I remember when Diabetes Forecast, the magazine published by the American Diabetes Association, stopped using the word “diabetic” as a noun. The editor wrote an essay about how saying PWD (person with diabetes) was much better. Given my love of all things concise, I thought no one would know the acronym and using “person with diabetes” all of the time would be clunky. I didn’t get it.
Then I heard the story of 5-year-old Shane. Shane is a smart, active kid who loves baseball, swimming, and playing with his dog. He also happens to have type 1 diabetes. One day, his school nurse was overheard saying “Go get the diabetic. It’s time for his shot.” Suddenly, I got it.
Here’s Shane, a great kid with many talents and interests, who is known only for having diabetes. Would it have been so difficult for the nurse to say “Go get Shane. It’s time for his shot.” I don’t think so.
Yes, we have diabetes, but we’re people first. Always remember that.