Je suis une diabétique

Explaining Type 1 Diabetes is always hard.
It’s even harder in your second language.

I meant to brush up on diabetes vocab before I came over here, but I got distracted by other things, like getting medication together, the WDC, and catching up on Modern Family. All extremely important things…

My host family were told that I have type 1 diabetes, but knowing is a whole lot different to understanding. I think it’s harder now that I’ve gained weight, because I look like what the media portrays ‘diabetes’ as…so when I say I can eat whatever I want, I hit doubt at every corner. “Are you sure? Are you sure?” I know it’s all coming out of concern and worry, but damn it’s annoying.

My host family is absolutely lovely, and I’ve hit the jackpot because they eat mostly organic and non processed foods (apart from cheese, oh my god I’ve missed French cheese). However, there have been a few hiccups, and not just with my diabetes.

The girls freaked out whenever I pricked my finger, so now I test in my bedroom. Normal Georgie wouldn’t do that, but I tried explaining and they can’t comprehend that I’m used to it. I think the blood also freaks them out a bit, I keep forgetting people actually have fears like that, it’s only been 3 1/2 years and blood is so normal to me now! When I was working in an English boarding school, the students did the same thing and I just brought out the teacher voice. I don’t have the capabilities in French yet to assertively explain what I’m doing in the right tone (I’ll either sound angry or patronising), so I’ve just decided to be one of those people I swore never to be and test away from people. It’s not worth upsetting them!

Explaining the pump was super hard. Did you ever learn the words for ‘basal’ ‘bolus’, ‘cannula’ or ‘subcutaneous’ in French class? Yeah, me neither. I ended up saying it was an artificial organ that I controlled, which the kids thought was incredibly cool. The youngest delights in telling me that I’m glowing through my t-shirt.

I’m really scared of hypo-ing here, so I’ve been conservative with my carb counting. I’m sitting around 7-10, and I refuse to budge from that. When I’ve left France and I’m living with Sam and Ces in Prato in a month, who know me and speak my language, I’ll aim for 5s, but right now I don’t think the world will end if I just chill up here in the 9s.

Oh also, my endometriosis made an appearance. That bitch. I knew it would, but I thought I was being sneaky taking all my painkillers the night before I thought I was due. Ends up they did nothing, at all. Sometimes they work, sometime they don’t even touch it. This month was one of THOSE months. My host mum came up to my room at 10am to find me rolling around clutching my stomach, crying from the pain and burying my head in the pillows. The poor woman, I think I terrified her. They were so nice, HM kept refilling my hot water bottle and trying to get me to eat while HK#2 sat next to me and put on Ice Age while intermittently stroking my hair and saying “T’as besoin de quelque chose?” (You need something?). It was the oldest kid’s birthday and I was upstairs in pain the whole day, I felt SO bad. They kept telling me “Don’t worry, it’s not your fault, it’s fine, we’re glad you’re ok now!” but I just feel terrible. They got a person with diabetes and a dodgy uterus. My body can go suck a dick (excuse the language, but it can).

It’s been a week and it’s all going well overall! My host family is lovely, the village is lovely, and I am loving the South of France because everyone is SO nice! It feels super weird to be writing in English, I’ve backspaced French words about once every minute while typing. I haven’t lost or destroyed my insulin yet, so fingers crossed it stays like that!

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2 responses to “Je suis une diabétique

  1. 9’s won’t kill you for a month and I agree it is better to be safe ! Sorry to hear about your pain but glad it is better now and things sound amazing.!! Enjoy and keep writing love from the OLearys. Xx

  2. A few years ago I travelled to Paris for an exchange and experienced a lot of what you have! Hope your time was lovely, this was a great read. A terrific way of showing that even in the trickiest of situations, T1D won’t get the better of you!

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