Childhood diabetes got its 15 minutes of fame when Sonya Sotomayor was nominated to the Supreme Court in 2009. In a host of interviews and a subsequent memoir published in 2011, she recounted how she was forced to manage the disease herself as a young girl. Her father was an alcoholic and her mother was too frightened to handle the burden of keeping her daughter alive. When she was eight, Sotomayor had to boil water to sterilize a syringe –as required back then– fill it with insulin and then inject herself. She had to figure out how to stick to her rigid diet and measure food on her own. Her parents’ abdication might make them seem pathetic to those unfamiliar with diabetes, but I sympathize with them.
Sotomayor and I were both diagnosed in 1962. Reading about her mortified, intimidated parents made me realize the dread and stress my own parents must have felt when the disease descended on us. [Read more…] about Sotomayor’s Parents and the Memory of the Heart