As diabetics, we face all sorts of obstacles when it comes to managing this disease in ourselves, our children, and our loved ones. Not in the least of these obstacles is ignorance of the disease itself. Much like diabetes, there are two types of ignorance: there are the sympathetic folks that want to learn more about type 1 diabetes. They may ask how many shots we take, or if we use pumps. I have found that these people generally have known someone with T1 sometime in their life, but don't really know a lot about the disease itself.
Then there's the other type of ignorance. Stupid ignorance. Dangerous ignorance. First example, there is a family on the boards at Children with Diabetes right now that is facing a battle that will absolutely make your blood boil. Their three children are in a private school, and one of those kids has T1 diabetes. Seems the always-brilliant school nurse felt that this newly-diagnosed child was having too many lows at school (she'd had three in one week). The rational solution here would be to share these concerns with the parents and discuss with the endo ways to adjust her insulin. It's also worth noting that this child is still in the honeymoon, making lows partucularly unpredictable.
But if this nurse were acting rationally this wouldn't make much of a story would it? Fast-forward a few hours to when all the kids have come home for the day and are talking with mom and dad about their day. The two non-diabetic kids inform their parents that some "people" had come to the school asking the kids lots and lots of questions about their mommmy and daddy. The school nurse had called children's protective services. Among the allegations the nurse levied were claims that the "child's diabetes is not being managed properly because she has had lows," and the parents are neglecting their child because they aren't packing her a "special diabetic lunch" every day. Dad was, understandably, enraged. He called the school and let them know exactly how he felt. The school's response? Add dad to the list because he's belligerent.
This is the dangerous side of diabetes ignorance. An ignorant person doesn't know that diabetics sometimes go high, and we sometimes go low. It happens. Ignorant people say things like "Did eating too much sugar give you diabetes?" And they also think that we have to eat a "special" diet like a lab rat. These are the people that stare at our kids and whisper when we give them a cookie while we're out shopping.
Stories like this are what keep me writing, and I promise that if I can goad the name and address of the school out of the parents I will post it here with a big yellow sign.