Playing the Diabetes Card

Once people get to know me and my sense of humour around t1, they often ask me if I’ve ever “played the diabetes card” to get out of something.
I’m no saint, so the answer is yes. Only once though, I'm also a cautious person. 

To start this story I would like to say I have no gross motor coordination and high school sport was a living hell for me.  During cricket, softball, soccer, whatever, there was always a zone where the ball would never go. I became an expert at occupying this space.

I really don’t do sport. I got Cs in the sport part of PE, usually with a comment saying that I tried. No dear teacher, I just got very good at making it look like I was putting in something resembling effort. I mean working out where to stand to avoid any interaction was effortful! I was also quite good at ducking and twisting out of the way- thanks dance lessons.

So anyway, I hated sport. One day we were playing softball (which is really dangerous for uncoordinated folk like me because that ball is NOT soft).
It was hot.
I feared brain damage.
I was very bored.
My sugar was in range, kinda going down… kinda .

Ok it was probably 6 or something and I tested it again and it was 5.9. This was also back in the day where putting the blood in a little slower lowered the sugar value a tiny bit. (Dodgy diabetes life hacks- don't do that. I doubt it works on new meters anyway.)

“Miss, I’m going to check my level”. 
“Sure Rebecca.”
“Oh miss it’s starting to head down a little, I’d better just sit here for a bit and keep an eye on it.”
(I mean it wasn’t a total lie… right…)
"Of course Rebecca!"

And I got out of the rest of that sport lesson. It was pretty great, not going to lie.

But I never did it again. Mostly because I’m a person who feels really guilty about anything.

... I’d make a terrible criminal.

I don’t like the idea of handouts and entitlement because of a chronic illness. It just feels gross. At its extreme it’s the idea that “Oh I’m sick, I get to do whatever I want!”
No you don’t, get over yourself. Everyone has things to deal with and you can’t rate them as easier or harder. Plus, who wants to be “the sick one”?

Lately I’ve been getting extensions and help because of crazy sugars. I feel weird about asking for help, but those systems are there because I do experience a disadvantage. It was an enormous disadvantage and luckily I had some very generous lecturers. I get the option of 2 week extensions for my individual assignments all year round, no questions asked. I’ve never used one.


Well, how is that fair to anyone else? If I don’t need it, I don’t use it. It took a lot of convincing for me to even approach my lecturers about it a few weeks ago. I’m glad I did, because there is help out there and I really needed it.

But do I play the diabetes card? No, because I don’t think I have one. 


  1. I think as we grow older we find less reason to not take advantage of kindness extended. As a young man I always said no to extra help. Today I am less likely to do so.

    I referred your blog to the TUDiabetes blog page for the week of April 25, 2016


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