Driving in Ireland with Type 1 Diabetes

Recently, I read a story relating to a person with type 1 diabetes (T1D), who was involved in a minor traffic accident. While sitting in the car afterwards, they decided to check their blood glucose when they were approached by the gardai in an aggressive manner.

This person was very offended and initially I was too on behalf of all people with diabetes (pwd). But then, on processing the situation a bit more and imagining myself in it, I looked at it from a different perspective.

I imagined that I was the Garda, who did not have any knowledge about diabetes. Let's face it, most people who don't have diabetes don't know about it. Not an excuse, I know but it's a fact. And remember that the Gardai is one of the few remaining organisations that a person who uses insulin is disqualified from.

So is mise garda (forgive my terrible irish grammar), on the "beat". I come across a driver who has a small gadget in their lap, I might have even see blood. As a garda, I see all sorts of normal activity every single day but this is something I have never seen before. What is a normal activity for a person with T1D is not a normal activity for a person without T1D and with only approx. 20,000 people with T1D in Ireland (aged from 0 to 100+) how often would a garda come across this kind of activity?

My garda training kicks in and that is to consider if this person is a treat to public safety. I'm also a young garda which means I don't have a lot of people experience to draw from so I would probably be extra cautious. (this situation is totally fabricated by me and I'm making a lot of gigantic assumptions here).

I think that in a strange situation like this I would act first and ask questions when I had ascertained that the situation was safe to do so. What actually happened in the real situation here was that a senior garda came along and gave the young garda a bit of a scolding for his behaviour.

I know it was probably frustrating for the pwd to have had this experienced but also a missed opportunity. If we are to change the perception of diabetes in the general public and create more awareness we should try to use every opportunity we can to educate as many people as possible, one person at a time.

I've included a link to some practical guidelines for people with diabetes to consider before you get behind the wheel and remember the guidelines are not about making life difficult for people with diabetes but keeping us and others on the road safe. See the links below:



Let's be safe out there! And stay calm!