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My district manager pulled me into the office and gave me a hard time about my condition. Advice?

Discussion in 'Type 1 Diabetes' started by Catsymoo, Sep 28, 2017.

  1. Catsymoo

    Catsymoo Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hello. I'm a type 1 diabetic, and I'm one of the type 1 diabetics that has more of a hard time managing my condition than others (or so it seems), possibly due to anxiety and having to take other medications for allergies. I have days where I feel absolutely awful and my sugars swing high and low. Or days where I have overnight hypos and nausea and by the time I have to go to work, I've had no sleep and feel too ill to go work a 13 hour shift 2 hours away from home. I also suffer from major anxiety, and if I have hypos in public I also have panic attacks. I constantly have anxiety about hypos, to the point where I overeat before a work shift so I don't go low and embarrass myself or cause hassle as my current job is VERY cutthroat and nobody cares about anyone but themselves.

    I changed jobs in January, I went from doing 4am starts every day to a zero hour contact job with all different start times. Everything has been mostly OK until the last couple of months. I moved house and I can't keep up with work and the housework/bills/paperwork etc, I have too much to do and the stress is murdering my sugar levels and causing me to miss work on some days. I barely get a full night's sleep. For the most part, they aren't too bothered because it's zero hour. There's no ''sick policy''. You either show up or don't. I've missed 3-4 days since August. One wasn't diabetes related, I was waiting in the walk in clinic to get an infected eye seen to, and ended up waiting 7 hours and missed work.

    I came back from working in the Channel Islands for 3 days last week, and while I was at the office waiting for a lift, my boss pulled me into the office and was not very nice to me. He said, ''I'm gonna be blunt. I just don't understand your condition or why it is such an effort for you to manage it. It seems like you don't manage it at all and I need something from your doctor to explain to me and prove you have this condition.''

    I DID declare it when I was hired, they're so disorganized they just lost the file. I know it. I also tried to explain that it is not one size fits all, and me living my life and not blind or dead IS me managing it. I have mostly good days, but lately I've had bad days where if I came to work I would just be sat in a corner throwing up jelly babies, because my bad day hypos seem to last for hours, and I get ''hypo hangovers'' if you will and usually end up nauseated and vomiting unless I lay down and go to sleep for a few hours. My job is very physically demanding and requires intense concentration and accuracy, and the last thing anyone needs when unwell is to be stuck in a bathroom 3 hours away from home, unpaid and no one to take you home.

    I like my job, so getting another one isn't an option. I just need to know if my boss is trying to find a loophole and should I be taking note of any flack he's giving me about this? I will be okay, it's just stress causing this, and I really don't want to feel discriminated against. I try not to make a big deal out of my condition, but I get so annoyed when my co workers give me dirty looks when I have to go off to test or take insulin or see me eating sweets like a fatty who needs to eat. It's not a leisure break and they just don't get it.
     
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  2. Juicyj

    Juicyj Type 1 · Moderator
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    Heya @Catsymoo Sounds like you have a huge amount on your plate right now..

    I don't think any type 1 has any easy ride, I know it may feel like others cope better but it really does depend on what else is going on in your life other than your type 1 and as I said your plate is pretty full right now without adding t1 on top of it. I completely get your fear of hypo's at one stage I was suffering anxiety relating to this, mine was complete embarrassment of them, I didn't want to feel exposed in public by having one, it's has got alot better, but that's also in part due to getting better control and suffering less severe hypos. However from the sound of it your work and lifestyle is impacting on your control, swinging high/low will affect your mood. So getting on top of your control will help you cope better with both your hypos and your moods.

    My best advice is to get an appointment with your DSN, you need to review what's going on with work and control and talk through making some changes to help you manage both better. It sounds like the important thing for you is to hold on to your job, however letting your control suffer isn't going to help, so getting on top of your control would help you manage work easier.

    I am unsure from what you've said what your employers motivations are, however it would be worthwhile reading through this: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/how_we_...employment-and-diabetes---your-rights-at-work - and understanding what your rights are. In regards to unsympathetic co-workers, well unless you stand up to them and tell them you need to test, take glucose etc then they will always behave the same, here a thick skin is required.
     
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  3. Fairygodmother

    Fairygodmother Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi Catsymoo,

    I agree with Juicyj, everything should be easier to manage with an awareness of the regulations regarding diabetes and employment, and if your DSN helps you to gain some control over your blood sugars. Wildly swinging blood sugars will affect mood, and every instance when a low impacts on your ability to work will increase anxiety. Removing just one source of anxiety should also help your control; as you know, adrenaline has a direct effect on blood sugars. And your hypo reactions sound horrid, poor you!

    It sounds as though you'll need to be very clear about the nature of your work when you see the DSN so that they'll be able to tailor advice to the unusual pattern of your typical day.

    However, it also appears that you may be coping better than you fear since you were able to undertake the work in the Channel Islands.

    It's said that moving house and changing jobs are among the most stressful things we can do. There are a few other items on the list too, but they can be ignored. Talking of lists, with all the bills, paperwork etc do you make them? I know people sometimes laugh at those who have lists of things to do but it can really help create a sense of control. It's even nicer when you can tick an item off!

