When Your Diabetes Affects Your Job

By ncnurse1459 Latest Reply 2008-06-30 14:24:38 -0500
Started 2008-06-07 17:47:41 -0500

OK…I am a Nurse, and have been for over 22 years now. Today, after working at a local community health department since last October, I received a letter of termination of employment ! It is true that my Type 2 diabetes became more severe and problematic in December and I have had to miss work frequently due to regulation of blood sugars, labs, several physician appointments…you know the routine. So, why am I given the ax ? They all knew that I was needing the insurance, with even a colonoscopy scheduled this month…now, that must be cancelled til I land a new job with insurance ! (last year, I had my first colonoscopy and was found to have one precancerous tubular adenoma (polyp). Diabetes can and does soemtimes affect our duties and I know I am not the first. If anyone out there has any advice for me, as far as medications, costs, any help, etc…I have thought about applying for unemployment, but it isn't in my vocabulary just yet…plus we need the insurance since my husband is self-employed without any. (Oh, and, I haven't told my husband about this yet either…hate to break it to him…) This stinks !

26 replies

DiabetesDiva 2008-06-30 14:24:38 -0500 Report

I'm so sorry to hear about your heartless employers. I work in HR and I'm shocked you were let go. Is COBRA available to you?

I was laid off from my job last year and I still unemployed. File for those unemployment benefits, you earned them!

Take care & I hope things are going better for you.

ncnurse1459 2008-06-30 03:12:12 -0500 Report

Hey, after waiting four weeks since my job termination, and filing for unemployment benefits since my notice was goven to me, June 9th, I am beginning now to receive those benefits weekly. This has taken much effort though. My last employer was trying to "get out of it, saying I was still on probationary status and failed to comply with their policies." Well, after giving my statements (which also included that I was NEVER given opportunity to review POLICY & PROCEDURE MANUALS, as they were "in process" downstairs in offices while I was employed there) to attorneys twice, 2 different others in the ESC offices in my state, I found the ADA for Diabetics is how I am getting my benefits now. My job was aware of my diabetes from the beginning, and I was at work the day it shifted into "HIGH GEAR"…(when my glucose topped out for me and I had to begin insulin)…thanks to the ADA, I also have no hearing to attend, as they did it all for me ! Now, I still have to do my weekly call-ins (I do mine online, of course)and my weekly job searches. Prayers have been answered in that department ! Now, I can breathe a little better and not be as stressed as I was before (my hubby is happier too) ! Angie

hjp 2008-06-19 11:31:17 -0500 Report

Wow, is all I can say! I am in such a parallel situation that maybe it’s a common experience for folks working in the corporate world.

I have been experiencing a dramatic drop in my productivity at a Fortune500 Company in Golden, Colorado. I was falling behind at an alarming pace, with as many as 55 unanswered emails in my box. That in addition to taking inbound complaint calls and handling about 35 problem resolutions. My team lead began getting involved in my accounts answering my emails and giving me heads ups about many accounts that I had made regular touches on. Her involvement has turned into over involvement to the point of documenting my mistakes or lack of performance.

I thought I was losing my mind and commented to a friend last weekend that I thought I was going crazy. I could not tell reality from fantasy, had uncontrollable obsessive thoughts about losing my job and couldn’t remember from minute to minute was I was doing.

I only found out 4 days ago that I have diabetes & that explains to me why my normally high productivity had taken such a dip. So that has helped me to put things into realistic perspective. I’m not blaming myself now for being weak or stupid, but being kind & loving to myself as a person with a real disease. I have just today taken my first Metformin tablet & hope that my medications supply will not be cut off. I could lose all my benefits just at a time when I need them most. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but may receive my walking papers.

I certainly empathize with anyone in this unfortunate & frightening situation. Should anyone want to talk about or offer mutual support; I am open and available.

