ASHLEIGH staggers into an over-bright boardroom in a workplace office. Furnished with a long board table, and many wheel-footed office chairs. Ashleigh flops into a chair at the far-end of the table. She is sucking on a straw plunged through a juice popper. 'B'sits beside Ashleigh. 12 OTHER COLLEAGUES take seats around the room.
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you.
Happy birthday dear colleague, happy birthday to you.
Ashleigh waits until the singing has stopped and lowers her forehead to the table.
COLLEAGUE 1 (to Ashleigh):
Are you alright?
Are you sick? What happened? Are you ok?
Oh yeah, you don't look too good. Are you right?
She's fine. Just leave her alone. She's just having a
low blood sugar.
Do you need us to get you anything?
Ohhhh, I'll get the Glucagon! Can I give you a shot?
She's got her juice. She'll be fine. Just give her a few minutes.
Why can't we use the Glucagon?
ASHLEIGH (with some energy now):
I have a juice. I just need quiet for a few minutes. You can't use
the Glucagon unless its an emergency; only if I'm unconscious or
can't have sugar.
When you have a self-management heavy disease like diabetes its important that you have a few people around you like S who are on your side in your day to day life. There's a lot to diabetes.
It takes a lot of time, energy and effort to train a Diabetes side kick. You work at educating them over many months, maybe even years. Slowly feeding information through small conversations or simple statements. Whether you mean to or not with these people, you create a relationship with them that involves some amount of diabetes knowledge download.
So I have people. I have friends who I knew before I was diagnosed, who picked it up as we went along. I have family who I expect a lot of. I have diabuddies who I don't need to explain at all to. I have a work colleague. Change that to had, because S will be finishing up her job with my workplace at the end of this week.
I have to start fending for myself again at work. Its helpful having someone who knows your diabetes in situations like the birthday cake hypo debacle. (Which continued on past the initial hypo. I had people asking me days later if I was 'feeling better yet' which really confused me because I didn't remember taking any sick leave or feeling ill. I had to be reminded of 'the other day in the boardroom at morning tea'.)
Its impossible to spread the knowledge among too many people, so if you can have one or two people that know enough about what is an emergency, what a hypo is and when everyone else should leave you alone and stop talking, then you're doing alright.
Goodbye to my work diabetes look-out. I'll never train another quite like you. Thank you for never talking to me when I'm hypo. not stabbing me unnecessarily with the Glucagon, not judging, bothering to listen to my diabetes natter, and all the jaunts down the road to stock up on juice when I ran out.