    And housework: why? As long as nothing's going mouldy and strange forms of life haven't moved in, then cut yourself some slack. Enough in the cupboards to eat (there are even ready meals and stuff in tins that are reasonably well balanced and whoopie, they have carb content listed), clean dishes, clothes and bedding (no need to iron duvet covers) should be sufficient to get you through while you get everything else into place.

    Good luck, hope things get better for you soon.
     
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  4. malek.elgazzar

    malek.elgazzar Type 1 · Member

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    Hi Catsymoo,
    I think I'm missing smth here !
    Dear friend, forget about ur job for the time being and start focus on managing ur diabetes and make ur health the motive to control it not the job.

    I had a hard time trying to manage my diabetes with trying to keep my performance not affected in my job (my managers don't know even I'm diabetic) and guess what? I failed most of the time cuz when I had to make a decision, i was always thinking about my job and career success and make it my priority.

    It took me just 1 night to think deeply about it and swap my priorities.
    Now, Ive my exercise, eating habits, meal times on top of my priorities when I have to chose and things now differed greatly.

    Re-Prioritize ur life; including jobs, relationships, friends, sources of anxiety... and rest assured that this will bring u genuine happiness :)
    Gud luck
     
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  5. ickihun

    ickihun Type 2 · Master

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    Sometimes once you have put your concerns to paper ( here: typing it out to explain your position to fellow type1s) you can see things more clearly. I'd say... read your post back as if your best friend telling you. Advise him/her. Whatever that advice is for them is the right advice! Stick to it.
    My new motto on insulin is " I did what I thought was right, at the time".
    No regrets then. Your health is important. Once it's gone, it's gone.
     
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  6. Circuspony

    Circuspony Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I'm a recently diagnosed type 1 - but I've also been a manager of a large team in the past that had a type 1 on it. He wasn't the only member of my team with a long term health issue and basically our company policy was;
    - we make any adjustments required so that employees can operate to the best of their ability.
    - time off for medical appointments can be taken within work time / pay, but employee needs to give notice (I think it was a week unless it was an emergency)
    - employees have a responsibility to manage their condition in line with medical advice.

    I think you need to get your DSN involved because zero hours contracts can legitimately lead to no work at all if your company aren't supportive of you. Your DSN should be able to help with the overnight hypos so you are feeling better in the morning. If you're missing work on the days you are scheduled in then I'm not surprised your boss is getting irritated with you because although the odd occasion is understandable, but if its happening a lot then they will just shift the work to other staff.

    Moving house is stressful. Be kind to yourself and ignore the housework or organise a cleaner to come in and do a deep clean so you feel more in control.

    BTW - don't be afraid to involve your co-workers. I often finger test in front of mine just so they can see what I have to do. They are a lot more sympathetic if I then go 'oops - need some sweets'....
     
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  7. Book_woorm

    Book_woorm Type 1 · Member

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  8. TheBigNewt

    TheBigNewt Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Reading between the lines it sounds to me like your boss is seeing more unevenness in your job performance than your just taking care of your diabetes. I can see why he might desire a statement from a health professional if for no other reason than to have you check in with someone about your glucose control issues.
     
  9. Book_woorm

    Book_woorm Type 1 · Member

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    It strikes me that you need to get a handle on how you live your life. If you can get organised even on a Zero hours contract then things will get better. There used to be a good book called 'Getting control of your time and your life' Which was basically about making lists of things that had to be done and prioritising them! No shame in making To Do lists

    The tricks of controlling To Do lists are as follows:-
    1. Keep only one master list, that means using a note book if you have a lot on the go.
    2. Write things on the list in ink.(you'll see why later)
    3. Add to it even if it means turning the light on adding to it at 3o'clock in the morning. Believe me you sleep better because your brain no longer has to remember something till morning
    4. First thing each morning make three sub prioritised lists from your master list
      • List A things that have to be done TODAY!
      • List B Things that ought to be done this week
      • List C Things that can wait.
      • Mark up your master list with the A's B's and C's
    5. You have to be careful assigning the A's &B's If you have got to pay the gas bill because your likely to be cut of and its not pay day for another week then putting 'Pay Gas' on the top of the A list will only make you more anxious you need to put 'Find some more cash! higher up the list first! If you don't want to keep rewriting the lists you can number the items A1, A2 .... irrespective of the order they are written.
    6. Stick list C on the fridge and put the other two where you can see them all the time.
    7. Now just get on with working through the A list.
    8. If you can't do anything on the A list because your waiting for someone else/shop to open etc (The bank manager is supposed to be ringing you back about a loan for that Gas Bill) then make a start on the B list.
    9. You have to be prepared to change the priorities as the day progresses, keep priorities on the lists in pencil. (The Bank says No so you have to put up a new A1 of grovelling to the gas company and will they wait till next week)
    10. Only cross things off when they are totally done with. (if you do get a loan to pay the gas then paying e loan off has to go on the list)
    I know that's 10 rules but the exercise is a stress/anxiety buster and you'll soon learn that a hectic life can be organised. After a while you will even start crossing things of the C list. Not because they have moved up to B or A but because they simply don't need doing. This kept me sane when I owned a billion pound turnover company, My first message to anybody I meet in the course of the working day was 'What are your priorities today?' The ones that didn't have a list in a note book in their pocket usually did not last very long.
     
