I am a software engineer and type one diabetic. does anyone have tips on how to keep woring through the highs and lows and how to remember everything while involved in work? Any other random useful tips?
While at work, I tend to eat lower carb and make an extra effort to pre-bolus and calculate the bolus correctly.
Using a cgm really helps me because I can avoid severe lows by having carbs preemptively when I have a downward trend.
Do you have access to a cgm?
I agree with @katers87. I eat lower carb and wear a CGM - helps a lot to work through a day without diabetes getting in my way any more than a poor choice of lunch menu might get in someone else’s way…
I tend to eat a large familiar breakfast and then have nothing more than a snack in the afternoon. When I ate larger lunches, I often found myself going low.
If you can build the flexibility into your workday so that you can take a 40 minute or even an hour walk when you really need one and then make up the time later it’s a big help. For me the choice of work setting is a crucial factor.
You also have to be honest with yourself about how much you can do. We all like to think/say that diabetes doesn’t limit us but just maybe that’s not 100% true. I for one had to reduce the size of my accounting practice when I was first diagnosed to make sure that the clients I kept were getting good service.
The greatest danger to career and reputation is having a severe hypoglycemic period in public while working. I have had the experience of people thinking I was drunk, on drugs, dying, going insane, etc. Some people scream, others call the police, and many assume you must be an epileptic, so they start forcing things into your mouth to stop you from biting your tongue. Trying living down the show you put on during a severe low when you return to your workplace!
My general practice is to ensure that my blood sugar is a little high before I know I will be in a situation where I can’t check or treat it for a while in a public setting. Most of my unpleasant experiences were during my undergraduate degree, before there were home glucometers so I was really in the dark about my current blood sugar level.
Unfortunately, for a series of lectures I’m now giving the university requires that they be three hours long, so the possibility of significant blood sugar changes while I’m performing is high. Once, last year, my blood sugar fell so low and so suddenly during a lecture that I had to sit down and could no longer speak properly, nor could I follow my notes, so I just ended the class about a half hour early. I got away with it that time, since I think the students just thought I was sleepy, but next time I may not be so lucky.
I work in a professional career where going low is my worst fear. I work with children with disabilities in sometimes dangerous environments (crossing streets or cooking) and I really can never afford to go low when a student’s safety and sometimes life are my responsibility.
I also have a highly variable schedule where some days are sitting in meetings or an office all day, some are commuting around the city all day, some are teaching workshops all day, some are working with kids all day, and some are travelling by plane all day…or any combination of the above in a single day.
So I actually began eating a really low-carb diet to remedy this fear of going low. With eating low-carb, everything is smaller. There’s less food on board, less insulin on board, less of a chance that something was miscalculated and will go wrong. Highs and lows are less extreme and take less insulin or food to correct.
Eating low-carb, carrying glucose tablets on me at all times, and using my pump to bolus as-needed, and checking my CGM frequently has worked extremely well for me. Of course, it’s not perfect since there are factors besides food that greatly affect blood sugar, but it’s by far the best combination I’ve found to keep me and the kids I work with safe.
Also, I always have extra glucose tablets, extra pump supplies, and an extra pen and insulin in my bag. If I have a serious high or low, dropping what I’m doing and running to a store to get more is not an option. So I try to be prepared as much as possible.
Hi Jen, I’m a Web Designer at Petstreetmall which is an online store that sells pet supplies. The problem with our work is that we do not have much exercise everyday. We only sit and move our fingers and our eyes. Which affect our metabolism which has a great factor for our health. I advice you to do exercise even for 10-15 mins a day. It will help boost your metabolism.
I’ll echo a lot of what’s been said so far. I work in IT as well, and when it gets down to coding, presenting in meetings, stand ups, etc etc, not having to worry about highs or lows (lows esp. since they tend to really interfere with my ability to think clearly) is really important. Low carb meals, CGM, carrying around Starbursts in my pocket in case of ill-timed low, are all important.
I don’t broadcast my condition, but generally people working around me eventually find out-- esp. when I pass up pizza, donuts, etc that invariably find their way into the office … or when I pull out my ancient-looking Omnipod PDM and people ask… “geez what’s that, a pager or a Palm Pilot?”
Exercise of some kind or another is important-- depending on the specifics of your role/situation, physical activity can sometimes be harder to come by, so do try to make a point to get up and out on a regular basis. I find it helps with insulin action too.
Our jobs sound quite different. (I’m a teacher in the special education field, working in many different schools and with many different students.) Some days I walk 20,000+ steps at work, some days only a couple thousand. So my challenge with my job is not a lack of activity, but rather a wide variance in activity level.
