Do you tell people you have diabetes?

By YogaGal Latest Reply 2012-03-01 14:02:00 -0600
Started 2012-02-27 07:23:49 -0600

I generally don't. This is an example of why: I finally told someone at work (I've been on this job nearly a year now). I get invited to a little birthday celebration during the workday. All that is there, of course, is cake. I don't partake. The person I have told says, loudly, when I turn down the cake, "Well, yes, there's nothing here for diabetics, that's for sure!"

Number one: I really don't like to be referred to as "a diabetic." I do not define myself as "a diabetic." I am a person who has diabetes. Secondly, I don't need it announced. I would prefer to be the person who tells others or who doesn't tell.

My husband had told someone that I have diabetes. We had dinner with them. After dinner, I put my feet up. The woman asked me, "Do you need to put your feet up after you eat due to the diabetes?" I wanted to reply, "Yes, then I have to stand on my head for 10 minutes to get my numbers down."

I would rather people just not know.

18 replies

2012-03-01 14:02:00 -0600 Report

I too usually don't let any one know that I have T2. But was at a restaurant w/some people, and the manager walked by and saw that I was sweating profusely & my speech was slurring. (which is what usually happens in my case) My friends did not know what was going on cause I never told them. But however, the manager saw, got me a large glass of OJ and said 2 my friends to get her to drink it slowly. It brought my BG up to where I was coherent. When I went to pay the bill, I noticed that the OJ was not on the bill. I asked the manager why. He said that when he saw me he knew that I was having a hypoglycemicic episode. And he knew what to do. Cause he himself was also a T2. Boy now I do tell my friends (not co-workers tho) that I'm a diabetic

dietcherry 2012-02-29 15:00:02 -0600 Report

Its a personal decision obviously but Id like to share a story which may serve to highlight the importance of D awareness:

Last summer my 91-year-old Father and I were standing in the cafeteria line at K&W Cafeteria. I have Hypoglycemic Unawareness after 32 years of T1 and I got low blood sugar in line. The lady asked me what I wanted to eat, and I burst in to tears. I sometimes have extreme emotional outbursts when my sugar is low.

I started to fall out and my Dad, who is quite frail at 91, yelled She is diabetic and needs help! The man standing on the other side of my Dad, quickly came around and grabbed me before my head hit the floor. His co-worker grabbed my other arm and they ushered me to the nearest chair.

The manager came rushing out from the back (he had seen and heard everything through the kitchen pass-thru window) and held a glass of regular soda to my mouth and helped me drink it.

I immediately came "back" and thanked everyone profusely for their help. They all said they knew someone with D and knew exactly what to do! The man who had first grabbed me said he knew I was in trouble because I was staring in to space and was having to be prompted by my Dad to keep the line moving and he wondered to himself if I was diabetic! I was so grateful that someone had taught them what we needed in the event of an emergency!

Im sorry that you had such a bad experience with your insensitive co-worker, but by educating her you may save someone else with D from being degraded by her and she may actually be of assistance in a future D emergency!

pixsidust 2012-02-29 11:47:36 -0600 Report

There are always insensitive idiots in this world.

I still tell people if I am around them much
and it looks like they are going to be part of my weekly circle.
I do not need to have things thrown at me if I can not have them
and I want them to be able to help me if I need it.
We do need to be a more aware world.
We are there living it on the ground level
and are the best sources of education.

You have a quick wit and tongue!
I like that stand on my head comment.
You drove a point home and were funny at the same time.
I am sure she meant no harm just showing her lack of knowledge
Its amazing that people are really in the dark like that!

You're work Lady is probably loud and crass all the time
Take that is consideration

Set apart
Set apart 2012-02-29 03:38:53 -0600 Report

The fact that my first encounter with D was at my workplace with our RN sending me to the the emergency room means it's not a secret. People know I have it, at first I got a lot of "I am sorry and hugs.". No I don't go around advertising it, but am not ashamed, I wear my Medic Alert bracelet, and those around me know how to help me if I ever need it. You are right we are people first, then comes the condition. My goal is to bring more awareness to my community, oh and when we have food at work now, we actually get veggie trays. Some people just don't understand, so when they seem to be rude, we have to educate them. I laugh when people say they need to learn how to cook "diabetic foods.".

Caroltoo 2012-02-29 07:28:38 -0600 Report

When I was diagnosed, I shared more openly than most in the work place. I was in a management position and felt this could be a good learning experience for all because I knew there were many around me who were also diabetic, but chose not to speak up. I respected their choice for themselves and made a different one for myself.

The company atmosphere changed somewhat because of this, more people felt free to share their experiences, and the entire management team of over 100 people began to have more healthy snacks available during management meetings and a healthier range of lunch choices when lunch was provided by the company.

JSJB 2012-02-29 05:12:24 -0600 Report

Yes I tell them especially when they were doing what I was doing like eating, drinking etc. Maybe I can help them to live a healthier life.

Anonymous 2012-02-28 17:46:15 -0600 Report

at work i did at least tell my boss i have diabetes in case i were to have issues with my diabestes at work.

