diagnosed. Well, she learned to eat only small amounts of food,” he said, showing me by placing his thumb and forefinger about a quarter inch apart. “And now she’s fine. That’s what yer son’s gotta do. He’s gotta eat only small amounts of food, and he’ll be fine.”
I wanted to run. But, I am polite, so I stood there smiling, letting the conversation take its natural course. But I seriously wanted to run...far.
“You got diabeetus, too?”
“No, I don’t,” I said.
“How ‘bout other kids? You got other kids?”
“I do. They’re out there on the courts, playing tennis, too.”
“They got diabeetus?”
“No, my son is the only one in the family.”
“Well, I’ll be…You know I retired back in 2007, and I just let myself go. I gained 50 pounds. That’s why I got diabeetus, but I started a diet program today. Yer son have highs and lows?”
“He does.”
Once again, I got the head shake and “sheesh.”
“Well, you tell that fella to watch what he eats, and he’ll be fine like my friend.”
At that point, I couldn’t take it any more. “I’ll do that,” I said. “Well, you have a nice day. Enjoy watching the kids on the courts. I’m going to run an errand now.”
I took off. I had to get out of there. I didn’t want to be rude, but I couldn’t listen any longer. Jack’s tennis coach has a brother with type one (yes, we got that lucky this year!), and we’ve trained him on how to care for Jack. So I knew Jack would be okay, and besides, I wasn’t going to go far, and his coach and the head coach both have my cell number.
I drove to a shopping center a few blocks away. I went into PetSmart and bought cat food and then into the grocery store to pick up a few ingredients for tomorrow night’s dinner. And then I sat in my car, playing Words with Friends, waiting for the tennis lesson to end, watching the kids from the parking lot, because that was better than listening to Wilford ramble.
Wilford meant well, but sometimes, a D mama just doesn’t want to talk about diabeetus.


Wendy said...



I love a talking shop with someone who really gets it...but I'm not always up for this convo.

Best of luck with your Beetus, Wiford.

Gotta run :)

Reyna said...

Sorry to curse over here...but I think this calls for a good ol' Reyna "FOR FUHHHHHHHK SAKE".

I am glad you ran.

I know he meant well, but that made my skin crawl.


sky0138 said...

totally been there! sometimes it just takes too much effort to hang around and listen to the diabeetus chat from strangers who don't get it but think they do. UGH!

Alyssa said...

Oh. My. Gosh. I got SO mad just reading this! I should know better, because I've heard such nonsense horrific stories of people's stupidity (because "moronity" isn't a real word), but wow. This guy just takes the cake. Good for you for not shooting him!

I was testing one day in my school's learning center, waiting for Bio students to come in so I could tutor them. Another tutor--a girl that I know, but not very well--sat down next to me, and we were talking. That is, until I pulled out my meter to test and she started calling it my "diabeetus supplies" and generally being annoying about how I was testing. She talked about how she used to test her grandmother's blood sugar and how she felt so bad when she did it that she tested her own. She told me that I must be something bordering masochist because I test ten times per day; she thinks it hurt terribly, though I rarely feel it at all. Some people *shakes head*, they just don't get it.

I think we should all protest that Liberty Medical commercial, though!

Sarah said...

you got that right! There are moments where it is the last thing I want to discuss especially with a stranger who knows just the answer :)

shannon said...

oh man, yeah, i feel ya on this one. the other day at L's soccer game she went off the field and yelled to the coach that she was low and the lady next to me (mom from the opposing team) said "what did she say?" and i was all, "she said she was low, she has to drink some juice, she has type 1 diabetes" and she just gave me that sad sad look and said "that poor poooor chiiiild".

sometimes the forced cheery response is hard to muster and you just want to fwap them. i know their hearts are in the right place but jeez louise.

Meagan said...

UGH! I work with several elderly type 2 diabetics and some of the comments they make seriously make me crazy.

So nice of you that you hung in there for a bit, next time, pretend you got stung by a bee and run for it.

Tracy1918 said...

I know people mean well but seriously! I wish the 2 were not lumped together. The lack of education is hurting our kids so much. But you handled it well. Glad you ran!! XO

Kristin said...

He left out the bit about someone losing a leg? (kidding!) Sorry you had to deal with that old spiel. If anyone has any snappy comebacks, pass them around!

LuvMyElyssa said...

I was at a buffet a couple weeks ago and a lady asked if my daughter had diabetes. I said yes. She said thats what happens when you're overweight and give birth to kids. WTF If she wasn't a senior citizen I would've probably punched her. I also have a friend that keeps sending me Splenda recipes even though I keep telling her it's so much more than just watching sugar. LOL