Type 1 and a New Job

This was originally posted to my blog, Diabetes Odyssey.

I started a new job a week-and-a-half ago. It’s a huge change for me, I haven’t worked at all in four years. This job is also my first official full-time job, all the jobs I’ve had in the past were considered part-time although, sometimes, I worked really close to full-time.

The job is a desk job, which is good for me because I have a few conditions that make physical activity really painful and a bit difficult. Peripheral neuropathy, a bad heart…to name the two most at fault. Even though I sit at a desk to do the job, I do get two 15 minute breaks and a 1 hour lunch, so I walk during those times, and I gotta say that is the best idea ever! Walking on your breaks with a desk job gets your blood flowing and your muscles waking up. It is so surprisingly refreshing and pulls your brain out of that “desk job fog”.

As far as my type 1 goes, I wasn’t too worried about BG maintenance during work because the schedule is set, so all I needed to do was get used to my new schedule, right? Oh, if only diabetes behaved so easily…or at all…

The first three weeks of this job is training, so there’s a lot of brain work and learning going on. This on top of the anxiety and general nerves of a new job.

I’ve had one low, not the serious kind that causes everyone to freak out over your emergency, but bad enough that I had trouble with blurry vision and concentration. So I had to pop a couple glucose tablets right in the middle of training class. I’m glad the instructor is a really cool woman who doesn’t care what you’re doing as long as you’re not disrupting class or stealing state secrets, etc.

The rest of the week-and-a-half I’ve been running high. Ugh, partially this is stress, I’m sure. Even though I’m really enjoying the new job and reveling in learning new things (I love learning), and liking my co-workers, etc., it’s still a stressful time for me. I want to make a good impression, I want to make sure I know and really understand what I’m learning so I can jump right in and do my job right from the start. I don’t want to screw this all up!

Part of the reason for highs is also my diet. Eating away from home can be a challenge for BG control, and I’ve been eating higher carbs due to the stress eating as well as worrying about going low at work. I’ve been mostly packing a meat/cheese sandwich and either carrots or cucumber, but there were a couple days where there was offered a lunch for charity (Tacos to help a sick co-worker’s medical bills, hot dogs to raise money for the Winter Fest). I plan to change my lunch content this coming week to lower carb and hopefully this will work out.

Also, there’s the overwhelming desire to just grab fast food for dinner instead of waiting to get home and prepare a healthy meal (and save money). We’ve done pretty good here, and the dinner’s I prepare are low-carb. But we’ve given in to the fast food monster three times.

Then there’s the whole checking BG and changing pump sets at work thing. I am ashamed to admit I haven’t checked my BG at all while at work, yet. The place I work requires the use of a special room to do this kind of stuff. The thing is, this means every time I need to check my BG or change my set I’m supposed to get up from my desk, go to my manager, explain my need, get a key, and go to the special room to do my thing. OMG, what a waste of time to just take 5 seconds to check BG or a few short minutes to change my set!

OK, it’s not the rules that keep me from checking BG at work. Really the only time I need to check is at the beginning of lunch, so I can just step into a restroom stall and five seconds later be done and go to lunch. I just haven’t bothered, which is another reason I’m running higher. I need to get myself together with this one.

I’ve had to change my set on the job twice so far. I just do it in the bathroom stall, at least that way I don’t have to advertise that I need special accommodation…because I don’t!..or, shouldn’t!

Jeez, what’s the issue with doing this at my desk? I’m in a somewhat private cubicle (at least I will be when training is done) where I can position myself to block any view of what I’m doing. No biggie… no time wasted…

I do my boluses right in front of the whole world. I wear a pump, so no one is seeing anything. LOL. No one has asked me, “what is that thing?” or anything like that, but I’m sure I’ll get questions soon.

*There is a type 2 at this work place who checks her BG like every hour. Someone saw her doing it at her desk one day (a couple years ago, I think) and raised a stink over it. So this is why the rules are strongly enforced now, I guess.

In training we have discussed vision and Type 1 as part of our health rules, procedures, laws, policies, etc., as well as how to be caring and understanding of customers with health issues, etc… I can’t really explain how this all pertains to the job I’m going to be doing (I do not work in healthcare at all) since I do not wish to disclose where I work, but, yes, there are special reasons and special ways in which we need to deal with customers with these and many other health issues in this job. Since I do have vision issues and type 1 diabetes, I offered my story and experiences as a customer with these issues and the agency I now work for. I felt good (and was thanked) to help give perspective in this area.

So, it’s pretty obvious to you now that I have not kept my health issues secret from my co-workers and managers, etc… One, I do not think it is necessary or healthy to keep health issues secret. This just ads stress and a subconscious wall between people. If a person doesn’t want to talk about their health with others, so be it, I’m no one to judge. But for me my health struggles are a very big part of my life whether I want them to be or not, so I don’t even try to keep it quiet (and I shouldn’t have to). And how can you advocate for diabetes if you don’t talk about it? And, secondly, my hubby has been working at this job and location for five years, I’m pretty sure he’s mentioned his wife (myself) has type 1 diabetes as well as other health issues. :slight_smile:

BTW, I absolutely love that I get to work with my hubby. It’s awesome! :smiley:

All-in-all, I am very much enjoying my new job and hoping it turns out to be a career I can retire from. I just need to continue to make adjustments (we never don’t) to ensure I get and keep my BG’s under better control while on the job.


