DSMA Blog Carnival: What’s Your Definition of an Advocate?
Advocacy, what does it look like?
To me, advocacy looks like education. Educating people who just don’t know, that was one of the main reasons I started this blog in the first place, so that people could get a glimpse into what life is like as a Type 1 diabetic. There is a lot of hoopla going on right now among the diabetes online community about a section in the Washington Post by Miss Manners and her answer to a question that was asked of her regarding etiquette when checking ones blood sugar and giving injections in public. I personally don’t know why on God’s green earth anyone would feel the need to ask her this in the first place, but whatever. If you would like to read it, you can find it towards the very end of the article, it’s the very last Q&A.
Although I strongly disagree and at first it did make me angry, I then started to wonder if I would have been the same way back in the day before my diagnosis. I don’t know that I would have had such extreme thoughts as hers, but I am somewhat of a germaphobe so I can kinda see my past self being grossed out by someone doing what I have to do multiple times on a daily basis now. This is where I believe a type of advocacy kicks in. Advocacy looks different to everyone, and there are so many different ways to be an advocate, just like everyone has different God given talents and gifts, I believe that those are used in advocacy as well. I’m not a leader, I’m not a public speaker, I’m not going to have hundreds of people reading my blog probably ever. What I can do is when people ask questions, or make statements or situations appear as in the Ms. Manners column I can educate those people as to why thoughts like Miss Manner’s response are completely unrealistic. If I am for example on an air plane or even in a movie theater I am not going to go to the restroom to do a finger stick or give an injection, that’s just not a real life situation. I can’t wait for turbulence to stop, the seat belt light to go off or keep getting up during a movie in the theater to take care of a stubborn high blood sugar or to be sure that my CGM is really correct with a low reading. If I wait for when it’s “convenient” to excuse myself to go to the restroom or away from prying eyes it very well could be too late. If that was the case, what would be worse, me pricking my finger for a small drop of blood to come out and place it on a test strip, ooorrrrr… If I’m low and I can’t feel it but I’m waiting to excuse myself to make sure and I keep dropping and drop too low before I am able to check and then I go into a seizure where my eyes roll into the back of my head and I’m drooling, biting my tongue and or lips and wetting myself would that be better? Or, if I don’t pass out or go into a seizure but start to get nutty, like do something crazy like stand up in the middle of wherever I am at and start crying hysterically or stripping followed by dancing in my undies, that wouldn’t be too polite now would it? People just don’t know what the repercussions are short or long term if we don’t treat ourselves right away. Although I have never had any of the above situations happen, it is quite possible if I don’t take action in a timely manner. See what I did there? I just threw in a little educational tid bit, my sort of advocacy. We have to step up and educate people and let them know the correct information, because as all of us in the D.O.C. know, most info that those who are not affected by T1D in any way just have the misinformation to go off of that is in the media, or even from well meaning yet misinformed medical professionals, or from so and so who had a great so and so or best friend that had this or that happen or just ate this or did that and they were okay. Advocacy takes all sorts of forms, but mine is either social media like this blog or Face Book or just answering questions or stares. I'm okay with being just a little peon in this giant pool of people in the world, and even if it's not public speaking or book writing or anything huge, just a little correct information given and accepted will go a long way.
“This post is my February entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, or read other’s blog posts you can get all of the information at http://diabetescaf.org/2014/02/february-dsma-blog-carnival-3/“