My friend told me a story about this kid with diabetes in his sixth grade class. Apparently, this student wasn’t held responsible for any misbehavior because when his blood sugar was high, he wasn’t able to control his actions.
Now, I think we can all mostly agree that this is kind of ridiculous, right?
He explained how he got in the fight with this kid one day (normal typical sixth grade fight) and while my friend was suspended for hitting the kid, the other kid received no punishment because he had diabetes and his blood sugar must’ve been high during the incident.
I don’t know who decided this kid could get away with anything if his blood sugar was high, but I do know it’s easy to abuse some of the “benefits” of having a chronic illness like diabetes.
A good friend of mine, a Type 1 diabetic woman in her mid-thirties, uses her diabetes regularly to get out of speeding tickets. She puts on a great hypoglycemic act-panting, panicking, telling the officer her blood sugar is low and she’s speeding only in order to find the closest gas station and get some juice.
And she’s good at this act. Once, the officer even drove behind her to the gas station and bought her the orange juice himself
And I have to admit, after she told me this, I tried to get out of a speeding ticket, too, a couple years ago. And it worked, but I’m a horrible, horrible liar and the officer knew I was speeding purely because I have a lead foot and I drive like I’m on a racetrack.
But when I told him I just needed to get to the next gas station for the sake of my diabetes, he asked to see my insulin and medical alert because he could tell I was lying. Unfortunately for him, I had my insulin and my medical alert and he simply couldn’t argue with a potentially dangerous chronic illness – so he let me go.
For some reason, I don’t feel guilty about getting out of a $150 speeding ticket by abusing my diabetes. And I haven’t been pulled over since.
But when is it crossing the line? Maybe what I did is crossing the line in many people’s opinions – and rightly so, because, well, lying is lying.
I’ve seen a young diabetic boy get out of cleaning up a mess of toys by claiming his blood sugar was low. I’ve seen a young girl get out of having to go to gym class by claiming her blood sugar was low. I ended up asking both kids to check their blood sugars for me only to find they were perfectly fine.
Is using my disease to get out of a speeding ticket just as bad as getting out of cleaning up a mess I made? I’d argue that everybody tries somehow to get out of speeding tickets, for example, by crying (which I’m not capable of in the face of a power-hungry police officer…I’m more likely to chuckle, actually).
So where is the line crossed? I think we can agree that my friend’s classmate was pushing the limits…and maybe I was, too. Have you ever abused your diabetic privileges?
Ginger Vieira has lived with Type 1 diabetes and Celiac disease since 1999, and fibromyalgia since 2014. She is the author of Pregnancy with Type 1 Diabetes & Dealing with Diabetes Burnout & Emotional Eating with Diabetes & Your Diabetes Science Experiment. Ginger creates content regularly for Diabetes Strong, Healthline, HealthCentral, DiabetesDaily, EverydayHealth and her YouTube channel. Her background includes a B.S. in professional writing, certifications in cognitive coaching, Ashtanga yoga, and personal training,with several records in drug-free powerlifting. She lives in Vermont with her husband, their two daughters, and their dog, Pedro.