You Know You're A Diabetic Nurse When....

by VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN Guide | 5,159 Views | 18 Comments

Here's a slightly twisted look at some of of the little absurdities (not to mention indignities) of being a nurse with a chronic health issue. Caution: Not for the squeamish or those who lack a sense of humor.

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    .........You sit through your diabetes ed class and catch yourself instructing your fellow patients how to care for themselves, what to eat, when to call their physician, etc. etc., but when it comes time for you to plan a meal program at home or start on a new medication, you suddenly go stupid and everything you've learned about the disease over the past fifteen years is AWOL.

    .........You plot your entire day around when and where you can eat, just in case your sugar crashes and burns.....even if it hasn't been under 150 since the day you were diagnosed.

    .........You find yourself drooooooooling over a stale piece of banana bread left over from last Friday's potluck. You may even reach for it in your desperation for something sweet. And if you're a new diabetic like me who's still scared enough of the disease to muster some self-discipline, you consult with your glucometer.....which seems to know exactly what you are thinking and produces a number that would make an endocrinologist cringe.

    .........You've reached an age when you'd finally earned the privilege of NOT carrying a handbag full of Kleenex, kids' stuff, and feminine products, and then you wind up trading in your cute little handbag for a purse that's big enough to hold all your medical supplies: your meter, your glucose tablets, your Glycemic Index book, a couple of extra lancets, a three-months' supply of Glucophage, and a dilapidated pack of saltines you scored from Denny's ages ago.

    .........Your co-workers can guess your approximate FSBS by the way you handle the following situations:

    1) Being waist-deep in a project when the boss "suggests" that you switch priorities STAT;
    2) An irritating family member who buttonholes you and peppers you with petty complaints just as you're sitting down to lunch;
    3) Stepping in poo.

    .........Speaking of which: you know you're a diabetic nurse when you notice changes in your body and find yourself wondering about things..........like whether your particular medication is supposed to turn stools green ("Holy God, it looks like freaking ALGAE!!"). But you're too embarrassed to ask, and besides, you're supposed to KNOW all this stuff. Remember?
    Last edit by VivaLasViejas on Apr 2, '11
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    About VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

    VivaLasViejas has '17' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'LTC, assisted living, geriatrics, psych'. From 'The Great Northwest'; 55 Years Old; Joined Sep '02; Posts: 25,213; Likes: 36,547.

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    18 Comments so far...

  3. 2
    Hahaha!!!

    ......you wear the biggest pads you can purchase to contain the leaks caused by hyperglycemia, and the 'can't drink enough/can't pee enough' syndrome that comes up after eating even just one jelly-filled doughnut.
    DayOhioRn and VivaLasViejas like this.
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    Thank goodness I haven't had the former problem, but I'm far more familiar than I'd like to be with the latter!
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    Thanks for this. I'm a diabetic nurse and I'm lucky in that even though my diet is horrendous (I could live on chocolate) my numbers are under pretty good control. I know my time to be bad is quickly running short, but it's so hard to give up the sweets!

    I would add that you know you're a diabetic nurse when you become understanding of the reasons patients give for non-compliance, because you know first hand how hard it is to be good.
    justalpnwmg, labd, cogath, and 3 others like this.
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    Quote from JulieCVICURN
    I would add that you know you're a diabetic nurse when you become understanding of the reasons patients give for non-compliance, because you know first hand how hard it is to be good.
    Isn't THAT the truth! I have a married couple at my ALF (both A & O, both on insulin) who have major control issues. They like to do their own FSBS, then ask the med tech to give them SSI on the basis of [I]their[/I readings instead of ours, even though they never calibrate their home machine and have been known to fib about the numbers. They also complain incessantly because I won't let them get away with bullying the staff into chasing their blood sugars between meals (which usually happens after they've consumed all the starches and sweets they can lay their hands on).

