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

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    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.

    .........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 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 Joe V on Jan 24, '17
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  3. by   merlee
    Hahaha!!! 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.
  4. by   VivaLasViejas
    Thank goodness I haven't had the former problem, but I'm far more familiar than I'd like to be with the latter!
  5. by   JulieCVICURN
    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.
  6. by   VivaLasViejas
    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?
  7. by   HolisticHealthRN
    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 there is this idea, "What has happened 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
  8. by   classicdame
    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).
  9. by   HolisticHealthRN
    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!
  10. by   TheMuffins
    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.
  11. by   country mom
    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.
  12. by   HolisticHealthRN
    Hi The Muffin, You have opened up many queries in your post. First of all, let me start off by referring back to my post(s), where I discussed my personal journey and presented Ayurvedic Medicine and homeopathy as possible integrative therapies for Viva to explore.

    I am in total agreement with you about using 'caution', however, I might add that it is very important for people to conduct a thorough investigation into any modalities, holistic or conventional, that one is considering before trying them out. There are pros and cons to all therapies/treatments/modalities, and I guess one tries to choose options that are the least invasive first and those that have the fewest adverse side effects. In addition, the selections have to feel good to you and fit in with your values and belief system.

    It is possible that you may not know that integrative or alternative therapies are being offered by many conventional hospital settings, as many patients are paying out of pocket for treatments that they feel are more natural, safer, gentler, and ones that have fewer side effects. Some of these used to be considered unusual, but many of them are now considered mainstream, such as: acupuncture (an ancient Eastern Medical therapy), oriental medicine, chiropractic, oseteopathic and naturopathic treatments, whereby the practitioners have advanced degrees and are considered doctors on par with medical doctors, as they have the similar advanced/graduate school education and are followed by internships. Many medical doctors that I have come across are graduating from schools of homeopathy, acupuncture, and studying Ayurveda, which is also an ancient system of medicine dating back to the Vedas in India.

    Just because something is old and non-conventional does not mean that it does not have efficacy. As far as pre-scientific, there are extensive scientifically based materia medica for herbs as well as homeopathic remedies. While the remedies have not been tested on laboratory rats, homeopathic remedies have been tested on human volunteers and there are countless cases of documentation on the subject. However, each remedy selected by a practitioner for a patient is individualized for them. That is because if someone is suffering from bronchitis, each presentation of bronchitis is different for every patient...hence requiring a different remedy...unlike a one prescription antibiotic for all.

    As far as Ayurvedic herbs containing arsenic, well one has to know the source of the herb and where it is grown. One also can opt to choose brand names for these herbs and can research the companies before ordering. I happen to use the herbs from my Ayurvedic MD as he has a trusted source and the herbs are organically grown.

    In addition, many if not most conventional drugs have their basic elements coming from herbs/plants. Indeed, allergy treatments are done in a similar way to the homeopathic principle...with small dilutions of the allergen given to the patient. This is based upon the homeopathic principle, "Like Cures Like", which means that the very thing that causes a problem, when given in small doses, can be the very thing that heals the problem.

    As far as clinical scientific double blind trials, which are conducted by pharmaceutical companies, it has come to light in recent years, that many of these studies are skewed, and have led to drugs being pulled off the shelves or reissued with drug warnings due to their serious and complicated side effects. For example, anti-inflammatory drugs like non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) are used for treating painful conditions like osteoarthritis. While these can be effective pain relievers, it's very important to understand that regular, chronic use of these types of medications is associated with significant, and very serious side effects, such as kidney and/or liver damage. NSAIDs also kill some 30,000 people every year due to bleeding ulcers, and the oral drugs have been linked to a host of problems including heart failure-Vioxx and Celebrex are prime examples of these real dangers. (This information taken from Dr. Mercola's e-newsletter)

    As far as Ayurvedic or other holistic modality working because the practitioner spends 1 & 1/2 hours taking a history and understanding the roots of your problem, which helps primarily because the patient is being 'heard' and listened to, well there is something to being able to tell one's story and not being rushed out for the next patient. However, that is just the beginning of developing a trusting and therapeutic relationship, but that is not the whole picture. There are very real therapies, such as dietary guidelines, natural herbal remedies, meditation, self-massage with herbal oils, that are part of the Ayruvedic approach to care and is essentially individualized for each is the selection of homeopathic remedies.

    Research has shown that diet is very important to one's optimizing their health. Meditation has had countless scientific studies and it has been shown to be extremely beneficial to reducing stress and lowering the stress hormones in body while increasing the relaxation response needed for healing. Holistic therapies can be used as an adjunct to conventional medical treatments and the primary care provider and integrative specialist need to know about each other's treatment plan.

    To that end, it is good to know that we have many choices and should one decide to investigate holistic or integrative options like Ayurveda or Homeopathy, they can do their due diligence and then make their decision. If one decides to stay with conventional medical treatments, that is their decision and their journey. In the end, we are lucky that we live in a country where there are many options for care. Using integrative therapies is more than having a listening ear from a practitioner, taking an herb, or changing one's is really a life style choice, in which you are listening to yourself and following your inner healer's voice.

    It is my belief that wellness starts with self-care, self-love, and self-responsibility. Wishing everyone true health!
  13. by   stina2312
    You are testing your patient's BG with shaky hands while you are sweating thinking, "hmmm I should be testing MYSELF right now... not YOU!"
  14. by   bagladyrn
    You know you are a diabetic nurse when the sum total of your physician's patient teaching consists of "Here's your prescription. You know what you need to do."
    I'm still trying to work out the timing of meds and meals when working nights and (semi) switching awake hours on days off.