A quick response to the news that Theresa May looks likely to be appointed Prime Minister of Great Britain. Firstly, my son is going to be ticked off as she’s thwarted his ambition to be the first PM with Type 1 Diabetes, but I’ll reassure him that he might be the first male PMWT1D (no offence Jamie Reed, MP, but you have a young buck on your heels).
On first look, setting aside political views, the news is positive: proving that people with T1D can achieve anything. But there are doubts. May was diagnosed very late (51) – many T1D “names” are diagnosed later. As well as raising the question as to whether she understands what our kids experience, there is the fear that this achievement could be used against them. Why should they need help, DLA, EHCPs, extra accessibility measures, if a person with T1D can run the country? Why invest in a cure or new technology if this is such a very manageable condition? Speculation abounds about her clinical management – she’s rumoured to be on only two injections a day suggesting that she retains more pancreatic function than a typical person with T1D.
Whatever her clinical status (which is none of anyone’s business), the argument is similar to saying that because a woman is PM there is no longer wage inequality or gender discrimination. Yes, a female or T1D PM is positive, but it doesn’t negate the need for progress.
As to her empathy for kids with T1D… She has worked with JDRF and talked to children. She’s, by all accounts, an intelligent woman, and she gets it. But we should expect no favours, quite the opposite. With a pitiful number of children getting their care measures or achieve their glucose target already, that’s a worry, let alone access to new technology such as the artificial pancreas which could become available during her tenure.
On the whole though, anything that raises awareness of T1D must be a good thing? And we at least know that she has the skills for a top job: managing the vagaries of T1D, facing the fears, multitasking and making life or death decisions in a volatile environment, being acutely self-aware, numerate, analytical, learning continuously and showing resilience and emotional control. These are the skills my son has too. I’m only sorry she’s pipped him to the post.