Wednesday 14 August 2019

#DBW2019 - Diabetes and complications: present or repressed

The theme for Wednesday in the #DBW2019 is about complications. For most non-diabethics, and many diabethics, the main symptoms of diabetes is the emergency situations. When the bloodsugar drops so low or go so high that you need to quickly get it in check before going into a coma. Diabetes is an illness that takes a big toll on the body long term as well. If you have heard about diabethics going blind or having to amputate limbs, that's not something that happens over night. I would say a problem when discussing complications is that it's easy to paint a very dark picture, but it's maybe harder to talk about complications that have yet not become too severe.

I have had diabetes for more than 30 years, it's almost inevitable that you are going to have some complications at this stage. For me it's the eyes. I did not manage my diabetes well when I was a student. I thought I did, but in hindsight I definitely didn't. This is also probably where I would have liked it to be some better guidance for someone who got diabetes as a kid, into adulthood. I simply didn't know how diabetes worked, after all that information had gone to my parents not myself. When I first got the news that I had started to get changes in my eyes I got really scared. I remember to a friend that now I was going to be blind, and that I would loose my ability to see costumes and sew. See as a costumer that was my first thought, I just couldn't imagined a life without working with fabric, seeing wonderful creations and then trying to recreate them myself.

crazy detailed stuff like this needs good eyesight
Now the thing is, I didn't go blind. I have had a lot of laser treatments on my eyes, they were in a bad state, but my sight hasn't been affected. I have also not gotten any new changes due to better control of my bloodsugar.

But what about if I had gotten a bad eyesight, or neurological problems that wouldn't leave me not totally able-bodied. How does the costuming and cosplay community really treat people who are not  able-bodied? This is a discussion that has been on the outside of some other costumers' feeds that I follow and I think it's really important to look at one self in this. How welcome does a costumer really feel when they need to have different supports that you can't hide? Glasses, walking sticks or even wheel chairs are necessities for a lot of people in our society. In historical costuming circles it's also easy to sneer at someone sewing by machine, but one should remember that there are people out there who simply can't sew by hand due to their physical limitations.

I can take off my glasses if I want to, others can't
Drawing a line for what is accepted or not in the name of accuracy is a tricky question, and it is important that it is not just the able-bodied members of the costuming community that decide where that line is. As of now I count myself as able-bodied, but I'm guessing the fact that I am maybe a bit more aware than some people that things might change for me in the future makes me also more aware of this issue, and the importance of listening to the people who are the ones actually experiencing a lot more hurdles in their hobby than I do.

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