Tag Archives: language

#LanguageMatters – #LanguageEvolves

I’ve been following a conversation on Twitter for the last few days. Mostly, I’ve been following it because I was tagged in the original post, along with a few others from the Diabetes Online Community. The original post covered a familiar theme, and it went something like this:
 
 
Do you prefer to be called a “Person With Diabetes” or “Diabetic”?
 
 
There were a ton of responses, and there still are, even today. But not from me.

Yes, I prefer the term Person with Diabetes. If you prefer something else, okay with me. If you want to talk with me about that one-on-one for a while, that’s fine too.

But I am so over discussing the PWD versus diabetic thing. I also can’t believe I just said I am so over something.

Some version of this same question comes up on my Twitter and Facebook feeds at least once per month, sometimes more. It’s been asked and answered and gone through so many times that further discussion on the topic just seems like white noise to me.

Can we all agree that the preference on this subject lies with the actual person with diabetes? And that the health care professional, co-worker, or family member should respect that person’s preference? Good… now, let’s move on.

Can we all agree that #LanguageMatters, but also that #LanguageEvolves? Or at least that it should, anyway?

What’s the next big thing to discuss? What’s really important to you right now? What kind of language should we be using to help each other? Who remains to be educated about patient-focused language in health care?

If you’re newly diagnosed, and a chronic condition isn’t something you’ve had to get a grip on yet, I get it. In that case, it’s okay to ask about preferences, and about why the words we all use can make such a difference.

For me, however, the discussion of language has moved far beyond that. I can see that language in diabetes, and in health care in general, will continue to have a big impact on our lives. It must. Let’s move the discussion forward, because there is so much more to define. There are so many more to educate.

Now that we all agree that #LanguageMatters— let’s start to discuss how to evolve our conversations to cover more than just the descriptions of ourselves.

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The Language of Gratitude.

Language has been a recurring theme around here for some time, and it’s really interesting the way communication is intertwined throughout our lives. If I were to take a guess, I’d say that at least half the projects that didn’t work out or the friendships that faded out in my life were because I neglected to remember that what we say, or don’t say, every day makes a difference. Sometimes to us, often to others.

These days, patients are getting really good at fighting for the things that are important to them: affordable access to drugs, treatment that helps rather than judges, diabetes truths rather than diabetes myths. But… how much time do we spend sharing what we’ve learned? How much time do we spend thanking those who have helped us along the way?

Some of us are good at that. I’m certainly better at it than I used to be. And sometimes… we just forget. Or worse, we figure that since we’re the ones living with diabetes, when things work out for us, we’re just getting what we deserve and we don’t even need to consider the fact that someone else might have had to make a sacrifice to please us.

We can certainly get by with that attitude. But we’re not going to make a lot of long term friends in the process.

So, when my endocrinologist finds a sample or two for me to take home, I’m sure to thank her.

When the receptionist at my GP’s office finds a way to get me an appointment today because I’m sick today, I thank them.

When my diabetes friends take the time to ask how I’m doing, I respond in kind and try not to talk about myself too much. I’m still working on that one.

When people raise money for research and better care for People With Diabetes, I thank them.

When medical device companies overnight a replacement for a broken part, I am appreciative.

Most of all, I truly try to practice the art of paying it forward. For someone else’s sake, and for my own too.

These things don’t cost me anything. Occasionally, it might mean saying something nice about a person or company that I haven’t been thinking nice things about all the time. But the language of gratitude requires us to recognize each effort on our behalf without remembering the real or perceived slights we’ve encountered along the way.

It’s a learned practice. It’s something I have to remind myself to do all the time. But when I put the language of gratitude into practice, I find myself feeling better. And I can’t put a price on that.

8 Things: Wordplay.


I’m a fan of words. Their spellings, their meanings. Learning to live with diabetes is like learning an entirely new language.

Here’s what I mean by that, using 8 examples:
 
 
1. Diabetus
I always hated when people said “diabetus” instead of “diabetes”. It’s the last two syllables… “beat us”. I don’t like the idea of living with a chronic condition that has that kind of language in its very name.

