Call in…diabetes


I don’t know about you, but I often catch myself tripping over my words when calling Frankie in absent from something, when it’s not illness but type 1 diabetes. It’s so much easier to report “He’s sick” than it is to say “He’s type 1 diabetes.”

But, he’s NOT sick. He is out because diabetes is not playing nice. There is no reason we can pinpoint sometimes-his glucose level is high, ketones are present, or he keeps running low (low glucose levels) and all of this happens because-that’s life with type 1 diabetes. The why? Could be a growth spurt, puberty, the weather, his emotions, sign of an illness to come, or the earth rotating on its axis.

So I stutter when placing the call. “Frankie will be out today.” “Oh, sorry to hear that, is it the flu?” “Um, ah, um, it’s diabetes.” Often followed by a need to explain what that means. “It’s not safe to send him because his levels are in flux.” “It’s not safe to send him because his levels are high and he has ketones.” “Not safe to send him because he’s been having sudden and extreme lows he can’t feel.”

“He’s sick” does not do justice to Frankie’s reality, and though saying it makes the call effortless, it doesn’t feel right or fair to downplay the obstacles this disease throws his way, and the immense fortitude he has fighting to get over those obstacles.

This disease is strange and complex, and Frankie navigates the mountains and valleys of living with it, but sometimes he must call in- diabetes.