Tracy, I don’t know how to say this…

Well, now we know what we’re dealing with.

In December, my nurse practitioner told me I was required to attend this “wellness” series on diabetes management—and so they signed me up for 4 two-hour classes on Wednesdays in January.  Since I’m such a perennial rule-follower, I put them into my calendar and grouchily prepared to attend the class without really thinking, “how can they REQUIRE me to attend?  Are they going to stop treating me if I refuse to attend these classes? Are there even consequences to disobedience?”  Nope.  None of those questions really popped into my head.  What a dumb goody-goody I am.

Truthfully, I haven’t really come to terms with my diabetes “diagnosis”, which has morphed over the last 8+ years from “you’re pre-diabetic, and we should monitor this” to full-blown Type II diabetes at some unknown point.  It’s like an addiction cliché of not taking that first step and admitting that I have a problem. I faithfully take medication, sporadically go through exercise phases…and do very little to nothing about my diet.  I don’t monitor my blood glucose partially because I hate finger sticks and the sight of my own blood, and partially because blood glucose monitoring is for people who have diabetes, and nope nope nope, that’s definitely not me.

Well, since one of the class rules was “Vegas rules” (what is discussed in class stays in class), I assume that blogging about this violates the rules. Clearly, I won’t be divulging anyone else’s medical history here on my blog.  I am going to declare that all other ridiculousness is fair game, though.  Here goes me, taking that first step on the road to recovery.

So last night I went to my first class, and I’d been dreading it this entire week.  I had been making sales calls all day at work, which is pretty much my worst nightmare, yet I would have rather stayed and made more cold sales calls rather than attending this class.

When I got there, it was immediately worse than I thought. Instead of the “wellness management” that was advertised to me, there was a large handwritten sign saying: LIVING WITH DIABETES.  All caps. No pretense, just spelled out in half-dried-out EXPO marker on chart paper. Even more appalling when I entered the room—there were only TWO OF US in the class, and TWO instructors, meaning that my plan to refuse to participate and knit quietly in the back of the classroom was completely thrown out the window.  At that point, I really just wanted to die(abetes).

Before I go on with my critique of the diabetes management curriculum, I will say that the two instructors and my classmate were extremely lovely and encouraging and positive, which was good, because it meant that I wanted to cry less than that first moment that I walked into the room.

"Oh, they think, 'this is candy, we're having fun!'"

“Oh, they think, ‘this is candy, we’re having fun!'”

The entire lesson plan of the two-hour class basically centered around a map taped to the table, with a title something like “Diabetes: A Conversation Map”, probably with the hopes of transforming the learning into an interactive and exciting game-like experience.  The worst part of this were the number of “Myth vs. Fact” cards which I got incorrect.  This irked both the Asian and the teacher parts of my persona.  Wrong answers?  Inconcieveable!  AND, the cards were totally leading and ambiguously worded at best, with gems similar to the following:

  • Diabetes is caused by problems with blood glucose.  (Answer: myth – it’s a problem with insulin.  That is semantics, people!  Insanity!)
  • Insulin causes complications (Answer: myth – apparently it’s the blood glucose that causes the complications.  MORE SEMANTICS!)
  • People with diabetes can eat whatever they want, especially carbs (Answer: fact.  Haha, just kidding.  I wish.)

There was even a place on the map for a brief discussion about “unpacking” the feelings surrounding our diabetes diagnoses, complete with little drawings of baggage labeled guilt, anger, frustration, sadness, hopelessness…really? REALLY??  (I guess my feelings include…anger…and frustration.)

I don’t know what to make of the whole experience.  By the end of class, I made a “goal” (a promise??  who’s checking?? consequences??  Ackk, I’m still going to do it.  G-D rule-follower…)  to check my blood sugar 3x/week for the next two weeks and report back.  They asked me to consider whether I’m terrified of the needle or terrified of the actual number for my blood glucose result.  I don’t really have an answer to that right now.  I guess I’ll have to puzzle that out as I stare at the teeny-tiny needle in the lancet thing as I psych myself out to push the button over the next two weeks.

I’m not really ready to be a diabetic.  I had a fat load of McDonald’s hypocrisy for dinner last night in a fit of rebellion.  (Oooh, such a baaad girl. A true rebel to be feared.  Fear my Double Quarter Pounder.)

Well, that was a difficult first step.  Deciding to actually blog about it is also part of that first step, and thanks to Bon for telling me that this shit is hilarious and that I should definitely write about it.

Because, now we know what we’re dealing with.