A packed conference room. A Dexcom alert due to a low blood sugar. A girl, interrupted as she tries to reconcile what her diabetes demands and what her professional responsibilities required her to do.
A girl, interrupted by diabetes.
Oh hey, I am that girl, and I found myself in this precise scenario when I attended in-office training for my job.
It was just after noon and I was rebounding from a high blood sugar that I’d dealt with earlier in the day. We were going to break for lunch at any moment, and it wasn’t like my blood sugar was tanking – it was holding steady around 65-70 mg/dL. But it was enough to disrupt my concentration on the work presentation and throw me off-guard.
It’d been quite some time – years, honestly – since I found myself dealing with the stress of a low blood sugar in a room filled with people, most of whom I didn’t know. Likely, it hadn’t occurred since I was at my last office job. But it didn’t really matter how long ago or when, precisely, it happened – all I could think about was, how the heck did I manage lows before in workplace meetings that I couldn’t easily excuse myself from?
It might sound like I was overcomplicating matters – I could just get up and excuse myself from the room while I found a snack to treat the low – but one shortcoming that’s followed me about my diabetes and my professional journey is that I like to keep all diabetes matters as low of a priority as possible during the workday. Of course, I take care of myself by making sure I eat regularly and keeping extra supplies on-hand, but I don’t always correct my blood sugar as quickly as I might normally when I’m somewhere else, such as home. I don’t know if it’s my determination to prove to my colleagues that diabetes doesn’t interfere with my workflow or some factor that gets in my way, but I know enough that I’m able to admit that it’s a slight issue for me that I ought to work on.
So when I began to feel the shakes of an oncoming low blood sugar, that was confirmed by a buzzing Dexcom, I found myself toying between two choices: 1) Either I could excuse myself from the conference room and grab a snack, or 2) I could power through, as there was likely 20 minutes or less remaining in the session. As I deliberated, anxiety slowly crept in as I started imagining nightmare scenarios in which I passed out in front of my colleagues. That’s when *ding* the lightbulb went off over my head: I remembered the hard candies I’d pocketed earlier in the day, which I’d intended to be a bit of a post-lunch treat but then realized they’d work great as a smaller-scale low treatment just when I needed it.
I popped one in my mouth and spent the next 15 minutes doing my best to immerse myself back into the training, while also taking a moment to acknowledge that I’d made a mountain out of a molehill in this situation. I don’t need to feel so self-conscious when minor diabetes-related issues happen, whether I’m at work or anywhere else. The most important thing is that I take action in a timely manner, so I can prevent more severely disruptive scenarios from happening.