Today would have been the 120th birthday of Frederick Banting, the man who (along with Dr. Charles Best) discovered insulin.
Perhaps you are an insulin-dependent diabetic, or love such a diabetic, and understand full well what you owe to Sir Frederick and why this day is celebrated as World Diabetes Day. Wish Sir Frederick a happy birthday.
Perhaps you are like me, a diabetic who is at this point still able to produce your own insulin, but realize that a time may come when insulin will be as important to you as oxygen. Wish Sir Frederick a happy birthday.
Perhaps you are not aware of knowing any insulin-dependent diabetics. But you almost certainly have. Spare a thought, today, for the acquaintance, whoever it might be, that you never would have known had it not not been for the work of these men. Wish Sir Frederick a happy birthday.
Please, take just a moment. Even though insulin is in no way a cure for diabetes, it has saved the lives of millions.
Please wish Sir Frederick a happy birthday.
(Lines spoken to myself, while passing through the staff lounge.)
Who's that woman sitting at that table? I don't recognize her.
Oh, wait, maybe I do recognize her. And she seems to recognize me.
But maybe she's just being polite.
No, I think I do know her.
(I get a bottle of Coke Zero from the machine and take another quick look.)
How might I know her? A church person? Somebody I see on the bus? A checker in a store?
(I get on the elevator to go up to look for a book.)
Maybe she just looks like someone I used to know. Somebody from Iowa City, where I went to grad school? Someone from my home town of Ames?
(I interrupt my musings to check the online catalog and discover that we don't have the book I was interested in. I head back for the elevator.)
Who IS that woman? I just can't think of it!
Oh, wait. I think I know who she is.
She, um, works for me.
(A word of explanation: one of my duties is the supervision of a pool of substitutes, and I regularly go months at a time without seeing a given pool member. I don't think I'd seen this particular person since I'd interviewed her around eight months ago. So it's not quite as bad as it sounds.)
I've written several times - probably too many times - about how much I dislike loading my pill sorters. I've even done art about it. But, until recently, I've never had a feeling (beyond sloth, of course) why that should be the case. But I think I've got some insight into it.
I take medication not only for diabetes but also for a couple of other things that are high on the list of allegedly preventable diseases. And while I really don't believe that these conditions are my 'fault', there's no denying that my choices have had a role in their development. So, my weekly session with all those pills brings me face to face with type 2 guilt. I not only have to acknowledge these conditions while doing the counting, I have to wallow in that acknowledgement. These feelings are regrettable and unnecessary, but they're very real.
In addition to the conditions I've already mentions, I also take medications for a couple of things I see as being pretty purely genetic, and the pills for those are not nearly as "loaded" for me. And counting out the supplements I take even leaves me feeling good, as if I'm being wise and proactive.
When I was a kid, I had to take medicine for a chronic condition for a number of years. While I'm sure no one intended to convey this message, the attitude of my parents left my feeling that this condition meant that I was somehow flawed or inadequate and that my situation was one to be ashamed of. (I'm sure that my basic nature left me especially open to developing that sense.) I'm confident that my feelings from this time influence my feelings about my diabetes treatment. (Wanna know something odd? I kinda like testing my blood sugars. True confession.)
Now that I've had these insights, my feelings about my pills seem a bit silly, and I hope I'll be able to deal with them a little more effectively.
(Originally posted to diabetesdaily.com)