    Now that I'm in something of a similar predicament, I get where Bob and Jenny* (names changed to protect their privacy) are coming from. Diabetes, by its nature, forces us to give up a HUGE amount of control over our lives as it is; suddenly we have to think about everything we do, from what we eat and drink to what kind of shoes to buy. I never knew how freaking complicated this disease makes everyday living, and I'm not even that bad off......Bob and Jenny don't even have as many choices as I do, seeing as how they are in assisted living rather than their own luxurious home (I've seen the pictures) and have so many more physical limitations because of their DM. So, I don't let Jenny's lady-of-the-manor attitude get under my skin as much these days, and I find myself reminding the staff that she does it mainly because she's lost control over just about everything else. Who wouldn't be PO'd about that?
    justalpnwmg, NDXUFan, Victoria rock, and 3 others like this.
  7. 1
    Hi Viva,
    You have a great sense of humor. Having said that, it is a strange twist of irony that we have educated our patients on subjects of nutrition, choices, blood sugar testing and compliance and then we find ourselves in the same boat. Just wondering if you have ever heard of Ayurvedic Medicine? It might be something for you to investigate.

    Despite my holistic training and my own energy work, as well as homeopathy, I needed something more for healing myself (see last post). I do not think that total will power always works. I think that the idea of "having to make a change" and "giving up" food that you like/love to eat feels very overpowering, in addition to the diagnosis. Don't you? In addition, there might be an element, still, of disbelief, and a grieving process that one has to go through...as there is this idea, "What has happened to me...to my once healthy body?" So treating yourself gently and lovingly is also very helpful and important.

    Ayurvedic medicine is wonderful. The consultation, by the doctor or counselor, trained in Oriental medical methods, utilizes pulse taking, and spends over 1 &1/2 hours getting to know you as an individual. Coupled with a detailed history, covering physical, mental and emotional symptoms, your Aurvedic Constitutional type or Dosha is determined, which is personalized for you. There are herbal remedies, dietary additions and modifications recommended as well a self-care techniques, which, once you start doing them, you will look forward to it, as you are nurturing yourself.

    I think that is what many women in the healing professions, often forget about doing. I don't know where you live, but I live in Rye, NY. If you are interested in a resource for Ayurveda, let me know and I can send you a link. In the meanwhile, it might be worth googling for more information.

    I think your attitude is excellent. The fact that you are looking at this as an opportunity for healing and taking care of yourself is very important. You will learn so much on your journey. It is my belief that we can heal ourselves by accepting, allowing, and loving ourselves, coupled with excellent knowledge, alternative resources and faith! Sending you healing energy. Best, Holistic Health RN
    Last edit by HolisticHealthRN on Apr 4, '11
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
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    I find myself planning meetings around my meal times. Otherwise I have to bring snacks and if someone objects, too bad. Same with plane rides. I tell my seat partner I need to take an injection. Most say they do not mind. The others I tell to close their eyes (I am doing it anyway).
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
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    I believe that it is really important to take care of yourself. Bringing snacks with you to meetings and your medication when traveling is paramount, so you do not have a problem. I think it is good that you are considerate to your seat partner if you plan on giving yourself an injection, in case they need to excuse themselves vs fainting!
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    I would caution against Ayurveda and Homeopathy. They are pre-scientific methods that gained popularity in the past because they were better than bloodletting, but have no scientific basis in reality. The 1 1/2 hour meeting and assessment is key: it's a wonderful caring person who wants to hear all about your problems and has all the time in the world, just for you. It has an effect because the practitioner is the therapy: mental health therapy. How many patients feel so much better after simply talking to their doctor? Plus, Ayurvedic medicines are often contaminated with Arsenic. As for homeopathy, if this therapy had any basis in fact, all our tap water should be considered homeopathic medicine.
    geocachingRN and reussir1 like this.
  11. 2
    Thank you, insightful as always. I hope when folks read this, they can be more understanding of why it's so hard to live with diabetes and be more forgiving of so-called "noncompliant" patients. A decade in diabetes education, and I can tell you, most people already know what they need to do. But doing it is hard, and there are always roadblocks that get in the way of success. It's not an easy road.
    labd and VivaLasViejas like this.


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