Many of the words related to diabetes are a far cry from everyday English. Spellcheck autocorrects them. People on the street don’t always understand them. Though I’ve been type 1 for three decades, I occasionally need a dictionary when talking to my endocrinologist.
I’ve also found that many of the terms I frequently encounter in my disease management make me think of things that have absolutely nothing to do with diabetes. My mind wanders, and I make up a list of what these common diabetes words should mean:
Basal: Pasta sauce
Carbs: I don’t have an association with this one, but I do like to say it with a pirate accent. Carrrrbs.
Dawn phenomenon: A glorious sunrise
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Insulin Resistant: Insulin in need of a timeout
Islet Cells: A vacation spot in the Caribbean
Glucagon: An alien race on Star Trek
Ketones: A doo-wop band from the 60’s
Lancet: The knight from King Arthur’s Round Table
Microalbumin: A teeny, tiny record
Peak action: Downhill skiing
Polyuria: Where South Pacific the musical took place
Neuropathy: Falling asleep a lot
NPH: Slow down! You’re driving above the NPH!
Risk factor: A great name for a reality show
Test strip: A pop quiz in the nude
An endocrinologist once told me that having type 1 is like involuntarily signing up for a college course that never ends. Until there’s a cure, there will always be new things to learn (and you will be tested on them). But I see it this way: the more I know, the better I’ll be at Scrabble. Bring it on.
Lisa Taylor is a freelance writer, wife, and mother of two. For thirty years (and counting), she’s been living with type 1.