happiness is a warm gun

jesse walker

jesse (pictured above) just leaned over from his desk,
parting from his lecture slide review,
to ask,
how do you respond to, ‘uncontrolled diabetic.’

with a bug-eyed expression, i replied, ‘not well at all.’

he went on to explain that in his class, the phrase is everywhere.
he has been by my side long enough to know how regressive the terms non-compliant, non-adhearence, and uncontrolled can be.

he asked for an alternative.
jesse didn’t want to go back to his professors to simply inform and complain, he wanted to be armed with a solution.
so happy i’m marrying him.

i came up with the following list:

1. temperamental
2. erratic
3. aberrant
and of course
4. crotchety

i’m not sure which jesse will choose, but we both know that any of the terms above are better alternatives to “uncontrolled diabetic.”

here is why:

uncontrolled diabetic‘ is offensive and hinders motivation. hello self-fulfilling prophecy…

uncontrolled addresses the effort put forth by the patient. that is, the word speaks directly to the person, not the disease. uncontrolled followed by diabetic implies that the lack of blood sugar stability is caused by the patient’s inability to or decision not to take care of their health. it spits out blame and encourages the patient to internalize the problem.

why are temperamental, erratic, aberrant, and crotchety, better terms?

they all take the blame from the patient and externalize it to the disease itself. the diabetes is temperamental and hard to deal with. the diabetes is erratic. the diabetes is a grumpy, old, crotchety poo-poo head that doesn’t keep his word. it isn’t the patient’s effort being called into question.

it is the diabetes.
it is the disease.
not me.

this may not be the case for every patient, but i am motivated only when diabetes remains something external.

ALSO: how hilarious would it be to read HEATHER GABEL – CROTCHETY DIABETES on a lab slip?

do you have any other suggestions for jesse?
what might he, a current med-student, suggest to his professors and peers as a replacement for the too-frequently abused phrase ‘uncontrolled diabetic’?


for your listening pleasure:

One thought on “happiness is a warm gun

  1. Well, as hilarious as “Heather Gabel – Crotchety Diabetes” may sound, I’m not so sure I’d like it. I’d much rather your diabetes be accommodating and graceful than crotchety.

    But that’s not what you asked.

    A better term…. maybe “unpredictable”? I suppose “unpredictable diabetes” may be as redundant as the term “flammable match”, so maybe not.

    Uncooperative? (important to refer to the disease and not the person. The distinction may get blurred)

    I think I need to cast my vote for erratic.

    BUT – with that said, there are those who try hard to struggle to achieve Diabetes Nirvana, and those who just don’t give two you-know-whats. By eliminating the term for the ones who don’t seem to care, are we similarly removing the praise and respect for those who do? Hmm…

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