Thursday, April 29, 2010

Books about Diabetes: Judging patients by their cover...

So I am standing in a downtown Indigo bookstore (the largest bookstore chain in Canada) and I am at one of their computers looking up books on diabetes. A young employee approaches me to ask if I need any help finding things. He kind of stutters a bit as he realizes I'm looking up the word "DIABETES"... "Damn," I realize, "I've marked myself as diseased." He seems very happy to scurry away when I say that I am fine. Maybe I am being over sensitive or maybe it's just that I am remembering last summer when I was in another Indigo bookstore and the lady employee helping me carried on our entire conversation while staring at the infusion site on my arm.

Anyway, back to the original story, I'm typing "DIABETES" into the search engine at the computer at the store, because I am curious about something: I was reading a piece for school referencing all these memoirs written by people with diabetes, but I've never actually seen such a thing in book form. Sure enough, the computer turns up an available book:Zippora Karz's The Sugarless Plum is an autobiographical account of her being diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 21, while a professional ballerina with the New York City Ballet. So, that's cool... but I'm not super excited about the ballet... "What else is out there?" I wondered... Well, there are several autobiographic-type books available to order online, but the books I find most interesting were no longer available.

In other words, my friends, if you are looking for the voice of people living with diabetes you are shit out of luck. BUT the good news is if you are looking for books by 'professionals' they are aplenty!

Yep, that's right: if you want to know how to cure, stop, naturally treat, medically manage, eat and exercise your diabetes there is every book imaginable... Ugh. And people wonder why people with diabetes turn to social media/blogging? Maybe it's because we need to see ourselves as something more than just numbers and medical speak.

PS- I checked my university's library and found all of one personal account out of some 189 books available on diabetes. It is Highs & Lows, by Michael Twist (who also happens to be Canadian! Woot!)

PPS- Toronto has a really awesome public library, where I found more autobiographical stories of living with diabetes readily available than my school's library and the bookstore combined.


Crystal said...

I'm diseased?
Crap. I knew something was wrong with me.

Glad you found some good books. :-)

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