Diabetes and the day job

By | 31 May, 2011

Being a full time pancreas really doesn’t pay well, so I’m forced to also have a day job, alongside my diabetes hobby.

On a typical working day there isn’t anything of great diabetic interest going on, beyond the humdrum normality of test, bolus, repeat.

Last week was marginally more exciting in that I was running a big event in London for some of our senior managers. I do it a couple of times a year and it’s interesting, but a bit stressful. I’m considering applying for danger money to compensate me for the number of highs and lows it caused.

Tuesday – final day of preparation for the event. Mild panic all around because no one seems capable of hitting a deadline, everyone wants to change their presentations at the last minute and we suddenly have to video conference in one of our main speakers from Spain due to problems with flights. Blood sugar – low teens all day until 9.30pm when I realise that I haven’t eaten since 11am and it appears sometimes you need a bit more than stress to keep your blood sugars up.

Wednesday – crack of dawn – the big day looms. I wake up as a 10 because I wasn’t brave enough to gamble that the stress would keep me high through the night.  Pre-CGM I was a complete wimp when staying alone in hotel rooms and would run slightly high to avoid my nightmare scenario of waking up to find the cleaner and a paramedic hovering over me having broken into my room after I failed to show at a meeting. I’m positively plucky nowadays with my trusty CGM to keep me safe, but even so I don’t like to play Russian roulette with bolusing for stress when I’ve got a big day ahead of me.

Wednesday morning – I spend the whole morning hovering around the 9 mark. That’ll do me for now.

Wednesday early afternoon – things are in full swing and are going well. The adrenaline is starting to subside. I’m watching our chief exec doing his bit on the podium when I realise I can see two of him. I know I only invited him once. Cue crashing low as the adrenaline related highs subside and an afternoon of grazing follows to keep me off the floor. I either need to learn to stay stressed throughout an event, or maybe reduce my basal a couple of hours in.

Thursday – day two, everything is running smoothly. I have a slot on the agenda this morning which is something I quite enjoy, although if I’m honest, I get far more pleasure speaking at conferences about diabetes than for work. Either way, I enjoy my spot on centre stage. I’m always a little nervous of going hypo mid presentation as I can ramble for England when hypo and it takes me ages to realise I’m spouting more rubbish than normal. Thankfully, the adrenaline surge just before taking to the stage normally counteracts that. I learned the hard way during the first presentation I did when wearing my CGM – 15 minutes into a half hour slot the CGM started alarming to tell me I was high. Thankfully it was at a diabetes event, so it made an interesting addition to the presentation. Now I always silence my high alarms when I’m presenting. It’s one less thing to worry about.

Thursday evening – it’s all over and done with. A great event, I’m a 6, there have been no significant pancreas traumas and I saw a woman on the tube with a pump which always makes me smile. Result!

Does the playing at being a pancreas business ever make your job harder than it needs to be?

10 thoughts on “Diabetes and the day job

  1. Heidi

    Congratulations on handling a great event – even when diabetes doesn’t play nice 🙂
    Stress and adrenaline sure can do a thing to my numbers as well, though especially with stress the outcome isn’t always predictable – or maybe it’s because I’m not physiologically stressed just busy at some occasions?
    Excessive work and deadlines often, but certainly not always, often cause me to run low and therefore being less effective than I wish. Other times it’s just an insane roller coaster ride, which is just as draining as the work itself.

  2. Tim

    In terms of work, I’m currently trying to write a business plan with a BG of 4.0. It doesn’t help. I might go and eat something.

  3. Angie

    These are the kinds of things that I wish more people understood about diabetes – you can control the amount of food, the amount of insulin, exercise etc, but you just can’t control things like stress or hormones or your body’s response to it!

    I work in a biochemistry lab, and there have definitely been times when diabetes has proved to be a right pain in the backside, mainly through lows. Trying to accurately pipette samples becomes a lot more difficult when your hands are shaking and you have little flashing lights in your vision… Then there’s the time-critical experiments where your BG drops at just the wrong moment. And the worst thing is the lab gloves, which means that when I’m low I can’t just test and treat, I have to take the gloves off and wash my hands thoroughly first (there may have been an incident where I took my gloves off, didn’t wash my hands, and then told my meter it was a lying piece of crap and I was going to through it out the window when it gave me a reading of 8.5 when I *knew* I was low… 😉 Washed my hands and retested and got a reading of 2.7).

  4. Cecile

    @tim: I think a “business plan with a BG of 4.0” would be much better than one that’s over 10 and pissing money 😀

  5. Annette A

    Maybe I’m just ‘lucky’, but I dont find that stress at work (or anywhere, for that matter) does much to my BGs. Sets my eczema off, but does nothing to my levels. @tim – I think a business plan with a BG of about 6 would be much better. Business plans don’t like being 4.0.

  6. lizz

    Oh Gordon Bennett. When I was working, a very long time ago it was very, very hard. I spent a lot of time really not knowing what I was doing. Another lot of time trying to remember what I was doing so I could go over it and check if I did what I didn’t know what I was doing well enough to look as though I DID know what I was doing. i did a lot of things wrong… completely ruined a fewthings. Spent a lot of time in the shop below us gazing at sweets, unable to make up my mind what to buy even though I was in dire need of ANTHING. Lived on coca cola and other very unhealthy stuff.

    Stopped work 28 years or so ago and started a regime to gain control enough to have children, managed by the skin of my teeth – tried to work again more recently by helping a Dr friend, but spent most of the time high or low again. Have enough trouble here at home. So now i don’t work.

    Anyone know, while I’m thinking of it, whether these are grounds to be classed as unable to work? Because one thing which is really troubling me is the fact I have no pension…

  7. Spike Jones

    @lizz Speaking as one who gets Incapacity Benefit & Disability Living Allowance due to the diabolics, yes it is possible to be classed as unable to work! It just depends on (a) how “bad” your control is & (b) how that affects you day to day. The b*ggers currently in power might have changed the rules slightly with the new “Employment & Support Allowance” (now that is a misnomer), but Type I is classed as a disability under the Disability Discrimination Act. So if they try & say it isn’t grounds for not being able to work they will have one hell of a row on their hands. From me, if no one else 😛

    Not wishing to contradict you, Alison, but the GP would be the second place I would ask. Try Citizens Advice first.

  8. lizz

    Hmmm, well I went and looked at that and i don’t think any of it is going to help me. I haven’t paid enough NI contributions. Due to not being able to work. We have no savings (in fact a big debt!) but OH earns loads. It’s just it all gets spent (and more) on children, food etc. OH left permanent employment with the Beeb as we weren’t making ends meet 20 years ago and went freelance. But this meant giving up his pension and we haven’t paid into one since.

    Control is bad, bad enough to warrant a ‘service’ dog, and to be funded for a pump and to have funding applied for for CGM. But I am physically (well apart from the shoulder that won’t move that has been diagnosed as not frozen shoulder from diabetes but from an injury from falling out of bed unconscious but which has nevertheles turned into frozen shoulder) able…

  9. Alison Post author

    @lizz As Spike says, I’d definitely have a chat with the Citizens Advice Bureau on anything you might be missing out on. And also your GP/consultant in the hope that they may have been through this process before with another patient and might have some useful insights (I live in hope!).


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