T1D Word Association


-Lisa Taylor

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

Brittle: Peanut

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!

Prime: Steak

Rebound: Basketball

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.



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