T1D and the Workplace: Feeling Envious of Coworkers with Professional Pancreases

I’m envious of people with functioning pancreases.

It goes without saying, but they don’t have to worry about all the things that PWD have to worry about. They can live life with a little more spontaneity. They don’t have to do as much math. They don’t have to lug around test kits and glucose tablets and strips and needles and whatnot at all times. They don’t have to hide their emergency snack stashes from their coworkers – well, okay, maybe they do, depending on some office environments.

They don’t have to worry about minute things, like “is my pod going to start beeping” or “is my blood sugar going to go low or high” during a very important meeting with a very very high-up executive.

Conference room or anxiety-inducing room?

I’m envious of my coworkers, who were able to just sit there and listen to the executive speak when he made a special visit to the office last week. I was as attentive as I could be throughout the nearly 90-minute meeting, but I was definitely a bit anxious in there without any of my devices. I’d left them all at my desk to avoid awkward questions from the executive. I’m sure he wouldn’t have minded their presence, had he known they were medical devices, but still…I just didn’t want to deal with it.

I’m envious that a meeting is just a meeting to some people, but for a person with diabetes like me, it can trigger fear and concern and a gamut of other emotions regarding blood sugar/diabetes issues in the workplace alone – forget other social situations.

It goes to show that diabetes is never far from my mind, even in situations when I really want or need it to be. I wish my diabetes knew how to act more professionally.

But I guess from practically the beginning, my diabetes – or shall I say, my pancreas – was unprofessional. After all, my pancreas quit on me only four years into the job.

What a lazy jerk.



One thought on “T1D and the Workplace: Feeling Envious of Coworkers with Professional Pancreases

  1. I hear you on this one Molly. I have for years been either too cautious or too scared to make it known to coworkers that I am diabetic. I;m going to make a generalized statement and say I always get one of two reactions but I’d give a 90% roughly. First reaction is that I can’t do things. Either because its too dangerous for one of “us” to do it or we are weaker because of being sick with this disease. This is one of the reasons I push myself so hard at work, even at nearly 50 years old. I can’t be called weak or sickly. The other reaction is that they flat don’t want me working there. That one comes more from supervisors, like your executive. I’m sorry but the ADA is not really worth the paper they wrote it on. It only works if you can prove they violated it. I believe all 50 states have the right to work laws which gives employers more rights when hiring people. They do not owe you any reason for hiring or firing you, that usually comes from union contracts. The standard letter for rejection from employers says they went with a more qualified person. How do you know? I got into an argument with a coworker once about an employer being able to get your employment records from former employers to see sick time usage and performance evals. I always read the last paragraph on applications when I sign them. Most of them have a clause in them that says you are giving them permission to look at your records from all former employers. A lawyer once told me years ago that it would cost me more to go to court than I would get from the case. Because of all this my attitude at work is work harder than those around me and most of all keep my head down. I’ve been complimented by supervisors in the past for my awesome work ethic but its little compensation when you realize how delicate your job position is.


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