Thursday, July 19, 2007

Is my husband, a type 2 diabetic, a sick person?

I get so many anonymous posts telling me that diabetics are NOT sick. That they can be perfectly healthy. And I find that quite troubling....looking at this from the viewpoint of a healthy person (me).

My husband is a diabetic. He has a disease. Even if he were to have it under perfectly good excellent control and be in a "healthy" state, he would still be a sick man because he has a disease. I don't quite understand how anyone with any disease can be considered a healthy person. Perhaps I need help with the meaning of the word healthy!

So I looked up the word in an online dictionary and it says, "having or indicating good health in body or mind; free from infirmity or disease". Quite simply then, one who has a disease of any kind cannot be healthy.

Next I thought...look up the word "disease". And it said, "an impairment of health or a condition of abnormal functioning".

I'm pretty sure that diabetes is a disease. So I searched for lists of diseases and sure enough, diabetes is on every list out there.

So next I looked up the word "sick" and found: "afflicted with ill health or disease".

I'm going to stick with my original thoughts that if a person has diabetes in any form at any stage, then the person is sick, not healthy, and there is no way that person can be healthy. And for me, that explains so much. I will agree that there are various levels of sickness, some more sick than others, some more progressed in their stage of this disease than others. But if the person has diabetes, they are not well, they are not healthy. There just is no such thing as a "healthy diabetic".

I think that if my husband understood that, he might be more able to accept this disease and exactly how far it has progressed in his body. I think the term "healthy diabetic" has done more to harm him and prevent him from facing this disease head on than anything else.

When people email me and say that they are a "healthy diabetic" living a "healthy" life, I have to wonder if they are in denial as well? Why not just state the fact? "I have a disease, but it is under control"?

I raised 2 sons who had diseases. One had grand mal seizures, up to 7 a day. He did not have epilepsy as he did not have the "spike" in his brain waves. But we called it epilepsy for lack of any other explanation. For the most part, the seizures are under control today, but he needs to let those who are close to him know that he has this disease, this condition, so that when he does have a seizure, they are not taken by surprise. If he were to go around telling everyone that he is healthy, what a shock then if he were to have a seizure!

And if my husband were to tell anyone that he is a healthy would he ever explain a crash at the neighbors house where we have to call 911 and rush him to ER? We simply let our friends know that he is a diabetic and does have crashes where he will pass out. They all know what to do.

Maybe there's a good reason why the dictionary defines a healthy person as one who does not have a disease. Maybe it's good to let the people around you know that you have a disease....just so they can be a little more prepared if something were to go wrong.

And finally, is saying that a diabetic is a healthy person a form of denial? In my opinion, I think it well could be.

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