« Diabetes Burnout. | Main | Oh Eff You, Exercise. »

From Abby: First Day on the Job.

Abby is officially working as a Registered Nurse, and in the last few weeks, she's moved to a new state and started her new job.  Lots of change on tap for her.  Today, she's sharing a little bit about her first day on the job and how a little diabetes understanding eased her through her first few hours.

*   *   * 

My first day of orientation at my new job brought a lot of stress. From getting on the shuttle bus and asking a total stranger if I couild sit with her, to sitting through a lecture about the Nurses Union I now belong to while having no idea what they were talking about, to that low blood sugar that hit right before our lunch break.

Luckily, that day I sat next to a nurse who I had had a "pre-orientation" meeting with, so I was a little more comfortable in this room filled with 75+ strangers (and at a table near a super cute male nurse - made the boring day a little less boring).  Through chatting with her, I found out that her husband has type 2 diabetes, so she knows what this whole diabetes thing is all about.  I told her what my Dexcom receiver was (I had it sitting next to my coffee on the table) so that she wouldn't think I was texting throughout the lectures.  (And then we talked about how ridiculous it was that the muffins provided for breakfast were covered in brown sugar on top.)

Then I saw that 54 mg/dL on my Dex about 15 minutes before the scheduled lunch break. As I chomped on two glucose tabs (I was symptom-free at this point) my new nursefriend next to me looked over at me. She looked down at my Dexcom, studied my face for a few nurse-seconds and said:

"Are you okay?"

I nodded, and continued chomping.

Chomp, chomp, chomp.

Then the nursefriend just smiled, and went back to listening about parking passes.

If you have diabetes, you know why this made me feel so comfortable. There was no stress from her side conveyed to me. She didn't freak out and ask someone for juice. At no point did she have a worried look on her face. She just knew. My new nursefriend understood that those three words - "Are you okay?" - were all it took. If I needed help, she gave me the opportunity ask, but she also gave me the opportunity to take care of myself, knowing that someone was looking out for me at the same time.

I'm quite sure that it is extremely difficult to be a person who cares about someone with diabetes, without actually having it yourself. One minute, we want you to fall all over our low blood sugars and and stop time to help us, and the next minute we want you to completely ignore the fact that we even have diabetes. And there is no reason for us to feel this way; we just do and probably always will. But sometimes you type 3s get it spot on. You just know what way to react is best, every time, and for that I am grateful.

New nursefriend's future patients sure are lucky to have her.

*   *   *

Again, Abby, I'll assert that your future patients are lucky to have YOU.  And for others who are disclosing and dealing with diabetes in new situations, how do you prefer people handle your diabetes?


Abby, thanks for the update and I look forward to hearing more about your new job. I guess your diabetes just wanted to remind you that it's also along for the ride in your new life.

One thing my husband has learned is that when he asks if I'm okay, I always say yes even when I'm not. But I'm glad you had someone there to make sure you were okay.

It is blogs like this that given me insight into the lives of my friends and co-workers. The stresses of everyday life are tough enough without diabetes. Thanks for shedding light on how we on the outside can help those on the inside.

Great post! I never really thought about it that way but that last paragraph definitely nailed it! Good luck on your new job!

Great little As a Type 1 for 30 years it's so nice to hear someone echo the schizo way our minds work sometimes....Yes, Help me! No, leave me alone I got it. LOL. If only we could train all our family and co-workers to read out minds! LOL.

But seriously, what a nice experience to have in such a stressful situation as a new job to have someone "get it".

I actually had that happen yesterday, where I asked a nurse to get me juice because I was low...she didn't freak out, she just KNEW. It made me feel SO good to not have someone freak out for a change.

In a new situation, I'll usually hide everything, and then slowly let people know, little by little, what to do with me. That's one of the problems with having multiple chronic conditions--you can't overload people with everything at once or they totally lose it. But as far as blood sugar goes, unless I ask for it, I don't want help. And I NEVER want people to freak out.

And I, too, always say I'm okay, even when I'm not. Glad to know I'm not alone!

Good for you, Abby, for finding someone who gets it! I wish you lots of luck at your new job!!!

I just had this situation pop up this morning at the gym. I work out alone except once a week with the trainer who is fully aware of my T1. I am very careful though. Testing before, in the middle and after exercise. Just to keep safe. When I tested the last time today, a guy walked up to me & asked if I was okay. I told him this was part of my routine. But then I think my next remark was a little rude to him. If I need help I will let you know. I felt bad afterwards. I really appreciate the jesture of concern. If I really needed help next time, maybe he wouldn't be so quick to ask. I think he is an EMT. I've seen him before on the treadmill with a weighted vest on. And I also remember him from the day before when my BG was 75 at the end and I was waiting 15 minutes for the Gatorade to kick in so I could drive home. He probably thought I was in trouble again. I need to work on my diabetic courtesy. "Thank you very much. I am fine" and leave it at that.

Abby, you rocketh greatly!!!

I have a co-worker who can tell what kind of day I'm having by just looking at my eyes - and she is usually spot on. Though I may cut her off when she notices I'm not myself and she encourages me to take action, I really do appreciate her checking in on me to make sure I have dealt with my highs and lows, and in more rational times, I make sure I tell her that. I like the phrase "diabetic courtesy". I'll work on mine too :)

This is a great post, especially the end. I so often get frustrated with my husband because he doesn't seem overtly concerned with my diabetes, and sometimes (although rarely) I just want to feel that overt concern. But I've never really asked for it, and in every.single.other.aspect of my life (mommying, professional, daughtering an ill parent, etc), I'm consistently exuding control, confidence, "Sure I'm FINE" vibe. It IS confusing isn't it? Ah. I get it. Thanks Abby!

Hee-hee! Since I work in a hospital (I'm a pharmacy tech) I know that even professional clinicians have prejudices that cloud their judgement. Fortunately I work with a pharmacist whose husband is Type 1 (like me) and on a pump (I'm still getting used to mine).

I got back from a late lunch during a hectic day today, handed her some meds to check and she said "Jeff, you're shaking". I thought about it (slowly), glanced at my Medtronic and... 52! Time to find quicker-acting calories than my usual salad. Fortunately the boss had scammed some donut holes so I munched and got my brain to start functioning again. Hypoglycemia... bad!

The joys of it. My colleagues absolutely freaked when the saw my pump for the first time. It turns out I knew more than many a nurse and junior doctor about diabetes. Yeah. Kinda says something. Hi de hi campers, welcome to the NHS.

Are you OK are magic words and it real hard to say just them and accept what ever the reply is.

Maybe that's the ting about magic. It ain't easy.

Post a comment

(All comments are moderated. Thanks for your patience!)