Hang in there ncnurse,

ncnurse1459 2008-06-19 15:58:30 -0500 Report

Thanks, Harry. Your situation sounds familiar. Good luck with your job as well. I am job hunting right now. Seems that my prior employer is trying to prevent me from obtaining any unemployemnt benefits based on my termination due to absenteeism ! (I was absent to attend medical appointments and had MD notes each time, which the job didn't accept.) Anyway, things looked up today while I was job hunting and maybe I can land one closer to home (as I was spending >$125 weekly in fuel anyway at the previous job !) Things will look up eventually for all of us if we set our minds to it and set obtainable goals for ourselves. Angie, ncnurse

morris.js 2008-06-20 02:17:25 -0500 Report

I wish I can remember exactly where I read it on the internet, but alas, I'm old and forgetfull..lol There are certain rights afforded Diabetics, (and others with illnesses), concerning the workplace. I would highly advise getting a "free consultation" with an attorney that specializes in labor law. It might not get your job back, but might help with your Cobra or financial issues.
I had issues with a former employer and printed out those rights and gave them to that employer. It solved my problems with them at the time. I have snce left, and am self employed, but it was worth it to wake them up to the rights that are given to us by the labor laws.
I hope this is helpfull even though I cannot remember the government web site I found the information on.

hjp 2008-06-20 16:26:27 -0500 Report

Hey guys, thanks for your input as well. I have posted my resume online and got a response from a company with a financial advisor position open. The great thing is that company is closer to me & I drive right near it everyday going into my present job.

My current position is very demanding, fast paced, exacting and extremely stressful. If I were making 50K it wouldn't be enough, but honestly, I don't make enough to pay my rent & bills. I'm allowing a dead end position with an uncaring corporate machine to affect my health & quality of life. I must leave there ASAP, or before they fire me - whichever comes first.

BTW: John, I have emailed labor law attorney's and never even got a response. My company has a legal department that is very active, coz the company has so many law suites. Our corporate CEO was on 60 Minutes last year & said the conglomerate’s profits were 470 million dollars. And they still need to squeeze every drop of life out of an employee. In my 20 month tenure there, I've seen about 200 employees terminated, as many as 12 - 15 let go on the same day.

steadb 2008-06-20 16:53:18 -0500 Report

Definitely time for a change. I wouldn't fester on it. Clear your mind and move on if you can.

hjp 2008-06-25 02:23:26 -0500 Report

Update: I went to ER on Sunday with heart fibulation & dehydration. I was kept overnight and given a heart stress test on Monday then released about 4:30 PM. Before being seen in ER, I had left a message giving my line manager a heads up that Kaiser may keep me over night.

I went to her desk first thing yesterday asking for a few minutes so I could update her on my health issues. When we met I told her that I can c=not continue in that department & would transfer to another depat, if possible or look for another job. She responded by giving me a 5 page written warning about my declining work performance. When I asked her why they don't just let me go; she said, coz I haven't given up on you. Interestingly, she had a guy listening in on our complaint calls yesterday to see if he wants the (my?) job. I'm not sure why they're playing these games, unless it's just to keep me in place until they can hire my replacement.

I'm not having a good morning & have asked for an appointment at Kaiser to see someone today & give a blood sample. I expect that her reaction to my two earlier voice messages regarding that won't be too joyful.

CALpumper 2008-06-25 02:30:16 -0500 Report

Sorry to hear about your ER visit hip.
Glad that Kaiser was on top of it though, as well as you.

Like Steadb said, move on as soon as you can. The games are not worth you losing more of your health.

Hang in there.

morris.js 2008-06-25 02:36:22 -0500 Report

Harry, I know how that stress is not helping your health at all. I had high blood pressure from the time I was 22 until shortly after some of my major surgeries. After those, I learned that the stress was what was ruining my health and my life. Yes, moving on to a new job will also be stressful, but in the end, your life will be better.
As you already know, we are all here to help you through this. Keep us posted on the job search and your health!

ncnurse1459 2008-06-25 05:40:51 -0500 Report

Hey Hip ! I am so sorry to hear that ! SOunds like you should start looking elsewhere, as I am now, since my termination. Though they (those wicked employers) cannot say it is due to DIABETES, that is why we are toirmented like this ! They realize that the ADA act would make them a "new behind" ! Angie

hjp 2008-06-29 05:55:06 -0500 Report

Hey everybody, my work termination scenario has moved forward quite rapidly after receiving the written warning last Wednesday 6/25/08. All my emals were removed by the team lead & trainer on Friday 6/27/08 & when I literally watched my inbox go from 17 emails to 8 then to 0. My accounts were being taken over by the lead & trainer while I was sitting there in hearing distance. The only reason that I have not been fired before now is coz the head of HR has been on vacation. She returns to her desk tomorrow 6/30/08 at 8 AM and I expect it to be set up by the time I start at 9:30 AM Is it a cooincidence that I'll be terminated on 6/30 and would have received holiday pay & my quarterly bonus in the first week of July?

