Have you ever had someone look at you like you’re speaking a different language when you say something about type 1 diabetes? They’re not far off — we do basically have our own language when we’re talking about this stuff that’s totally normal to us but foreign to anyone else listening in. Think of all the words and phrases we use on a regular basis that almost everyone else wouldn’t understand:
“Where’s my testing kit?”
Meter, kit, testing kit, tester… I don’t know what you usually call it, but I’m betting that you don’t say “blood glucose meter” every time you refer to it. Kaitlyn usually says testing kit… but if you didn’t know her, you might be wondering what in the world she could be testing. Getting ready for the ACT maybe?
“Please calibrate your CGM.”
I’m pretty sure all of us know the acronym CGM, because “continuous glucose monitor” is way too long to say. Although you might get some weird looks from outsiders trying to decide if we’re talking about a cute grey mouse, a crusty green money, or maybe some confidential government mail… intriguing!
“I feel low/I feel high.”
This is always a fun one! No, she’s not using archaic language to express that she’s feeling sad — it just means she has a low blood sugar. And when she says she feels high, well… we don’t do that in our family.
“What’s your number?”
This is a question I ask Kaitlyn at least 20 times a day. She knows exactly what I mean, but to anyone else, they might think I’m asking for… a phone number, an age, a temperature, a video game score, a math test grade? Nope! The only number I’m concerned about here is her blood sugar reading.
Have you ever been sitting in a restaurant trying to tell your kid how many carbs are on their plate just when the server walks by? Waitstaff tend to give a questioning look when I answer 85. It’s not the price — at least let’s hope not! We’ve also had dinner guests at our home raise an eyebrow when Kaitlyn walks over, points at her plate, and asks, “How much?” No, we don’t bribe our children to eat our cooking.
A1C, basal, bolus, carb ratio…
There are so many more. Type 1 diabetes really has created a special language, and we’re proud to be fluent!
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.