Work is hard enough already!

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New Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 1/5/2006 8:25 AM (GMT -7)   
So I work in a really small office - I am the only female, which poses its own problems, with 3 men... who don't get the whole emotional thing period... Anyway, I am wondering what other diabetics go through in their work environments... Even though my bosses/co-workers say they are supportive, I don't feel very supported - expecially when I have sick days, which don't just last one day - it's more like a sick week, so I am a mess for days in a row.  Not good.  My point - no one really understands diabetes unless they live it, so I am looking for some help on how to handle diabetes in the work place and perhaps help/advice on how others have educated those around them.  Just doing all the diabetes things I am supposed to be doing (exercise, meal planning, testing, injecting) is hard enough, but to have to continually explain/defend myself stinks.  Have others found it difficult to educate their co-workers, friends, spouses??

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 242
   Posted 1/5/2006 8:53 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Monkey26739,

I find the best thing to do is be as honest as I can.  I make sure that I explain diabetes quite clearly (only if the other person wants to hear it though!). 

If you don't feel comfortable talking about diabetes, others can feel uncomfortable trying to talk about it with you.  And some people may seem like they can't be bothered to discuss it with you but maybe they don't know how to tackle the subject with you.  I've found that sometimes people feel uncomfortable asking me about diabetes in case they offend me, but I reassure them straight away that I'm happy to discuss it.   I don't know how close you are to your colleagues, but maybe you need to just try to explain things openly.  I know it sounds quite bad, but if I explain that I can become unconscious if my blood sugars drop too low it sinks in to people that this can be quite serious and that means they are inclined to be a bit more supportive than they may have been.  You've mentioned that you have to defend yourself.  Explain that if you don't eat when you need to your blood sugars will drop and they will end up having to deal with that.  Educate your co-workers into understanding this a bit better.  The more info you give them the more they'll understand and therefore support you.

Claire x

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 534
   Posted 1/5/2006 9:04 AM (GMT -7)   


Claire always has good advice.  What you might do is leave you diabetes kit with your meter and syringes out on your desk so that people have an opportunity to ask you "whats that".  Makes it much easier to bring them around to the topic and then tell them what you want them to know about your situation.

scool Warren

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 1/5/2006 12:35 PM (GMT -7)   
I wear a med alert bracelet which opens the conversation frequently. Also, not discussing, just telling them something is very important. You need to educate them that if your sugars are low you can become irritable or very grouchy, or you may become dazed or stare into space a bit before you actually pass out. They need to know this so they can help you if you need it.

When I was newly diagnosed my daughter used to notice that I became super grumpy and irrational when I was preparing dinner. What I didn't realize at the time is my sugars were low and I was hungry! She would quietly bring me a half a glass of milk (full of lactose) and 1/2 an apple cut up (fructose) and say "Eat!" Later on she would just ask me if my sugar was low. I'd grump at her but then check it and sure enough it was low. Got so I'd figure it out myself but when I'm stressed or very busy I still have problems with it.

They need to know that mood swings could be signs you're in trouble, not just being 'witchy woman'. You might want to do a bit of teaching to them and your fam so you are safe no matter where you are. Also, I carry a Balance bar, (nutrition bar like a Zone bar) that has like 30%protein, 30% fat and 40%carbs or something like that to help me make it if a meal is delayed or I'm stuck in traffic. It will keep you going and you just have to adjust your next meal to be a bit smaller.

hope this helps.
~ Jeannie

"As one goes through life one learns if you don't paddle your own canoe you don't move."
-Katherine Hepburn

"Madness takes its toll.
Please have exact change."

steven k
Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 1/5/2006 5:46 PM (GMT -7)   
I work in an office with about 30 women I am the only man. Their biggest concern when is their next day off and what are they going to eat next. Most of them are at least 50 pounds overweight. They eat like it was a bottomless pit. (I wish it was) I feel this way they are very unaware and are apathetic and indifferent to their health. I feel what others do is irrelevant to me. I think they know I have diabetis. No one forces or questions me. You would have to threaten me with a weapon to eat if I did not want to eat. It does get frustrating. The reality of life is people who care about their health are in the minority. People do not like to confront addictions or health issues. Not until something happens. We choose to struggle others just give up. It's not uncommon for people to disregard health issues. I might not have as many problems as you though, I'm not on insulin. I'm not sure if you are. It's med, diet, exercise with me. Sometimes I do get a little frustrated. There is so much truth in the saying that ignorance is bliss, Only with us ignorance is not bliss. It' is diabetic complications.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 1/6/2006 1:33 AM (GMT -7)   
Dear one,
I work in a hospital very near to where i reside.These may prove helpful to you.
1)as diabetes has no sex distinctions,i found it very very helpful to tell my colleagues that iam a type 2 diabetic.My sincere advise to you to is to tell your co-workers upfront that you have diabetes.Have you?If you have confided,that's half the battle won.

2)Even if your colleagues show half the curiosity as to what diabetes is and you can communicate,another quarter of the battle is won.Tell them that you need "space" to deal with medication,hypo's,side-effects etc and allow them time to let it all sink in.Then only can you(me included) hope to get their attention and empathy.
3)Once they know that your life-style is quite different from theirs,the throne should be yours.You need frequent snacks,so you may have to leave office to go to a cafetaria more often than them;at times you may have to visit the toilet more often(when the sugars are high);or you may have to stop work and eat a snack in the office itself which is not odd once THEY come to know your compulsions;injecting yourself in the office will no longer be an oddity;you'll have the power to say"NO"if offered anything remotely sweet without offending anyone!The benefits once you break the ice are innumerable.
4)Communication is the key which will make your work spot an oasis!

Mind is a myth,thought is your enemy,no way out!

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 1/16/2006 1:02 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks all! I am just trying to take it day by day. And I am also coming to the realization that maybe I just need a new job - one with less stress and more understanding individuals surrounding me... but until then, thanks for all the comments and advice.
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