Monday, February 6, 2012

How To Support Me

Last week, during our staff training weeks, we spent two days learning about person-centred thinking.

We learned all sorts of tips and tools to help us get a better understanding about the things that are really important to a person as well as the things that are really important for a person.  Because, you see, those things can be quite different.

Some things like running, sleep and diabetes management are important to me and they are also important for me.  Other things, like wearing sensible shoes every day, are important for me but, let's be honest, it annoys me to no end to wear running shoes every day - with every outfit.  And then there are things like red wine, blogging, lazy mornings in bed and fuzzy socks that are important to me, regardless of whether or not they are important for me.

One tool that I really resonated with during our training was called the One Page Summary.  Not a very catchy name but it was a pretty effective tool.  You see, where I work, we support people with a developmental disability.  Not everyone we serve is able to tell us who they are as a person, what is important to them, how to best support them, and what makes them happy.  So we use a combination of guesswork, experience, intuition and voodoo to figure those things out.  Once we've figured out some of these things, the trainers suggested that we create a One Page Summary.  The summary would typically include a photo (or photos) of the person and would provide a quick overview of who they are.  The headings are: what people like and admire about me, what is important to me and how to support me.  The information provided allows other people to read it and get an idea about who the person really is.  This tool has proven to be very effective in our field but also in other places like hospitals, retirement homes, long-term care facilities, hospices etc.  It speaks for a person when they can't always speak for themselves.

It got me thinking about my own One Page Summary and what should be on it.  Here's what I came up with.

Who I am and what is important to me: 
  • I love to run and swim.
  • I have type one diabetes and wear an insulin pump.
  • I love reading books and I love talking about them.  If you want to make me happy, ask me lots of questions about what I'm reading.
  • I love movies.  Don't talk to me about it before I go see it but, once I've watched right 'til the end, take me for coffee or wine and let's discuss.
  • I love to cook and try new recipes but I always worry that what I made doesn't have enough flavour.  Don't lie to me if it's bland - just tell me and I'll add flavour if I can.
  • My parents, my sisters and my grandmother mean the world to me and there isn't much I wouldn't do for them.
  • I love Doug very much.  So much that I let him take care of me (which is really hard for me to do).  Since he walked into my life it has become about as close to perfect as it can get.
  • I like to watch curling on television.
  • I love CBC radio one.
  • I love photography (taking pictures, looking at pictures, camera equipment - anything to do with photography is wicked).
  • I hate loud music, loud television and loud noises of any kind.
  • Chocolate, peanut butter, pomegranates, plain yogurt and red wine are my favourite foods (and drinks).

How to support me: 
When you find out that I have Type 1 Diabetes, do not say:
  • "Oh, you have the bad kind" 
  • "Oh, but I thought you were healthy" 
  • "What did you do to get it?"
  • "Yes but there's a cure right?" (ummm yes, I'm just wearing the pump 'cause I think it's cool)
  • "Omigod I could never give myself needles, if I got diabetes I just would die." 
  • "My grandmother had diabetes.  She lost her leg, went blind and was on dialysis.  She's dead now."
  • "I saw Steel Magnolias.  Are you as bad as her?  She died you know?"  
  • "Can you eat that?" 
  • "Are you sure you should be eating that?"  
  • "Have you tried cinnamon?  That's supposed to cure diabetes."
  • "So, now that you take insulin you are completely under control right?"
  • "Oh, you're on the pump? That must mean your diabetes is really out of control."
  • "You've had it for ten years?  And you still have it?" 
When I check my blood sugar, please do not hover over me trying to see the number.  It's really none of your business.  Only a very privileged few get unfettered access to my blood sugar results.  The rest of you do not.  If that feels hurtful, imagine the feeling of me standing by your bathroom scale as you step on to it in the morning.  Do you really want an audience?

When I check my blood sugar, do not ask me what the number is in front of a group of people.  I will always respond with the same answer "it's fine" whether I'm 2.4 or 22.4.  Don't ask in front of people.  Again, if you think I'm being rude, just imagine me asking you in front of a group of people "so, did you weight yourself this morning?  What was the number?"

If you have honest to goodness questions about diabetes: what causes it, how to manage it, what I can and cannot do, how my pump works, how running affects it etc etc, please ask.  I am always happy to explain and to educate. But for goodness sakes, don't say ridiculous things like "well, you probably got it because you ate too much candy as a child".  There is no telling when it will happen but, at some point, I may go postal.  If your question is the once that puts me over the edge - I may kill you...

...and I will blame it on low blood sugar...

...because we all know that low blood sugar causes diabetic people to act drunk and belligerent. Since I cannot be responsible for my actions it won't be my fault.


1 comment:

  1. My first day back at the blogs in a few days. This made me laugh, smile, nod my head and wince in appreciation all at the same time :)