Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Understanding what it means

I understand that diabetes is a complicated disease to process for those who don't have it or manage it on a daily basis. I try not to overwhelm people with information when they ask questions. I try not to make it too complicated. But every time--it is. There is nothing "simple
about it.

I haven't been feeling so hot this week and every Wed., I'm in a meeting where we go over the layout of the ad. One of the ladies who has that sweet, nurturing, protective-bear Momma thing going on asked me if I was OK. Clearly, I wasn't looking so hot either!

Apparently it looked like I was going to pass, my blood sugar wasn't low (I checked). I then told them I would try not to pass out on them!

This then launched into questions about diabetes, which I was totally okay with. I appreciate when people WANT to understand. I can tell the people in my Wednesday meetings want to get it. So they started asking me about low blood sugar and what makes one go low. I rattled off the usual...too much insulin, exercise can make you drop, so can drinking so you have to be careful...etc. Of course buyers kept walking in for their turn, so it got a little awkward for them to come into the middle of what sounded like a medical conversation. The lady who came in on the last part about low blood sugar and alcohol said something like, "Well MY blood sugar must be low all the time then!" Ha ha ha ha. I didn't want to explain to her that I am type 1.

Then they asked what they should do if I ever do get too low and pass out during the meeting? I told them someone should call 911, and then someone should try to give me sugar. I got a little uncomfortable during this one likes to think about this happening! The designer asked how would they do that and I said that your mouth/gums absorb the sugar, so probably the best is sugar packets instead of candy or juice since I could choke (am I wrong? If so, someone please inform me!). I also told them I have a glucagon pen upstairs in my cube, but they would have to read the instructions.

It was all very sweet. I could tell they wanted to feel prepared for such an emergency. And I love that they want to help. I did reassure them that I haven't passed out so far, and I always carry glucose tabs with me so that I have some fast-acting sugar on hand at all times. Of course then another buyer came in while we were discussing this, but no one else told them what was going on, which again I appreciated. But since they are nice and seemed curious, I explained to them that I am a type 1 diabetic and we were just going over what to do in case of a low blood sugar.

The Momma-bear of the group said it was good for her/them to know, so I'm glad they feel like maybe they will be better equipped or more mentally ready for that kind of situation. Of course I'm hoping it NEVER happens! I also told them my signs of going low--shaky, sweaty, can't think straight, etc. At that time I was actually sweaty and shaky, so that was when I checked my sugar and it was at a good number. That's the thing I hate--if I'm sick or something is just off with me, I immediately think it's related to diabetes. I can't help it!

When I was first diagnosed, I didn't want anyone to help me. I wanted to be able to do everything on my own. Eventually, my friends, family and other people told me they wanted to help...they wanted to know things about diabetes and how it affected me. They have been understanding and I appreciate that so much because it makes it easier on me.

Truthfully, I sometimes feel bad when people ask me to lunch and I say, "I have a high blood sugar right now, so I might wait at least 30 min or an hour to eat if you want to wait...if not, no big deal." And I feel bad when I'm visiting my friends in Seattle and we're walking around downtown for a while until I finally say, "Uhhh, I think I need to check my blood sugar." And then they stop with me as I check and say, "Why didn't you SAY something sooner?!" And then they make me eat or drink something. There is no judgment--only concern. I don't feel like a burden or like a "sick person." There is no making me feel bad because I have to do things a little bit differently than they do.

So I understand that not everyone gets it or wants to get it--you can't understand it fully until you live it 24/7 and are impacted emotionally, physically, and psychologically by it. But the people who ask questions, who want to get it, who I can see trying to process it and who want to help...I love you all the more for it!


  1. You have some great co workers.

  2. i agree, you definitely are lucky to have such an amazing group of people at work! kudos to you for sharing with them!

  3. Awesome post. I totally agree with everything you wrote and that's how I do things too. You really do have caring co-workers :)

    as for sugar when you're passed out, sugar packets on the gums would work but something like honey is easier to work with.

  4. I love that they want to understand, you have some wonderful co-workers. It IS hard to explain without freaking people out, some take it well, some don't. Glad you are spreading D awareness!!! :)

  5. I love this. LOVE IT! I hope people will want to understand as my girls grows. This is very're right. No one can know if they don't live with it, but how sweet that they are willing to learn!

  6. Yes, those people who want to know are the BEST! Good for your "Wednesday Meeting Friends" for being supportive and concerned. I'm glad you felt comfortable sharing with them. It's important for those around you a lot to have that kind of information!

  7. We had a bit of the same experiences at camp this week. Since Brooke's treatment was out in the open for all to see, our friends were curious. I could tell,though, when they'd had information overload and were ready to move on to another subject.

  8. I really like this post, but it made me realize that I'm pretty bad at this. When people ask me about diabetes, I can give them endless amounts of information, but when it comes to speaking up about my needs (like walking around in Seattle in your example), I'm more likely to try to keep up with everyone else and suffer in silence. For some annoying reason I just don't feel comfortable showing my "weakness" and I'd rather deal with it myself.

  9. thats really great they want to know. i dont know many people who are overly interested in Reubens diabetes. it must take a load off your mind, just in case, there are folks that could help you out. when R is refusing sugar, we rub honey into his mouth. -jules