Imagine you come across someone in public. Or you’re a health care provider and you see a patient.
You see this person. Overweight, looks stressed and slightly nervous about being here.
You look a the chart. Type 2 diabetic, on insulin, logs say this person’s blood sugar is running higher than you would like.
You look back at the person, what do you see? Do you see someone who is non-compliant? Someone who doesn’t care for themselves? An annoyance? A burden on society? An idiot?
Let me tell you what you see when you are looking at me. You are seeing a person who has a chronic condition that will never go away. A person who has to worry about this disease from sun up until sun down. Forever. You are seeing a person who has struggled with depression and binge eating since she was 5 years old. You are seeing a person who has a non-typical presentation of diabetes, who must balance insulin resistance with deficiency, as well as losing weight on top of it all. You are looking at a person whose blood sugars are running high, not for lack of effort, but because she can’t afford her next shipment of insulin for a while, and must stretch out what she has.
You are seeing a daughter, a sister, a friend, a partner. A graduate student. A person whose passion in life is to improve the lives of others in similar situations. You are seeing a human being.
So next time you see someone who looks a certain way or has a certain disease, I challenge you look at WHO you see, instead of what.