The company is Fortune500 listed and grinds people into pulp then disgards them. The benefits package is very good but they're likely to pull the carpet out from under an employee at any time. I'm unsure how those in upper management & the individual team leads sleep at night.

GabbyPA 2008-06-29 06:44:54 -0500 Report

I know tomorrow will be filled with trepidation, but I can tell you this much. The relief you will have of the stress, the whispers, the uncertanties will be lifted. I lost my job in 2006, struggled to find another and with the few interviews I had, was more glad I didn't work for them either. I work for myself (thus the no insurance) BUT, I can sleep at night. I don't worry about crappy bosses getting on my case over a single mistake or missing too much time. This flexibility has been a god send for both me and my husband. There may just be a reason it is happening now, you will find that out eventually. My heart is with you tomorrow...let us know how it goes.

hjp 2008-06-29 11:26:02 -0500 Report

Hey Gabby, thanks for your input & encouragement. I agree that never going in there would be a huge load off my mind & emotions. What worries me is that I have nothing in savings, no family and being a recent arrival in Denver, know almost on one outside of the company. I need to give notice on my apartment tomorrow & that has me stymied, coz I don't know what to do.

I am grateful for your friendship Gabby, kindly keep in touch.

Best Wishes,

GabbyPA 2008-06-29 12:38:40 -0500 Report


Check out this website:

Go into your frineds tab here on the site and do a search for others in Denver or near by areas. You might find someone who knows someone, who might be able to help you out and give you some advice of what to do. I found some people who are living in my same town on here and it can be really cool.
It all works out, just don't freak out. Know that it is a way to make things better for you. It may not seem like it right a way, but as you work thru it, you will see how it all makes sense.
You need to run to the unemployment office immediately after the big show down...apply and get that rolling in right away. That will give you some relief and buy you some time to maybe not have to give notice on your apartment.
Perhaps somoene from work is understanding of your needs and can offer you places to check out in Denver.
All my best to you.

blessedmom44 2008-06-10 11:33:07 -0500 Report

Hi- I am so sorry about your job. That just stinks. Do tell your husband so it doesn't slip out or something. I will pray for you and your husband. Kathy

Magdalynn 2008-06-15 04:24:24 -0500 Report

I'm a 57yo Registered Nurse with type 1 diabetes and I control my sugar with an Insulin Pump. I took five years off work due to complications of my disease. I recently went back to work after 6 month of job hunting in a city where the nursing shortage is very severe. In the beginning I was up front with my disease state. You would have thought I had the plague. AS I accumulated more job interviews the reasons they wouldn't hire me became more and more outrageous. I was told I was too old, or too frail looking. Meanwhile I'm a robust 155 lbs. You get the picture. Now I just don't tell them. I haven't dropped over yet and if I ever do we will discuss it then.If I need to go to a doctors appointment I tell them something else. Such a shame!! I work in the health care profession and my Profession doesn't allow for illness.

ncnurse1459 2008-06-16 04:45:34 -0500 Report

It really is a shame that the healthcare industry won't allow healthcare staff to be "sick" or even work with us. You are also right, that we must "lie" or just not disclose our diabetes and/or other ailments just to be hired. When we're asked about other jobs we've worked, they do want to know exactly why we left that job. Even though jobs aren't supposed to divulge the entire reasons the individual is not working there, they do have the right to ask the other job "Would your rehire (that person) ?" When their response is "no"…there goes another job potential for us !

Dancehawk 2008-06-08 04:49:17 -0500 Report

a friend of mine opened a used childrens clothing and baby stuff concinment store in her home, it has turned into a good bussiness for her, plus she got a ins program for self employed. might be a ticket for you to try.
I sorry about your job, and I know how hard it is without ins, my brother has medicare and SSI.
Talk to your hubby, let him know and also see if there are any legal rights for you for discrimination due to health.
I know when I worked at the hospital and fell on the stairs took out my knee for a few months they put me on disabilty then light duty till I could get back on my feet full time.
Also check with nursing homes see who has ins and apply there.
Keep your chin up and know we are here.


ncnurse1459 2008-06-09 15:48:54 -0500 Report

Thank You to everyone who has replied to this discussion ! My husband actually took the news better than I thought he would…guess I should have realized he would be on my side. I did apply for unemployment today and will begin those "call-in's" next Monday for it. I am able to draw unemployment for up to 19 weeks, and will be able to sustain with the amount they quoted me. I plan to relax, work in my garden, play/exercise in my pool, eat more healthy, have fun, and read more. Maybe I can also enjoy more family time with my husband, kids and grandkids. Angie, aka, ncnurse1459

John Crowley
John CrowleyCA 2008-06-08 04:40:32 -0500 Report

It amazes me how different chronic conditions are perceived so differently in the workplace.