Have you considered a BG sensor, just to make it easier on you with all their rules?

I agree with the BG sensor idea, esp since you already have a pump. I prefer the BG sensor over the pump as far as technology is concerned. I suggest a Dexcom if your insurance will cover it, but if not, the freestyle libre is awesome and most pharmacies have them in stock or at least a few days at the most. Also the Blucon nightrider or miao miao NFC to Bluetooth device (one time purchase). The blucon you’ll have to use sleeves or tape or Velcro, the miao miao you’ll have to use tape only, but I heard the Bluetooth connectivity is better on the miao miao. The ticwatch e would also work for you and it’ll work for the Dexcom if you prefer

I’ve used two different brands of CGM in the past and both were horrifically inaccurate. With each one, for months and months I tried to figure out why they were persistently so inaccurate and never really did find out the answer. Best I’ve come up with is something odd about my body, but who knows. Apparently I’m not the only person who has this issue with CGMs. :frowning:

I’ve used both Dexcom and Guardian in the past and both were terribly inaccurate. I don’t know why, I trained well, did everything correct, worked with each of the CGM brands professionals, tried new transmitters, the whole nine yards, and we never could figure out why they continued to be so super inaccurate (almost always read 60-100 points above my actual BG). I so wish I could use them. :frowning:

I would still try the freestyle libre and reader, you may even be able to get a free sensor and reader on their website, you just need to have a serial number from one of your old cgms . I would just use the flash system until you know if it works, then get the NFC to Bluetooth later. I know they used to have trouble with acetaminophen falsely raising glucose levels on. The dexcom, but they apparently fixed this issue…the old cgms may have been affected by some of your other meds, but again, the libre is supposed to be much better now with contraindications. Also keep in mind interstitial fluid is a little slower than blood, especially with sudden rises and drops in blood sugar levels, and calibrations are supposed to be done while fasting. Or at least hours before or after eating. Even the glucose meter will claim ±70 mg/DL during lows and highs according to all glucometer manuals (the Dexcom rep pointed that out to me)

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Thats super frustrating. If something doesn’t jive, it would, at least, be nice to know why. I wish we could have a rep or an endocrinology med student follow you around for a week and figure that out. Maybe tu needs an investigative team. Maybe we could send a shadow diabetic to live in a tent in your yard and follow you around for a few days and investigate this further, if you ever try again.

I can only speak for myself. I would find it kinda difficult/inconvenient/disruptive to meet those work requests because if I’m having trouble with the numbers or gathering data for the Doc (with or without a sensor), I might take 20 manual blood sugars a day.

I’m glad you like your new job. I’m glad your husband is there. I bet its nice to have an advocate close at hand.

My friends dad admitted, at dinner the other day, that it makes him super uncomfortable when people take shots outside of the bathroom. So, I guess that response it just more common than I understood. I still dont quite understand it.

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I do understand the uncomfortableness some have when seeing a diabetic check their BG or take a shot. Part of me finds it odd, but I do understand why they feel that way. They don’t have to live it like we do. I’ve been doing it since I was 8 years old, and even before that I was around it all the time because there are 6 type 1’s in my family. But most people only experience pokes and pricks once in a while at the doctor, so it’s scary or gross to them.

I always get a twinge of offense when someone makes a negative comment or asks me not to do it around them. My first thoughts are something like, “This is what I have to do to stay alive and healthy, this is a part of me and you’re telling me you don’t like it? You’re grossed out or scared? Sooo, I gross you out? I make you nervous?” But then I remind myself that this is not something they are used to like I am, this isn’t the norm for them; to them this is hospital stuff and hospitals are scary to most people. :frowning:

I try to understand all points of view. But, in the end, as I said in my post, I wish ‘they’ wouldn’t make life even more extra work than it already is for us.

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WOW, six in your family? You mind me asking your ethnicity? I am the only one in my family. But, my best friends mom had something like 6 out of 8 siblings were type 1. That was the strangest thing I ever heard. They were Germans, but originally from Prussia.

Type 1 is primarily on my father’s side and they are primarily of Eastern European (Romania) decent. I have a cousin on my mother’s side that is also type 1 and as far as I know that side of the family is primarily of British origin (Wales, Ireland, Scotland).

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()I still think the libre is your best bet. They worked a lot on the contraindications that affected the cgm s before, and since its free, I think you should at least try it. Much better design than the others. I tried to screenshot, but it may not have worked. If you go to the freestyle libre website, and put in one of your old serial numbers from the guardian or Dexcom, they will email a coupon, and you can pick it up at a local pharmacy

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