Food: punishment or reward?

the attitude of health professionals toward diabetes and food continues to amaze me twenty five years later…….I am so glad that I’m no longer a teenager struggling with disordered eating issues so that I don’t have to flinch every time a doctor, nurse and or educator says something offensive about eating. Here is my most recent example of what I call inappropriate food language:

I was at the prenatal wellness center for my 20 week ultrasound last week. Thankfully, even though I am past the “cut-off” date (38 years old) or the “expiration date” as I like to call it, and even though we’d opted not to do any kind of genetic testing, everything on the ultrasound looked great! Phew! Of course, nothing is sure until the baby is born and that is a whole other subject which will be covered in my upcoming Chronic Mama column. After my ultrasound I met with the doctor who went over my blood sugar records with me. There were a few post lunch high blood sugars and when she asked me about them she said, 

“Did you eat something you shouldn’t have?”

hmmmmm….let’s think about that question. What is she really asking me? Was she asking me if maybe I miscalculated my bolus, screwed up my carb ratio, is that what she meant? Or was she asking if I had eaten some cookies or maybe a milkshake, something a diabetic “shouldn’t” eat? 

What I wanted to tell her was that I ate an apple. I love apples and could eat them all year (even though if I was being green, I would only eat them during the correct season-the fall), but it was a pretty big apple and after a turkey pita sandwich, it made my blood sugar spike. And if we’re being honest here, I had some Snyder’s ranch pretzel bits too. I’m sorry I ate an apple. Why do I feel guilty for eating an apple? I’m pregnant after all……what I really want to have is a chocolate blizzard from Dairy Queen. 

It’s the language that bothers me. The language of diabetes that puts the person living and managing the disease into a passive role, like a school child. I hand over my blood sugar records to the teacher, hoping that she’ll give me an “A.” If my A1C comes back below a 6.0 maybe I’ll get a star sticker to put on my shirt. “Good job,” the teacher/doctor will wink at me, “Well done.” But who lives with these grades every day? Me. 

Talk to me like I am an equal. Talk to me like I am an expert of this disease. Don’t talk to me like I’ve been a bad girl.

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