The big 'D' badge has opened my eyes to a lot of things in 10 short months. I know about and have thought about issues that I am sure I barely knew existed before my diagnosis. I know about healthcare and what and how I can claim things for free. I know about how to treat people, all people, who are suffering medical problems of their own - like real people.
I also know a heck of a lot more about discrimination, and I know that it goes on in ways you wouldn't even realize. Everyone knows about racism, sexism, religious right, gay rights and working rights. But how much do people see past that? Do they think about the fact that old people are discriminated against at medical centers or supermarkets simply because they are old and slow have a lot of problems and therefore are 'hard to deal with'. Or perhaps that person with anxiety who's medical team dismiss them because its 'all in their head' and everything that happens to them ever is a symptom of their mental illness. Discrimination happens everywhere, all the time, and I'm fast learning that a whole lot happens in the medicine industry. Its in every industry.
I'm that person who is discriminated against, but I'm not old, or African, or gay. I'm that person because I tick the box that say's I have diabetes.
I am discriminated against medically. By professionals (although thankfully my team right now are brilliant and I wouldn't give them up for anything!) and non-professionals. Oh, you have diabetes? You must have eaten too much sugar and fatty foods and you don't exercise enough. You have another problem? Its because of your poor control. No other explanation or tests necessary. Diabetics pay the higher item number, even if we're well controlled because we *might* get complications in the future.
I am discriminated against socially. Going somewhere? Let's not invite the type 1 because she might have a hypo and we don't want to deal with that. Or assume that when we go out to dinner we can't eat anything 'normal', and that's just too much effort.
I am discriminated against by the transport authorities, who make ridiculous judgement about my ability to drive.
I know when I am being discriminated against and I can do something about it. But there are those that can't. And this whole post really is about the anger I felt last weekend hearing about discrimination to a young T1 boy.
Last weekend I went out with a friend for her sister's birthday. The girl sitting across from me worked in daycare. She noticed me doing a small calculation and it was revealed I had diabetes. So as you do, she decides to tell me about the 3 year old at her daycare that has diabetes. And proceeded to blast the crap out of his mother for allowing him to go to daycare like any other kid. She held the belief that she shouldn't have to be the one pricking his fingers and giving his shots because it was disgusting and gross (honest to god, you work in daycare...do you not deal with kids crapping and peeing their pants all day?).
Apparently his mother should just keep him at home every single day and not allow him to learn any social skills because for 5 minutes a day, it was a mild inconvenience for her to have to take care of him. Bitch, you're being paid to do this. His mother isn't, and this is a full-time job for her every minute she's with him. Not being allowed to go to daycare because you don't want to have to take 2 seconds to take a BGL is ridiculous. She immediately thought less of this child, of his mother because he has diabetes. He is not worth her time because he takes that little bit of extra attention.
He will face this when he goes to school. When he enters the work force and he has to hide his diabetes during his interviews. When he has kids his ability to be a good father may be questioned when he has a hypo and his attention lapses for a second.
And I wish he didn't face it. Diabetes is hard enough, without people making access to normal things harder than it is to any other person.