Would Like some advice

I am going to be attending an acting workshop in a couple of weeks that has very strict rules on no outside food, juices, and meal planes. There is also a no phone policy that pertains to everyone at the workshop.

Here is what makes me uncomfortable:
the fact that i am not allowed to bring in my own food for emergency purposes and that i will have no means of communication. Communication is only part of the issue, I am more worried about the no outside food rules.

I am getting a hold of the workshop Director and will be asking if this could be an exception for a diabetic, however the last time I tried to talk about my diabetic needs he gave me a lecture about how i must have been feed a tone of sugar as a child, I am type 1. IN the rage of hearing this uninformed lecture I could not be faced to be bothered with him, yes, it was just one of those days.

How do I get my point of necessity across to someone who is ill informed?? Or does not believe that being Diabetic is/can be very difficult??

I'm not clear if the issue is worry about treating lows, or that you will be required to eat the food they provide. If it is the former, I would just carry glucose tablets in your purse which are not "food" they are "medicine". If it is concern with eating their food, do you get a lunch break? Can you go out and eat what you want? If not, then you are forced to pick from what they offer and try to bolus for it.

Frankly these people sound like jerks. Who do they think they are? I understand having phones turned off during the workshop but you should be able to check messages and return them if needed at a break. What if there were an emergency in your family?

I don't think you are going to get your point across to this idiot. My choice would be just to work around him as mentioned above. If you wanted you could truly confront it with a doctor's letter, etc., but I wouldn't bother. It will just antagonize him and make him more rigid. Others may disagree.

I would class your food supplies as medical necessities. Can you get a letter from your doctor to back you up. I also think that in a medical emergency for anyone the no phone rule would be waived. I agree that phones should not be used for social purposes, but anyone is likely to have a cardiac arrest at any time and I am sure someone would phone for an ambulance in that event. I also think you would need to be fairly discreet about your necessary food supplies.

I haven't run into that specific problem. I've had situations where I've had to go to court proceedings for work and there'll be "no food" signs but no one has ever hazed me about it. It sucks that the guy running the place is such a stupid, ill-informed, power-tripping idiot. I'm old and grouchy and would tell him to pound sand but that may not be a recipe for a great experience at the workshop? I don't think it will help the workshop if you keel over and have to be peeled off the floor by paramedics, firefighters, cops, etc.?

You have to be firm in stating what your needs are, that they are medical necessities, and that type 1 diabetes is a covered disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

If the workshop director makes an inappropriate comment like that, calmly explain in simple language that type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system destroys cells in the pancreas. State that you are insulin dependent and that you must inject/infuse insulin and follow a careful diet in order to stay healthy and alive.

Explain that part of treating your condition involves not only carefully planning your meals, but also always having snacks and treatments on hand in the event that your blood sugar drops to dangerously low levels. State that if your blood sugar were to drop too low and you couldn't quickly treat it, you would become unconscious and require emergency medical services (which would be far more of a disruption to the workshop than carrying around some snacks!)

I have run into this issue many times over the years and I've found that when I'm firm, articulate, and use scientific explanations for things that people usually cave. Usually these rules have no real basis and are just someone's creation to avoid disruption. While I understand that to a point, I don't think that people should have to reveal such private information in order to avoid getting in trouble.

The other option is to simply show up with what you need (i.e., food, snacks, etc) and if you are challenged, give the response I note above.

I often go into government buildings and other places that have strict "NO FOOD OR DRINK" policies. About 99% of the time I am not even questioned when bringing in outside food or drinks. When I am questioned, I use simply, basic responses and am allowed to pass through without any issue.

(except the OP is in Canada, beyond the purview of the ADA…maybe they have something similar there?)

Bring what you want. If they push, sue 'em!

I'm assuming your concern is treating lows. If that is the case, just bring what you can fit in your purse concealed -- glucose tablets, raisins, smarties, skittles. They aren't going to frisk you on the way in and chances are you won't need them anyay. But if you do then you have them handy. And should you need them for a low -who cares about the policy --life is more vital than one workshop. By no "outside food" I'm assuming that means there will be food provided (aka "Inside food"). If food is to be provided, you are golden. I have always found SOMETHING I can eat at food provided events, even if it's just a green salad or milk. In fact, the last DHF Board meeting was held at a place where there was no outside food allowed. I managed to smuggle in an entire birthday cake for Manny. (Now do not ask why we had cake at a DHF meeting - just accept that we are not perfect.)

have your Lawyer talk to him..

As a life-long stage technician and stage manager, I always wanted to know if my actors and technicians had issues that may require attention during the rehearsal, assembly and run of a production. I agree with the others. Bring what you need to take care of your diabetic needs. IF you do not need them, take them home with you. If the camp director gives you the sugar story, I wouldn't be afraid to tell him exactly what happened to you.

Do you have a pump? Are you able to keep your insulin cold? If you have a pump, there are costume concerns for the proper carrying of that pump within your costume. This can, and must. be accommodated. If you are doing stage exercises, you must be able to take your pump with you.