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  10. pollensa

    pollensa · Guest

    Totally agree well said. Mallorca.
     
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  11. soyricardo

    soyricardo Type 2 · Newbie

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  12. soyricardo

    soyricardo Type 2 · Newbie

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    As a Type 1 diabetic you have a legally defined disability under the Equality Act 2010. Your employer is obliged to discuss what reasonable adjustments you need to enable you to do your job ..what qualifies s reasonable is the key but your manager has to show the company has considered how it can help/support. If the company is large enough to have an HR dept you should be able to talk to them in confidence..otherwise talk to citizens advice or if your belong to a Trade Union ..it's what they are there for..good luck
     
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  13. Polarice

    Polarice · Member

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    Type 1 sufferers are covered by the Disability Act, which makes it an offence for employers to discriminate against you because of your health condition. Look up the Disability Act 2010 and see how it applies to you, the act and guidance is in various places on the internet. Then speak to your HR or union rep, they should be able to help. If you don't have them where you work, speak to citizens advice for help. Just don't take this laying down, the Act is there to protect people with health issues from discrimination by employers - so use it ! Good luck !
     
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  14. Polarice

    Polarice · Member

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    I honestly hadn't seen your reply before I posted mine above, but it's quite spooky to see just how similar our advice is on this!
     
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  15. mentat

    mentat Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Catsymoo,

    Unstable type 1 is a b**tard because it's difficult to explain, difficult to prove, and extremely difficult to manage, especially when income is tight. For people with unstable type 1, a CGM is a necessity, not a luxury. If your diabetes is always going haywire, you will feel like you are crazy, everyone will make you doubt yourself. Don't doubt yourself. I've been there. It took 4 years to uncover that I had a second, undiagnosed condition messing with my diabetes.

    Give your boss what he is asking for; have a doctor write a letter outlining your condition and if the letter makes your diabetes sound like "take your injections and you're OK", don't accept it. See a second doctor if need be.

    Best of luck.
     
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  16. maria030660

    maria030660 · Well-Known Member

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    When i started working for my current employer I was lucky i guess. My start and leaving times are set around my insulin/meals and recently i reduced work from 5 to 4 days as i am 57 and have been a type 1 for many decades and felt the grind of it. And it was no problem. I am still a much valued part of the team and also i do my testing and injecting with my collegues around as they are aware of my condition and dont mind at all. My team leader keeps the Glucagon just in case. Your boss sounded like a right P***k who needs to brush up on his knowledge of the law and your actual rights. Personally i would report him to HR as he was way out of order, not you. All companies have (by law) a grievance/discrimination policy. Use it i would say. If you dont nothing will change for you.
     
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  17. ann34+

    ann34+ Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    When i was diagnosed, nearly 40 years ago, things were very different - it was considered, with reason, not a good idea to work shifts. And for a young woman, even more so - your hormones with be all over the place. Some hormones block/reduce insulin action, others facilitate it - Even with regular hours good control, and that means as few hypos as possible, as well as few highs, will not be easy - i had enormous changes through the monthly cycle - ranging from needing as little as 17 units per day total to 44 units per day. Try documenting this, hopefully at a time when you have a time of more stable hours, and see if there is any pattern at all, trying to keep carbs to around the same level (this wont be possible during the days of big drops in insulin need, but it will help you work out what is happening,) so you can report all this to your DSN . As others say, you must explain all this to the DSN. Nowadays more Type 1 s may have some insulin left, and things may not be so bad for some, but for others it must be just as bad as it was. If you read older books on Type one you will see the emphasis on regular hours - i honestly do not think there is a great deal you can do until you get them. I am older now, but i see that there are earlier posts re the Disability Discrimination Act, which was not there when i was younger - this would enable you to ask for more appropriate working hours? I realise in today's world this may be difficult, but hopefully your DSN will help. Good luck.
     
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  18. Janetoby

    Janetoby Type 1 · Member

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    Hi Mentat, I have been diabetic for 42+ years and am having a lot of troube with my diabetes for a while - but can't seem to get any further diagnosis past my diabetes. Can you tell us what your second condition is -it might give me a starting point for further testing. I seem to be food intolerant of everything that I eat, but cant get any further definition, and it plays havoc with my BSL's. Everything is too unpredictable. I have found wearing a Libre helps me, although its pricey.
     
  19. Janetoby

    Janetoby Type 1 · Member

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  20. Janetoby

    Janetoby Type 1 · Member

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    If you can afford to try it - try a Libre. It has helped me enormously. It just gives me an idea of where my sugar is heading, which makes it a little bit easier to eat in time, and I scan when ever I wake during the night.
    Best of luck,
     
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