Think of the outpouring of sympathy and support for a coworker who gets diagnosed with cancer. Can you imagine an employer firing someone when they've missed work because they're dealing with cancer?

But then other conditions like bipolar disorder or diabetes (type 2 in particular), almost seem to be frowned upon. Much more criticism, much less sympathy.

I don't have any answer for it. From where I sit, it seems purely a matter of perception. Any ideas?

JP - 14811
JP - 14811 2008-06-08 08:10:26 -0500 Report

Hi John,
I think the reason that Diabetes and other diseases are looked upon the way they are with employers is because the media plays it up as being our fault for being overweight etc.. Although we all know it's not the 'cause' of the disease, it does contribute. (Just wanted to clarify that). Unfortunately, I know thin people as well as heavy people with Diabetes type 2 so it doesn't really cut it as an excuse. There are discrimination laws in place in most if not all states for this type of thing but you have to prove they are firing you because of your illness and we all know they will never admit that!!!

Just my two cents

tmana 2008-06-08 04:13:35 -0500 Report

If you had medical insurance with your job, then under COBRA you are eligible to continue benefits for up to 18 months, under the same policy. You would need to pay both your normal contribution and the contribution that would normally have been made by your employer.

Do file for unemployment right away, as it takes at least 3 weeks to set up and get money coming in. You paid into it, it's time to get it back.

Also, if you feel you have been wrongly terminated, consult with a lawyer who specializes in labor law, as there may be some sort of legal recourse. (Most likely not worth the effort except "to make a stand", but it may still be worth asking questions.)

JP - 14811
JP - 14811 2008-06-08 08:05:09 -0500 Report

Cobra continuation only applies to companies of a certain size. Although state by state there are continuation laws in place. You should check your policy and see what is offered in your state or if the company is large enough for the Cobra laws to apply. The premiums for these continuations are usually pretty expensive though so make sure you know the cost before you sign on the dotted line.

CALpumper 2008-06-08 00:45:20 -0500 Report


Unfortunately over the years this has happened to me, plenty of times. After 7 years trying to "make it" in the corporate world I finally gave in and looked for the job I wanted, i.e. Not based on benefits or health insurance. It was/is a huge risk that I knew I had to take. Getting rid of the "corporate, office politics environment stress" was going to out weigh not having insurance. While it has been a struggle on that front (insurance, medical and supply needs) I have had less stress and illness since I left "that" world.

I found that job. I have been working for the most amazing person/boss ever for 10 months now and I could not be happier with the situation, work wise that is. I currently have a medical discount, thankfully it is monthly and no contract because it simply cannot afford it unless I stay "in network" which means changing ALL of my doctor's. After 6 years, I don't want to do that, give them up. I have developed relationships with them that I simply do not want to relinquish.

The corporate world: employers and employees alike were the most ill informed bunch. I was misunderstood because I was a young female that "looked fine." I lost many jobs due to many doctor appts.

It is unfortunate that PWDs are "treated" this way. I have been trying to manage my T1 for over 23 years. I still have a lot to learn, which does not help the overall "stigma" out in society.

I see that you have been participating in other discussions and seen that there are programs/assistance for PWDs out there. If you have any specific questions or need further assistance exploring your options, feel free to email me.

On another note, the Americans with Disabilities Act is the worst legislation written. I recently participated in the ADA Call to Congress. While the ADA is pushing for a "redefining" of "disability" and most officials are all for it, getting it to the court system and Through, is well, a long fight ahead we have for PWDs. Right now the ADA is focused on driving positions as those people have encountered the brunt of discrimination. I myself have encountered enough discrimination to last me plenty of lifetimes. It comes down to misunderstanding, misinformation, lack of knowledge and education about this disease. Diabetes is wide spread and different in Each person, making it more difficult to define within our current court system.

Hang in there and again, email me any time.