I’d never heard the term before last year when I made a new friend named Joe. Joe’s a diabetes educator and therapist who works with families with diabetes. Joe was the first to acquaint me with the “diabetes wannabee” talking about a colleague of his whom he respects enormously who doesn’t have diabetes but is so totally supportive you’d think she did. I found it a strange notion–after all why would anyone want to have diabetes? Then surprisingly soon after, I began wondering if my husband was exhibiting “diabetes wannabee” tendencies.
A recent blood test he had taken revealed a fasting glucose of 102 and he was immediately alarmed. The doctor reassured him that 2 points above the cut off was nothing to be concerned about, but it did concern him and living with me he had the opportunity to measure his blood glucose whenever he wanted so I gave him his own meter and lancing device.
He approached the task with what appeared to be unnatural gusto and glee deciding he would measure his glucose four times a day for three days. Like clockwork the first day at the appropriate hour he walked into the kitchen where we keep the meters, pulled out a test strip, inserted strip into meter, secured an appropriate finger and ample drop of blood and recorded his number. I would watch withholding a smile, yet after his third test I began to notice some uncomfortable feelings within myself: Was I jealous? Was he encroaching on my territory? Were we both now worthy of sympathy, not just me? I went so far as to wonder what would life be like if we both had diabetes? Midway through the second day, however, whatever novelty motivated his initial burst of enthusiasm wore off, the testing stopped, I got my fair share of, “I don’t know how you do it!” and my “diabetes wannabee” was a “diabetes don’twannabeeanymore.” Also, his numbers confirmed no diabetes.
I guess you could see having diabetes as membership in an exclusive club, like getting picked to play on a sports team without having had to wait embarrassedly while the team captain decided whether or not he’d pick you. Maybe that is the allure to the “diabetes wannabee,” but whatever it be now that my “diabetes wannabee” has run off the field I get to reclaim the star position on this turf and I’m truly happy for a host of reasons that I’m the only one on the field.