2. Medical Devices
There are more medical devices helping us to succeed with diabetes than ever before. Some people name their Dexcom Dex, or their pump some other name. If you’re someone using an Omnipod, do you call yourself a Podder? Are you Podding? I can tell you that I am definitely not Vibeing…

3. Co-morbidities
I don’t know about you, but I don’t even want one morbidity, let alone two or more. I might settle for 1/2 a morbidity, but that’s all. No more. I can only accept so much. I wonder if this is that bargaining part of bargaining, denial anger, depression, and acceptance we hear about?

4. Target range
To be honest, it would be a lot easier to hit the target if the target didn’t move constantly throughout the day. That’s the way it is with diabetes, every day. This is a term I’d love to find a replacement for.

5. Basal
When I wanted to begin on an insulin pump, I must admit that I didn’t even know what a basal or a bolus was. No endocrinologist I ever saw up to that point described dosing insulin in this way. Once my current endo educated me, I had trouble for a week or two remembering which was the basal and which was the bolus. So I tried to think of basal as the herb… you know, basil. I imagined an herb leaf every time I logged in what my basal rate was for the day. Don’t knock it… it worked.

6. Bolus
I don’t really have much to say about bolusing, except that I get ticked off every time autocorrect changes it to “blousing”.

7. Advocacy
Like many people, I used to think that advocacy was too big and too difficult for someone like me. The truth is that advocacy is easier than you think, it can take place in many forms, and it usually has a positive effect on both the subject and the practitioner of said advocacy. So let your advocacy loose… you’ve got a lot to give.

8. Lancet
Another word I don’t like. Probably because it has elements of onomatopoeia to it. In other words, the word itself sounds too much like what it does, which is lance the skin to get blood for a glucose test. I wouldn’t mind the onomatopoeiac nature of it so much if it were something a little nicer.
 
 
And there you have it… eight diabetes words, and eight ways of looking at them. I hope your weekend is fabulous. Talk to you next week!

#dBlogWeek: Let’s discuss language and diabetes.

2016DBlogWeekBanner
Welcome to Diabetes Blog Week! Diabetes Blog Week is just like it sounds… diabetes bloggers all blogging on daily topics for an entire week. Or, in this year’s case, for five days. To find out all about Diabetes Blog Week and to sign up,
CLICK HERE.

As always, thank you to Karen Graffeo, creator and curator of Diabetes Blog Week. She’s awesome.

On Wednesday of #dBlogWeek, we’re discussing Language and Diabetes:
 
 
There is an old saying that states “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I’m willing to bet we’ve all disagreed with this at some point, especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-udgemental language when speaking about or to People With Diabetes. For some, they don’t care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to ‘person with diabetes’ versus ‘diabetic’ or ‘checking blood sugar’ versus ‘testing’, or any of the tons of other examples? Let’s explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.
 
 
Listen all you diabetic-testers!!! You people-with-diabetes-blood-sugar-checkers really want to know how I feel???

I feel like I just don’t want to spend time explaining why the language I use is correct, and the language you use is not.

I am squarely in the People With Diabetes/Checking my BG camp. If I can, I try to find words that won’t hurt anyone. I mean, why not? On the other hand, if you feel married to the idea that you’re a diabetic tester, that’s okay too. But here’s the thing:

The minute you try to attack one of my friends who says something you don’t like, you just might get a fight from me. And if you try to win me over to your way of thinking, especially if you use words like “you agree with me, right?”, don’t be surprised if you hear crickets coming from the other side of the table.

Sometimes I say things that another person disagrees with. Sometimes another person says something I don’t like. Occasionally, I’ve been forced to change my viewpoint on something I was sure I was correct on from the outset. How many of us have been perfect 100 percent of every moment of our lives? Answer: Zero percent of us.

Experience has taught me that being kind, and considering how someone else might feel about something I say helps me to form my thoughts in ways that are inclusive and are non-stigmatizing and are non-judgemental. Doing so doesn’t cost me anything extra. And wow, it really gives me plenty of time to explain what I’m saying, rather than how I’m saying it.

How do your thoughts explain what you’re saying rather than how you’re saying it?
 

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