I was recently going through my downloaded items and junking things out when I came across this picture. The graphic is a little odd personally but the message is poignant.
In the days when I was more active with diabetes organizations, I remember hearing about a group that had got local celebrities to pretend to have diabetes for a day. Its something that I always wanted to recreate. I knew that if a person truly walked in our shoes that the perspective they would gain would be greater than any lecture or story we could tell them. Look how much we have learned because we walk this road?
Can you imagine getting a Health Minister to pretend that they lived with Type 1 diabetes for one month–a 30 day free trial of a life with diabetes? Can you imagine then asking them to do it on a minimum wage budget? Wouldn’t it be amazing if magically you could make them “feel” the experience of being high because they could not afford to use an extra needle that day?
What if we asked an Education Minister to become a parent of a child with diabetes for one month? From day one they would be aware that the child’s life is completely in their hands. They would be sleep deprived from night time testing, lows and corrections. They would be even more acquainted with their cell phone and it would not just be a distraction. It would be a necessary evil to monitor their child when he/she was away from them.
Can you imagine them having to inject a child? To learn about glucagon and have them fully grasp what it means to have to use that tool?
Can you imagine them feeling the frustration of knowing that you weighed the food, you counted the carbs, you dosed the insulin and something still went wrong?
Would they understand how vital choice is? Would they grasp why we need pumps, CGMs and coverage for all types of insulin? Would they understand the stress of sending a child to school and leaving their life in someone else’s hands?
I would still love to do this. I can see it as a reality show. These people would have cameras that would follow them. No set ups like some reality shows. Real children with proper caregivers in the wings “just in case”. For those who are asked to live with diabetes, there would be random notes or messages that would be sent when they tested or throughout the day. During a meeting they would be distracted and high. While playing with the kids at the end of the day, they would become low and have to sit things out for up to an hour while they eat and get their blood sugar back in range.
I can envision this. I can see the impact. I can see the power it would have. Now I just need the opportunity, the backing, the volunteers, and the cameras! Oh what an education we could give!