AITA: Diabetes Edition

If you aren’t familiar with the acronym AITA, then let me break it down for you: It stands for “am I the asshole”?

It stems from Reddit, which is basically a ginormous discussion thread website. It provides a forum for people to post stories in which they’re unsure whether they’ve acted like, well, an asshole. Then other folks who see the initial post can chime in with their opinion on whether they think yes, the OP (original poster) did act selfishly/foolishly/asshole-ly or no, the OP acted in accordance with what they would have done, had they been in that person’s shoes. It can be a wildly entertaining guilty pleasure to fall down the rabbit hole of these discussion threads and deduce for oneself if a perfect stranger on the Internet did indeed act like an asshole in a given situation or not.

I found myself immersed in one of these AITA threads that my cousin sent me because, of course, it had to do with diabetes. Long story short, the OP wondered AITA for moving their roommate’s insulin out of the way, causing said roommate to panic and be forced to resort to an emergency insulin supply because they were unable to locate what had been stored in the refrigerator. Now, in just that context alone, I would’ve said that the OP wasn’t an a-hole because they probably just didn’t know any better, but as I scrolled further along in the thread I discovered that they thought it was fine to do and that diabetics were fine in historical times when there was no refrigeration. And he took his ignorance a step further by posting a comment about how he didn’t know what the big deal was about taking a vial of “sugar water” – yes, that’s what he called insulin – out of the fridge.

That’s when I immediately realized, yep, the OP can wear the AITA crown with certainty. This whole anecdote might come across as a teensy weensy blip in the universe of Internet discussion threads, but to me, it stands out as a perfect example that even people who are closest to those living with T1D can get such a significant detail about it so, incredibly wrong. And it’s proof that we’ve got a long way to go in terms of educating the world on the importance and purpose of insulin, apparently, even though stories about it have hit so many headlines in recent years.

TL;DR (another Reddit acronym meaning too long; didn’t read): Let’s get it straight, now, that insulin is a life-saving medication that needs to be stored properly in order for it to be used – and IMHO (in my humble opinion), never take it away from a person living with diabetes without asking them about it first.