Living With Type 2 Diabetes: I’m Not Drunk

Several items on the market today will alert others of our medical conditions. Choices range from electronic devices that can be worn on the belt or around the neck, to medical alert bracelets, to paper cards that are carried in a wallet or purse.

I vividly remember receiving what has to be the most shocking alert device of all when I was first diagnosed with diabetes. It was a small credit card sized piece of paper, and it read, “I’m not drunk, I have diabetes.” Foul words can describe how I felt but to put it nicely, I felt labeled. How could I go from being a healthy stud, to a card carrying member of an illness that has symptoms that may make someone think that I’m drunk?

Now that I’m aware of the symptoms and effects that glucose levels can have on a person, I can see how that little card can come in handy. It’s very possible that I could have been mistaken for being drunk on the job due to me falling asleep almost uncontrollably at my desk. Driving slow at night due to glucose affecting vision could have led a police officer to believe that I was a drunk driver. When a family friend drove over the side of a two-story parking garage, killing himself and his five-year-old grandson, many people assumed that he was intoxicated. What really happened is that he went into a diabetic coma and lost control of the car. Having a medical alert card to indicate that he was a diabetic may have explained his actions.

Although it’s been a while since I was given my card, it still rides in my wallet (albeit at the very back of my wallet), and I hope that my diabetes never gets out of control to the point that someone thinks that I’m drunk.