Monday, March 25, 2013

Manager, Not Controller

Manage vs. Control

I keep seeing or hearing people write or ask about “controlling” diabetes.  

“You’ll get control of it”   

“Do you have it under control yet?”

I know I’m about to launch into a semantics debate, but it’s bugging me.  We don’t control diabetes; it controls us.  However, we can and do learn to manage this beastly disease.  There IS a difference.

According to

“Manage” is defined as ‘to bring about or succeed in accomplishing, sometimes despite difficulty or hardship and ‘to take charge or care of’.

“Control” is defined as ‘to dominate’ or ‘to eliminate or prevent the flourishing or spread of’. 

I really should stop right there.  Enough said, right?  But, no.  I’m not one to hold my tongue if I’m passionate about something.  Just ask my friends J

You see, as a T1D parent, I cannot ‘control’ diabetes.  I cannot dominate it; I cannot (much to my chagrin) prevent it from flourishing or spreading.  I can, however, ‘manage’ this craptastic disease to the best of my ability.  I can try to ‘accomplish’ ideal blood glucose numbers ‘despite difficulty and hardship’.  I can ‘take charge’ and ‘take care’ of my boys and their condition to the best of my ability.  I can manage their day-to-day life so that I worry about diabetes, they worry about being kids.  Every day is different.  Every day is new.  And, I am in control of none of it!

At work, I manage people. We work together.  I try to positively influence them into performing the best work possible.  Most nights it works well.  At no point in time, however, do I ever control them.  They are intelligent autonomous creatures who can buck in a minute!  Whatever is going on in their worlds can impact how they perform, despite my best efforts. 
Much the same, I can manage a patient textbook perfect, but Mother Nature controls the ultimate course of life!  Like Diabetes, I can do everything perfectly, I can manage perfectly, but there are factors I cannot control that impact the outcome.

At home, I manage children.  Positive and negative reinforcement.  Discipline and consequences.  Trying to get five boys to do their chores, do their homework, not fight, not scratch themselves in front of their mother, and bathe appropriately is no easy task, but I MANAGE.  I’m not foolish enough to think I control because they all have great stubborn will and autonomy, and they will “forget” (conveniently), be moody, and argue if so inclined.   Scratch away, they will! I can manage the situation, I cannot control their wills.  Some days, no amount of bribery, positive reinforcement or persuasion can convince them to cooperate.

Same thing with Diabetes.  I manage it.  I work with food, insulin, glucose meters and logic (Sorcery, Science, Math, and Voodoo) in attempts to yield the best results possible.  Unfortunately, diabetes is a petulant child. I can sweet-talk, bribe, and make promises, but it will NOT be controlled. One day, Diabetes will respond to my efforts, the next day, it won’t. As a matter of fact, if D thinks I’m getting the upper hand, he will fight back in his ardent refusal to be controlled.  Diabetes gives ME positive and negative reinforcements. Diabetes scratches his privates in front of me on a regular basis! Diabetes will cooperate one day, but refuse to play by the rules the next day.

Diabetes is an invisible foe who hides around corners and sneaks up behind you when you’re not looking. Diabetes will give you the illusion of control, but ultimately, D is in control! (We’ve had a decent week of numbers, so I’m just waiting for Diabetes to resume ‘control’ of the situation and make me work to ‘manage’ it all over again!).

So, until a cure is found, neither my boys, Jerry, nor I will ever control the situation.  Instead, we’ll attempt to manage it.

Off my soap box.  (Should I get started about ‘your vs. you’re’?  Their vs. They’re vs. There?)


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