Sunday, September 12, 2010

"Sticky" Diabetes Management

In a small group at church this past weekend, we delved into a current events course and how these issues of our time can be viewed based on Scripture. The key topic of discussion was one the Florida pastor who doesn't deserve to be named, simply because of his most recent plan to burn another faith's Holy Book. Thankfully, this act of hate didn't happen. But what we discussed was how this particular "Man of God" seemingly wasted what could have been such a wonderful opportunity to express why he and his congregation opposed this religion, and used that as a teaching tool to educate others about those issues. One group member whom I've grown to greatly respect in the past two years of our church-going experience made an interesting point: this highlights the line between Prescriptive and Proscriptive.

As the terms suggest, Prescriptive systems tend to list out all the possible things that can be done legally. Clear lists of what can be done, so that everything is black and white. There are no "sticky situations" or gray areas that you might need to analyze whether those listed items can actually solve a particular problem. Systems based on this structure say you can reach salvation only by doing A, B, and C. If you deviate, then you simply won't be allowed into heaven.

On the other hand, Proscriptive Laws are not mere rulebooks or manuals but serve an altogether different function. Their purpose is more cautionary and they tend to serve like the maps a pioneer uses in his exploration of new land: marking off whirlpools and quagmires while leaving large tracts blank and open to investigation. You have guideposts, or commandments that should direct you in the general direction but they don't set out specifically how you might get there. The system leaves much open, accounting for many of the "stick situations" one may encounter and leaving it open for how to navigate those scenarios based on Scripture, experience, and one's own views.

All of this also seemed to fit in with a recent series of sermons we've had in our church delving into those things in life and religion that may be "Sticky" - love, life, church, missions, and situations.

This was an overall intriguing topic of the most recent Sunday's church group discussion about this current event. But even more interesting was my reflection on this at home later in the day, when I thought this was a particularly relevant issue as it relates to Diabetes Management.

See, many (read some in the medical community, D-Police, and non-People With Diabetes) have Prescriptive views of what it means to manage our health - "Follow the rules, and you won't be High or Low and there won't be any long-term complications." But if you have Highs or Lows or complications, then you must not be doing what's required and you are wrong."

Then, there's the Proscriptive view that most PWDs actually know to be the way it works: "We have guideposts on D-Care and do our best with testing, carb counting, bolusing, and exercise, but sometimes you can't always control what happens and we see a High or a Low. Or worse."

Our modern civilization embraces the Proscriptive sense more than Prescriptive, showing us both pros and cons and allowing us to choose which way we see as the best. The biggest advantage that Prescriptive Law has over its Proscriptive counterpart is that it is comprehensive, but that also means it leads to those gray areas that some Prescriptives might be uncomfortable with. Anything is possible, and they lose control. They can't accept that uncertainty exists, and so they turn to that ultimate list of Dos and Don'ts and become convinced all the answers can be found there.

To me, that relates as much to the Qua-ran Burning episode as it does to D-Care. One group maintained that Islam is of the devil, but never outlined why they believed this or accepted that extremists who contorted these religious beliefs with hatred didn't represent all possible ways one can embrace Islam. We can pretty much assume this congregation in Florida follows the "Prescriptive" view of the world and Christianity, in that those not following what they believe to be God's word must be evil. But they lose sight of the love, tolerance, religious freedom, and "embracing your enemy" themes that are so potent in the Bible and in our society. We must not take Scripture out of context, confine it to a list of Dos or Donts, and expect to find our solutions for any possible problem.

Just the same as with Diabetes, where we know that so many possibilities exist and that we have some basic guideposts to keep us healthy. We go through our lives with diabetes, knowing that we're shooting for the 70 to 120 range, the great A1c numbers, and what we really shouldn't do because it could lead to not-so-fun experiences. We use our "Bibles", our "pastors", and our own experiences to base our decisions and do what's best as we see it to be. Navigating whatever "sticky situations" might come at us.

I have faith that He's guiding me and giving me the tools I need to manage my soul and D-Life. I know that, with His guidance, my options are pretty much limitless and the answers will be found, even without those definite black and white situations when things get sticky.

4 comments:

Scott said...

That is a great post, Mike, and certainly a thought provoking one

Wendy said...

I really enjoyed this!

Kudos for a faith post -- so often I feel as though God is not given the recognition He deserves. I genuinely appreciate running across a good dose of faith here!

PS (I've got a big one scheduled for Monday...spirituality and a sizzling hot topic....stay tuned!)

Sarah said...

Good post!
I agree. I don't like the way that pastor was trying to get his point across. If he does believe the Bible and preaches it, he should know that God knew we'd live among other religions that didn't believe in Him. That's why in the old testament His people were told not to marry into the others and to not be unequally yoked together. You can live amongst them, just don't conform to them.

As far as D is concerned, I agree. "Pre" anything means "before", so of course people who don't have diabetes or didn't have diabetes before would assume by the way the media is that diabetes is cut and dry - follow the rules and you'll be ok.
However those of us who are "pro" (after or forward) have experienced the real deal - we know what life is REALLY like after diagnosis. It's not cut and dry. It's complicated.

Mitchell said...

You may be interested in my new book, How Sweet It Is: Living and Learning from Diabetes. It examines the illness from a multi-dimensional perspective – namely the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual worlds. I can be reached at dreamguru36@gmail.com. The book is available online through Ingram.