I agree, though, that daily activity is important. I commute to and from work most days, which involves walking about 30 minutes each way (and 30 minutes on a bus/train). So I end up getting about an hour of exercise a day. I also go to the gym, swim, or use my stationary bike several times a week (I try to do this on days when I don’t get close to 10,000 steps, though it’s hard some days when I also have evening committments).
I would be absolutely lost without my smartwatch! If you don’t already have one, set yourself up with one and schedule some reminders. I don’t know if you’re on a CGM, but when I didn’t have one, I would set up a reminder on my watch to check my BGL 2 hrs. after a meal, because that was just something I couldn’t remember to do in the middle of my day. Most of them are smart enough to program a verbal reminder like “remind me to check glucose two hours from now”. I remember once treating a low and telling my watch to “remind me to check glucose every 15 minutes for the next two hours” and it worked!
I am a church musician. I don’t work long hours, it’s not a strenuous job. It’s a job that I absolutely LOVE doing. I love to sing and play music in front of any kind of crowd,but church is where I actually get paid to do it.
My worries aren’t about going low. That has never been my worry. My worry is how to make it through singing at someone’s wedding without running my blood sugar up to 350. It’s not just weddings. It could be a funeral, Sunday service, Christmas, Easter, special celebration.
Any time I get up in front of people to perform music, it’s an adrenaline situation. It’s actually a wonderful moment of time where I really feel alive in my own skin. The irony of it is that it’s probably killing my insides.
I have tried everything to stop it from happening—eating/not eating, exercising/not exercising, dosing prior immediately prior to performance. Whatever I dose, it’s never enough. Sometimes the adrenaline continues to pump for an hour or two after the performance is over. Of course this all requires a huge correction afterwards.
I keep pretty good numbers otherwise. my a1cs are consistently in the low 6s. So the couple of times a week that I face this situation aren’t affecting me in that regard. I’d love to find a way to make it stop. I don’t ever want to have to give up doing something that I really, really love.
Scott Benner of the Juicebox podcast is the stay-at-home dad of two children, one child a T1D since age 2. His daughter is in her early teen years and she plays competitive women’s softball. Scott plays a central role managing her T1D with a Dexcom Follow app, Omnipod pump, and text messaging his daughter. They are a highly successful team.
Scott has talked about managing his daughters BG. He said its very different from when she practices compared to game days when the adrenaline kicks in. You may want to listen to a few of his podcasts where he talks about this topic.
Well, I have zero professional work experience but I just started working part time this school year as a substitute teacher. I’ve found using a CGM is the best way to keep me stable. I can quickly glance down at my pump to see where I’m at. Highs I just ride out. I also keep a small stash of smarties which are small and discreet close by to correct for lows. I can’t just stop and check my bg whenever otherwise I’d loose complete control of my class! I rely on my lunch break to actually check my bg which I do in the bathroom. I neither want others to know I have diabetes or make a big deal out of it. I just don’t trust the public opinion of diabetics and the amount of work I get is based on people putting their confidence in my ability to expertly take care of a class of children. Hopefully, you have more support in your work environment!
I use a smartwatch to monitor my BG from my CGM.
No one notices when you look at your watch.
Having smarties in your pocket is an easy bump up for lows. And it barely looks like you are eating anything.
I keep my pump in in spibelt under my shirt. I never take my pump out of the belt except when I am charging it, or changing the cartridge. So it doesn’t look like I am doing anything more then looking at my stomach area for a few seconds to bolus.
You pass up an opportunity to educate the people you criticize for not having the knowledge. How would they have the knowledge if instead of explaining what’s happening, the teacher just ends class early? You could have a lecture hall’s worth of students who now recognize the signs of hypoglycemia, and will no longer assume someone with those symptoms is drunk or epileptic or going insane.
Before having a CGM, which pretty much prevents going low at inopportune times, I never, ever – whether I was with longtime colleagues or one-day-class students I’d never see again – had any qualms about saying something brief and simple like, “I have Type 1 diabetes and I have to bring up my blood sugar. Bear with me a moment.” Sometimes someone would say, “Take your time, I have a brother-in-law who’s diabetic”; sometimes someone would have a question and so we’d digress for a few minutes; most of the time, people could see I was in control of the situation and could see it was no big deal. The people I was with ended the day a little more educated about diabetes, rather than mystified by my brief spell of odd behaviour.
I have this problem too when I am in court (I’m a criminal lawyer) for a trial or something substantive. The only thing that works is temporary basal rates on my pump, and I have to do it enough in advance and by the right amount which isn’t always easy to figure out. I find boluses are no more effective than saline once my blood sugar starts rising and it doesn’t matter how much I take. I know you said you do well on MDI, but I’d recommend trying a pump to overcome this problem. I think it’s very challenging to manage/prevent stress highs on MDI, though maybe some people have better strategies than me.