Now, Terry is in 7th grade, he thinks, or was it 8th? Anyway, he is in one of his favorite classes – Art class. It was someone’s birthday today, and he brought cupcakes, compliments of his mother Terry was sure of that. They were all chocolate. He couldn’t wait. He watched anxiously, as they were being handed out. Come on! Hurry up! He thinks cupcakes are the best, next to donuts of course.
He is intently watching as each one gets placed in front of the other children that surround the square wooden tables in art class. They were big tables at that, and the students had to sit on tall stools to work on the tables. Finally, the teacher starts handing out the cupcakes to his table and finally his is put in front of him. He holds off for just a second and decides to savor every little bit of this great moment. The fact that he didn’t have his shot with him today didn’t matter. As he was thinking about how to manage without the extra insulin, the teacher stops and says, “Wait! I almost forgot you couldn’t have one,” and picks up the cupcake. When He ask her why and she says, “I know you are not supposed to eat this because you are diabetic.” He looks around, and everyone is staring at him. He started to tear up, and the kid sitting on the other end of this huge square table starts making fun of him.
“Poor baby, no cupcake for you. Do you want some of mine?” “Sure! Joe” “Psych, none for the diabetic! But, you could watch me eat mine. Ummmmm so good” “F You” “Now, Now. What are you going to do about it – you’re just a dumb diabetic.”
He looks at the two kids on either side of him, who looked away. He stood up. “What? You’re going to do, cry now?” He got on the first rung of the stool and flung his body across the table at Joe. Joe’s cupcake fell to the floor as He had him pinned up against a support beam of the room that was 2 feet behind him. His left forearm was up against his throat, and his right arm was cocked back to pound his face. His anger got the best of him. As He swung his arm forward toward his face with his fist so tight, He left marks on his palm from his nails.
He could feel the stares from all of the kids in the room, and he didn’t care. All he cared about was getting rid of all of his anger, and he was perfect. He had the drop on him. He was going to get his, and he was going to get his pound of flesh. The teacher pulled him off Joe and took them to the principal’s office.
The teacher plays the role of the diabetic police very well, and Joe is what I call the “diabetic bully.” He didn’t remember much after that, but He remembers the principal being very supportive of his feelings. It was just another day in his life and another bully to fight. As I said previously, diabetic police – most I believe – mean well but they can’t see the consequences of their actions to the person or child with diabetes.
Eliot LeBow, LCSW, CDE, is a diabetes-focused psychotherapist. His private practice, located in New York City and is also available via Skype. LeBow, who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1977, treats the many diverse cognitive, behavioral, and emotional needs of people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
All the advice included in this blog is therapeutic in nature and should not be considered medical advice. Before making any changes to your diabetes maintenance program, please consult with your primary physician or endocrinologist.