When I saw the two words “chronic” and “healthy” next to each other as Kerri’s Diabetes Awareness Month photo-a-day prompts, I was immediately reminded of a stinging and insensitive comment made to me by an Endocrinologist I saw briefly a few years ago. First let me say that I live in a rural area and Endo’s are few and far between. When this particular Endo opened up shop only a mere 20 minutes away, I was pretty excited; however, during my first appointment with him I became markedly less so, due to his cavalier and condescending bedside manor.
As I was introducing myself and describing my general diabetes maintenance plan and lifestyle, I said I considered myself to be a healthy person. The Doctor started chuckling to himself. When I uncomfortably asked what was funny he said “You can’t be healthy and a diabetic. It’s an oxymoron.” Wow! And Huh!? What a jerk, right!? In general, I’m the kind of person that doesn’t offend easily but his comment and attitude really pushed all the right (or wrong!) buttons.
We use the word “health” all the time in daily conversation but what is it’s actual definition? I once wrote an entire paper on this topic for a Health Education class and according to The World Health Organization:
While, I’ve daydreamed about being able to educate this particular Endo, regrettably at the time I was too shocked and tongue-tied. Thinking that he is probably still out there spreading his negative and intimidating mindset to other patients (particularly newly diagnosed or non-internet savvy patients) saddens me. A positive attitude is not just important but paramount in living with a chronic condition. Yes, diabetes is a hardship and yes maintaining a “healthy state” is harder with diabetes than without but it’s not even close to impossible. For inspiration and support check out the You Can Do This Project.
This post is one in a series for the National Diabetes Month of November. Kerri from sixuntilme.com initiated the Photo-a-Day idea and prompts and lots of other diabetes bloggers have chosen to follow suite.