Category Archives: Diabetes and work

Diabetes catch 22: Working just for insurance

      Having diabetes can often be the same as being pushed into a corner with no good way out. 

It can be harder for a diabetic to work because of health complications and challenges and yet if you don’t work, you don’t have insurance.

I cried and cried over this years ago because the reality of it caught me off guard.  I graduated high school and in a sickly state, began college.  As a result I didn’t do well during my first 2 years at college and next thing I knew I was dropped from my parents insurance policy.  All I knew to do was find a job in order to have insurance.  After a year I found I couldn’t work full time and do school (still sick at this point) so my college opportunity was postponed. 

Next thing I knew I couldn’t follow my dream career path because I was busy working a job that made me even more sick (because I hated it) and therefore was unable to leave it since I relied on it’s insurance for safety. 

This cycle is extremely frustrating.  Currently I’m under my husband’s insurance and I work from home (while taking care of twin babies).  Now that my health has been regained, I am busy writing a book to keep me out of the danger zone.  What if my husband were to lose his job? 

So the message here is don’t settle or waste time in despair.  Work on your health and work on your passions.  You need your health and you need to not sit on your laurels just wishing life would be easier for us, diabetics.  Make your situation better for yourself. 

Begin today.  And if its tomorrow and you didn’t begin yesterday, begin today!

Diabetes and your job; keep it a secret?

Personally, I´ve never agreed with doing this. I understand the fear one might have about the employer or coworker knowing this fact. Perhaps you worry that your boss will think you are weaker because of your condition. Or maybe you don’t want coworkers to start “he or she is too sick to take on that responsibility” type of rumors.

I believe thes risks are not as great as the risks you will be taking by NOT being open about your diabetes. First of all, there is a risk you won’t take care of your diabetes well enough if you are hiding it. Sure, you can give your insulin shots in the restroom. But, what if you drop a syringe one day and a coworker sees it? It would be much worse to have THAT rumor going around. If you have an insulin pump, you have just given yourself the daily headache of properly hiding the pump and its tubing. I guess you would also turn off the beeping feature (which I always found helpful).

Also, consider the unfortunate event in which something happens to you? What if you pass out from a low or high blood sugar? In any case, coworkers would call 911, but if they don’t know you are a diabetic, precious time will be lost with the medics as they, (hopefully) check for a medic alert of some sort (assuming you wear one) or do all the routine testing to find out what is wrong with you. In the case of a low blood sugar, you may not have much time.

Now you may be thinking, “I’ve never been unconscious and plan to keep it that way”. Alright, well your goal is not just to “never end up in the ER” but, to maintain the best blood sugar control possible. If you can’t check your blood sugar at your desk or work space, freely and when needed, then you will be cheating yourself from the great control YOU DESERVE.

Remember, you must put yourself FIRST. You can’t help anyone very well anyway if you are feeling sick because your glucose is too high or low.

I have always revealed my condition to employers. I let them know (typically AFTER hire) that I am a type 1 diabetic, that I usually maintain very good control, rarely need assistance from others, and work harder than most because having diabetes has taught me hard work, diligence, and perseverance. Don’t tell them it is an awful disease which is the bane of your existence (even though it may be). Instead, be positive, smile, and let them have no doubts about you.

If the case for you is that you do not maintain good control and sometimes do need assistance from others, then say what I say anyway and begin a new slate for yourself, striving each day to do better and better. Saying you will do something to someone gives you more pressure to do so. (As long as your work is not the type where people’s lives are in your hands)

After a few months at a job, working hard and proving yourself worthy of the work you do, people will come to admire you for the two jobs they see you handle so well.

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