In a meeting the other day, a coworker noticed my CGM receiver (which I still rock in the Dexcom provided 1990s business-person themed leather snappy case thing).
“What is that? A MP3 player?”
“Oh, it’s my continuous glucose monitor. It tells me what my blood sugar is. See? Right now I’m 98 and steady.” (I wanted him to high-five me for my awesome reading, but alas, he did not.)
“See this lump on my leg? It’s a sensor that’s reading my blood sugar level.”
“So, does it alert you if you go out of range? Is that what those lines are?”
(Dude. He must be brilliant.)
“Yup! It beeps and vibrates and acts like a jerk if I go too high or too low.”
And to think, a couple of months ago I was all sorts of nervous about starting a new job and explaining diabetes and stuff. Now I’m clearly the coolest kid on the block!
Big, exciting (for me) news…I have accepted a job offer! WooHoo! I start in a couple of weeks and have been busy wrapping things up at my current job. I’m very excited for the new challenges and increased responsibility.
What I’m not excited for…explaining to my new coworkers over and over and over that I have type 1 diabetes. No, it’s not because I ate too much sugar as a kid. Yes, I can participate in birthday celebrations. No, you do not have to treat me any differently. It’s an insulin pump, not a pager (or camera). Oh, your grandma had diabetes and her foot fell off? That’s nice.
I’m not very shy about my diabetes, there is nothing to be ashamed of. However, I also don’t like to be made a spectacle of or made to feel different. It seems inevitable at new jobs that I have to tell my story, give a cliff’s notes version of what diabetes entails, and answer the same questions again and again. I have been very lucky at my current place of employment as one of my coworkers has Type 2 so we’ve been “D buddies”. He thinks my CGM is the coolest thing ever, by the way.
I think that it is important to let my new coworkers/supervisor know that I have diabetes just in case something happens (that’d be a good first day story, huh?), However there never seems to be a good way to say it unless it comes up in conversation. It’s not like you can just say, “Hi new coworker friend person. Name’s Laura. Type 1 Diabetic. So, tell me what you’re working on?”
How do you deal with a new job and letting people know that you have diabetes?