A couple of weeks ago I attended Events of the Heart. It is put on by one of our local hospitals and it is designed to get the word out about women and heart disease and how important it is for woman to be aware of our hearts and what we need to do to keep them healthy. It was going to be a night of education as well as "Angina Monologues" plus food and wine. You can read more about the cause here. I was looking forward to what I thought was going to be a great evening out with some lovely ladies.
I met up with my friend at her house and away we went. The event was located at the local theater. The cocktail hour was held outside in the courtyard and it was a gorgeous evening. I even wore heels! The chimes rang and we headed in to our seats.
The lights dimmed and the host of the evening and initial speaker took the podium. She began speaking about women and heart disease and how important this evening was. Then she mentioned diabetes. My ears pricked up. She talked about the future statistics and how the number of cases of diabetes is increasing. Then she said it. "Diabetes is preventable." I froze. I thought to myself she didn't really mean that right? And she said it again. "Diabetes is 100% preventable."
I was in shock. Part of me wanted to walk out but I didn't I stayed and I tried to focus the rest of the evening. It wasn't easy. The performances were good and the cardiac surgeon was outstanding. She did a Top 10 List of things to know about heart disease and she did a great job (and she never said diabetes was preventable). It was a hard stuff to listen to though because as a mom of a child with diabetes I know the risks. I know everyday when her number is high that that is putting her at more risk for complications later in life. And this night was statistic after statistic of risk factors and concerns. I felt horrible by the time I got home.
My poor husband got an earful when I got home and it wasn't very calm or collected. I was mad. Here I had been at an event sponsored by a hospital and they were perpetuating diabetes stereotypes! Would they like to look my 5 year old daughter in the eye and explain how she could have prevented this? The next morning I sent an email to the hospital's Healthcare Foundation asking to speak to someone regarding the event. I wanted to speak directly to the woman who made the incorrect comments but I had no way of reaching her. The Executive Vice President from the Foundation returned my email and said she would love to speak to me. When I called her back, I was calm and collected. I explained who I was, who my daughter was and how the things said that night were so harmful to her and countless others who live everyday with Type 1 diabetes. I said that as a medical institution they have a responsibility to make sure accurate information is being delivered. She was very kind and receptive. She also mentioned that she would speak to the woman that made the comments and express my concerns.
Yesterday I received a second call from the Vice President saying she spoke to the speaker who was very sorry for what she had said and that she would love to be able to speak directly to me if I was comfortable with that. I told her I was completely comfortable with that. I hope to hear from her soon and I will keep you updated if I do.
So I may have failed horribly at writing a blog post everyday but it turns out I am an advocate!