Diabetes in the workplace.

I had a conversation with a friend who is also diabetic a couple of days ago.  We talked about the difficulty this disease presents in the workplace.  He recalled a story that happened when he was initially diagnosed.

When he was first diagnosed he asked me a lot of questions.  He wanted to know how my place of work dealt with my disease.  The issue he was having was that his job had a problem with him taking extra breaks to check his blood glucose and possibly even longer to fix the problem.  They had taken to writing him up.

So he decided he would try to discreetly test his blood glucose at his desk, sometimes taking insulin or eating a snack there too if need be.  He discovered that he was not being as discreet as he thought and was brought into a meeting with HR.  They told him that they understood that his health is paramount and there was paperwork to be completed by his doctor so they could make accommodations.  He felt relief he knew they were on his side and he quickly made plans to see his doctor and get the paperwork in order.

The next day he came back to work with all of the paperwork and assumed that he was free to take the break if needed.  He never planned to abuse the privilege he loves his job and did not want to alienate anyone there by taking unnecessary breaks.  A few weeks later he was informed by his boss that the paperwork was not filed correctly and that he was not allowed accommodations until HR fixed the issue.  There was nothing he could do.  He was dumfounded and disappointed.  He worried that he would be powerless if he felt weak.

He did the nest he could until the paperwork was complete.  He would sneak bathroom breaks if he did not feel right.  Finally about a week later he was told that the paperwork was filed and they could accommodate him.  They apologized for putting him in a difficult position and let him know they supported him one hundred percent.

When asked how I dealt with it, I told him that it was not a problem when I was not taking care of myself.  That even now that I am taking care of myself it does not get in the way of my work that the breaks I am already allotted are enough.  It is an interesting thought though.  How important is it to be supported by your co-workers and bosses?   I know I have support at my job and that the last thing I want to do is inconvenience anyone.  I am lucky to have that kind of support but I am sure there are instances where folks are not as lucky as I am.

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Tags: diabetes

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