In this day and age, there is no reason for such draconian rules. You need your phone to call for help if you need it. It may be the local emergency personnel. It may be your pump manufacturer, or your CDE, in case things get confusing to manage. You also need YOUR diet, not one that some acting coach things is correct for you. Most of those people are in their own little world, and do not understand the life of another, diabetic or not.

Good luck, be well. Let us know how it goes and have a great time in camp!

Brian Wittman

So ....here is the verdict...

After an almost 2 hour long distance phone call to NJ with the Artistic Director himself about my Diabetic needs, he decided to come to an "agreement" with me. I have been needing some emergency juice with me throughout the night time recently and of course i needed to make sure I would be able to have this with me. Well it was a very tough battle and he agreed to allow me 1 organic granola bar to have with me. A granola bar, is not fast acting sugar and I requested a juice box/ glucose tabs. His response to me was.."if you have enough energy while a low happens to open a juice box and drink it, you can walk to the infirmary and get one" (the infirmary is on a separate floor)..HA!!! After swallowing back enormous amounts of rage, I continued to inform him of the serious nature of hypo reactions and what can happen if not treated properly and promptly. After this he chuckled and then agreed to the 1 juice box. I realized that this is the farthest I am going to get with this idiot, and ended the phone call.

After this phone call I made the decision to terminate my space at the workshop. I did not feel comfortable attending with so many previsions over my health. I have been Type 1 for 15 years, I am very confident in how I treat my diabetes but I, like all of you diabetics, understand how diabetes affects everyday life in general.

After tying to contact him via phone about my decision, I resorted to emailing him as requested by his assistant.... His one word response to my termination at the workshop....."UNBELIEVABLE!"

I laughed when i read this ..well.. laughed among other words exchanged under my breath, and really he has it right. This whole situation he was putting me under was UNBELIEVABLE! I have been involved in many productions with different theatre companies and nothing like this has ever come up!

I could go ahead and rant and rant on this, but I will spare you and call a close friend.

I must say I have been lucky, as this is my first instance like this over my 15 years being diabetic. Non the less, I am upset and a little down.

I will keep my head held high and continue forward with my diabetes and my career.

Thank you all for your insights and advise, it is so wonderful to be apart of the Tudiabetes family!

With an attitude like that Artistic Director has, it sounds as though you would have been throwing your money away. To put it another way, how does an Artistic Director without empathy or understanding expect to provide a growing/learning experience to his students? BTW, since this workshop is in the US, they would be subject to ADA regulations - UNBELIEVABLE!

Keep pursuing your acting!

I feel the exact same way!

Yay! I wanted to suggest just that when I first read this thread, but thought it might be important to you. Nothing is worth that level of disrespect. He wouldn't have anything to teach me, even if he were the best at what he does!

I would seriously file a complaint with the ADA. I don't think they could do anything, but that is just unbelievable. Perhaps a mass email campaign from other T1s explaining exactly what this condition is and what is required to manage it would help?? I am kinda serious. I just don't think someone should be allowed to get away with this kind of BS. This is a medical condition, not a game.

The one thing I have started doing is just not even questioning rules, but simply showing up with exactly what I need (medically speaking) to get through whatever I am doing. For example, my job involves going into various U.S. government buildings, including the Capitol, where there are strict food/drink restrictions. I have a signed note from my doctor with me at all times listing the things that I must have on my person at all times (insulin, syringes, testing supplies, infusion supplies, juice/food, etc). Security will typically flag me and say that juice/food is not allowed. I don't say a word and just hand them the note from my physician and that is usually the end of the story. Once they called in a supervisor and made a big scene, but that too ended quickly once the supervisor saw the note.

The bottom line is that something this serious is NOT up for negotiation. I sincerely hope you report this guy to someone. Doesn't he have a supervisor?

For someone who wants to teach acting, he is teaching how to act like a jerk. I carry food everywhere and am always sort of hoping someone will call me on it so I can explain my position to them!

I concur with the rest of the posters. I am happy that you canceled your reservation with this clown. I don't know where these yo-yos get off with telling their clients what foods they can eat, what they can and cannot bring to camp, their abilities in knowing what is best for their students, etc. What is he smoking or what is he selling?

I have been a technician, technical director and production stage manager for many companies, and have never once seen any company member treated in this way. Usually, company personnel, performers and technicians do whatever they can to be sure their fellow thespian is alright.

This clown is running a business. He needs to accommodate. Pulling out is a good call on your part. I would love to hear your full story.

Be well.

Brian Wittman

Even though it's kind of a moot point now, I was going to say...get yourself a giant handbag and stuff it with all kids of goodies for yourself in case you need them.

Good for you, Nicole! In the end you strongly advocated for yourself when a real world jerk with a little authority tried to compromise your personal safety. If you went to this workshop and this little dictator chose to continue his unthinking adherence to this unreasonable rule, then you would've been second guessing your decision to commit to this camp. I think you did exactly the right thing!

Hi Nicole. I can't add anything new, but the thought of your having to bargain for your health, your life, is really wrong. I'm glad you left. Should you ever face the same kind of situation again, you have plenty of experience to handle it well.