I wanted to share a story with you that happened to me recently. I am an IT consultant and travel a TON for work. I was in Detroit two weeks ago, working from 4pm - 1am to try to overlap some of our hours with the client's data center in Malaysia. I'm sure you all know how important timing is with diabetes. Needless to say working this odd shift wreaked havoc on my diabetes. I was sleeping in late and not taking my Lantus at the normal time, and my meal times were way off. Because of this I had a few episodes of severe low blood sugar. Luckily they were all in the confines of my hotel room.
When I first started working I needed to take some Apidra, so I drew it up and started walking to the bathroom. The client walked by and looked down at the syringe in my hand, so I just said, "I'm a type 1 diabetic." And she said, "Good to know!" Fast forward to our last day onsite. It was about 12 am and we were wrapping up and all of a sudden I feel a trickle of sweat go down my back and I know I'm about to have a bad reaction. I had some Powerade at my desk and snacks in my bag, so I start drinking and eating. I got really dizzy so I put my head on my desk. The client asked if I was ok, and I just explained that I had low blood sugar (41!) and needed to take a break to let the food/drink get in my system. She told me she had had a bad experience with a diabetic who didn't disclose his disease and had a very bad reaction during a meeting. She was the one who had to help him and I think diabetes has made her uncomfortable since.
Anyway, after about 30 minutes I started to feel better. My coworker and I left, flew home the next morning and that was that. We were scheduled to go back the following week to wrap up everything. I got a call the next day from my manager saying the client had called him and asked that I not return the next week. She was worried that something would happen to me while I was onsite and they would be liable. I was shocked to hear this. I think people don't understand diabetes and that low blood sugar happens to the best of us. Especially when working an unfamiliar schedule. The worse part of all of this was that the partner at my company was angry/frustrated with me because I told the client that I have diabetes. Apparently that is information that does not need to be communicated, because then the client would have reason to judge me or treat me differently.
Growing up I was always taught to let people know that I have diabetes. That people need to know what to do should I have a reaction. Now I'm being told the opposite, that my disease needs to remain a secret. I spoke with a coworker who has Type 2 diabetes and she agreed with our partner, that she never tells anyone that she has diabetes. At her former job she told her boss and he immediately started treating her differently.
Can anyone comment on this, or share your experiences? Have you ever been discriminated against because you have diabetes? This situation is just so strange for me. Granted I'm young and this is my first job out of college, but still…
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