MrsCDogg 2012-02-28 08:30:19 -0600 Report

I don't have a problem with people knowing that I am diabetic. It's just another thing that describes me. It doesn't define who I am by any means tho!

digitaldoorbell 2012-02-27 18:51:19 -0600 Report

I have been a director of human resources for $100 million dollar (and larger) employers for many years. ADA, and state law counterparts notwithstanding, I truly believe there is discrimination in the workplace regarding "disabilities" (and other things). I recommend that people not disclose their health conditions unless they are requesting an accommodation under the law. Disclosures of that nature are confidential.

Informing people other than employers is a matter of choice. I agree that having a condition is nothing to be ashamed of, but I also agree that I don't define myself as a "diabetic" either. I tend to disclose it only when I have a personal relationship with someone. As an aside, one could announce their health condition to others (who also have health conditions but don't disclose them). I am cautious about information pertaining to my personal life but understand that others have their personal preferences.

Type1Lou 2012-02-27 17:19:45 -0600 Report

I've never hidden the fact that I have diabetes. I certainly made sure to tell my friends and colleagues, particularly since I used to have frequent hypoglycemic reactions and may have needed their help. Since going on an insulin pump last August, the hypos have virtually disappeared. Diabetes never defined who I am; it is something that I deal with. If others have trouble dealing with it, they are not worth worrying about.

Young1s 2012-02-27 13:41:45 -0600 Report

I don't mind telling people but then that's probably because all of my experiences in telling have all been positive so far.

Just the other day, a gentleman saw me eyeing some carrot cake in the bakery section of the supermarket and suggested I buy some because it's really good. I told him I know (I've had it before) but I'm weighing whether it's worth a spike in my sugar. I was expecting him to shrug and walk away, or something to that effect. Instead he said he's been there and would probably just increase his insulin before having it. We both chuckled, chatted a bit more and then parted ways.

Fortunately, that's generally how friendly my encounters usually are. Don't know what I would say if it were any different but time will tell.

BTW: I didn't get the carrot cake.

LennyDenny 2012-02-27 13:04:19 -0600 Report

It's a choice only you can make. I have been in the same situation that you are in and I try to let the person who's birthday it is that I wish them a happy birthday but because of my diabetes I can't eat sweet things and that makes a big difference to them. I have had some people just act plain stupid about it and those are the people I stay away from. I am no different then them, I just have to watch my diet. If they understand they with honor that. I'll have to try standing on my head for 10 minutes - LOL!!!!

ShellyLargent 2012-02-27 12:48:41 -0600 Report

It's a personal choice. I tell people on a need to know basis. I don't try to hide that I have diabetes, but I don't go around shouting it from the rooftops, either. I know people who use their diabetes as an excuse to get sympathy and attention from others. I do however tell my co-workers and I show them what they need to do in case I go too low. I'm on insulin shots, so it's not uncommon for my BS numbers to drop at work. This just happened to me last week. I accidently took my R insulin instead of NPH before leaving for work. By the time I got to work and discovered I was low and figured out what happened, my BS was down to 40 and dropping fast. I had one of the guys from out in the shop follow me out to my car so I could get some emergency glucose tablets I keep in the glove box. I fought for over 3 hours to keep my BS over 60. Not good. The next thing I'm going to look into is seeing if we can have an emergency glucagon kit added to our First Aid kits. Sure could have used that!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-02-27 12:39:22 -0600 Report

I tell people I am diabetic because I am not ashamed I have it and I don't care what anyone says or thinks of me. This includes friends and family members. The fact of the matter is I am diabetic and so are you and I don't treat it as though it is a Scarlet Letter on my forehead. Your co-worker is rude and you should have dealt with it quietly after the party. However, it is your right to not tell anyone you are diabetic.

Someone you work with should know you are diabetic. Your numbers could rise or fall drastically and someone needs to know how to help you before the medics arrive. You knew in advance that there was going to be a birthday party, why not bring a snack with you that you could enjoy with the rest of your co-workers. Not everyone knows what diabetes is or how it effects a person. You could be more helpful to all of us with the disease to educate those around you.

Tomorrow I go back to work where I use to work, everyone in the building knows I am diabetic. If there is a meeting and coffee and donuts are served I know there will be a sugar free item for me to eat. If not, I bring my own and NO ONE has a problem with it.

Is there a reason why you had to put your feet up after dinner? Were your feet swollen, did you have a broken limb or were you suffering from neurophathy at the time? If not, why would you visit someone and put your feet up on their furniture? Did you ask permission? What did you use to rest your feet? Did you ask your host or hostess if you could put your feet up and explain the need to do so? If not your behavior was rude. You don't visit someone regardless of who this person is and treat their home as your own. For instance you don't walk in someones home and turn on their television or roam around looking for the powder room, you always ask. I was raised by parents and aunts who taught all of us kids that manners matter at home and away. At work, after lunch do you sit back and put your feet up after eating? If not why would you do so in someones home after dinner.

People stigmatize a diseases because they are not educated about the disease. I am the first to educate someone about diabetes because I am not ashamed I have it and it can affect anyone, anytime and at any age. I think if you did this with your coworker maybe she can become an ally and not make rude comments.

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