We got in touch with Rhonda Green, an intensive care worker with type 1 diabetes working on the hospital frontline in Northern Ireland. As someone with type 1 diabetes and working in healthcare at this unprecedented time, we want to celebrate her fantastic work, and see if she has any tips for getting through the crisis.

Rhonda works in Craigavon Area Hospital in Northern Ireland. Before the coronavirus crisis, she was working as a respiratory physiologist, but given the option, she leapt at the chance to be redeployed into intensive care.

Diagnosed at the age of 9 with type 1 diabetes, the thought of coronavirus coming to the UK caused Rhonda a lot of anxiety and some sleepless nights. However, sticking to the government guidelines and making sure she had the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) while at work has helped to reduce her fears and let her get on with her incredibly important frontline work in the hospital.

Checking her blood glucose levels is crucial while at work. She checks them very regularly – every hour at least. Her FreeStyle Libre sensor has been a huge help too, with the arrow system letting her know whether her blood sugars are on the rise or are falling, before she dives in to a hands-on job. It is a big concern of hers that if she suffered a hypo while in full PPE and on a job, it could pressure resources that could be being spent on people with COVID-19. This is why she takes her blood sugar levels so seriously.

Rhonda’s efforts, and the efforts of all our fantastic hospital staff, do not come without personal sacrifice. Commenting on life at home, Rhonda said that she and her paramedic husband have had to take precautions to protect their own children. She said, “the children know that mummy and daddy can’t hug them and can’t kiss them etc, and we do try to keep that wee bit further from each other.”

We are hugely grateful to all keyworkers during this time and want to thank them and celebrate all their efforts. We finished off by asking Rhonda what tips she has for someone with type 1 diabetes during this time.

She said:

  • Keep your sugars as controlled as possible
  • Follow the social distancing rules
  • Wash your hands
  • Get your daily exercise if possible
  • Take care of yourself

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