Time off work


(norrish) #1

Hey everyone,

I was wondering if anyone had the same issues as me when it comes to taking time off work. My blood sugars have a tendency to spike while I sleep and so it makes it very difficult to get up in the mornings when my sugar is 300 or above. Or I have the opposite problem where it bottoms out when I try to sleep. Either way- I have had to call in several times now because of my sugars. My employer is getting aggravated and I am too! It’s hard because I don’t ‘get better’, it’s a constant struggle and often times feel so bad I can’t drive. I’m not sure how I can make this situation better- expect to control my glucose more, which I am trying to do. It’s very frustrating because I’ve had diabetes for 15 years now and I am in my first job after college and it is all new territory trying to figure out my rights and trying to be the best employee I can be while also managing this disease. Does anyone have any tips on how I can make this situation better? I just get so discouraged thinking every job will be like this. A fight to feel better, to be understood, and I just don’t see that struggle ending.


(joe) #2

@norrish, probably one of the less documented complications of diabetes is the exhaustion part. in my opinion, if I spend any energy wishing the struggle would end I will be lost “forever” in a kind of an energy loss loop. make peace and stop struggling, but understand that this is normal for us, and it’s not going to change.

yes, high and low blood sugar at night can wreck your sleeping - and either thing will make you sick in the morning.

with school and the new job, you are exposed to a ton of stress, which also isn’t helping.

so my opinion is this: now that you landed that job and school isn’t as crazy as it was prefinals, it’s time to focus on you. try to understand and tame what’s going on with you and your blood sugars. 15 years doesn’t mean you don’t need a CDE. go back to the endo get a CDE you can work with and make them figure out a strategy that works for you. if you are a self-learner, dust off the “Think Like a Pancreas” book and start over, first with meals and correction doses, then with basal rates.

you didn’t mention if you shoot or pump. maybe it’s time for a change. I could never get my basal rates right with long acting insulin, crazy time schedules, travel, etc., so I switched to a pump.

you didn’t mention if you are high carb-med carb or low carb, or what your exercise is like… all things for consideration.

there isn’t going to be a magic pill, I’ve been doing this for over 30 years and I still get highs and lows at night… just not as many and typically not as bad anymore. I am not a genius…if I can do it so can you. good luck!


(joe) #3

i completely side-tracked myself - yes of course I take off from work when I am sick. I get the same treatment as everybody else. too many unexcused days off will get me fired, so I don’t abuse the time off/personal time rules.

you can’t get fired for having diabetes, if you need the time then it’s possible to get written out from a doctor. this could be considered short term disability, FMLA, or just plain sick time so whether or not you get paid depends on your insurance and work deal.

yes when you first start there is pressure to work like mad, so new hires do get extra scrutiny over late and absences. this goes away with time and better communications and relationships with your supervisor(s).


(annsquire) #4

I would agree that a visit to your endocrinologist or CDE is in order, with a focus on getting control of those early morning spikes. I too could never control those with Lantus/Levemir, and things got much easier when I switched to a pump. I now have my basal rate set to increase (drastically!) for an hour between 4 and 5 am, which is when my morning spike seems to happen. More often than not, I wake with relatively normal blood sugars these days. Good luck!


(caspersfriend) #5

I don’t know how long you’ve been on the job, but if the boss is taking note of late/sick time, I recommend addressing it head on. Try explaining you are in a transition period with your health, and your goal is to be a productive team member. I had to “confront” my boss once about taking sick time and in writing I put down “I have a chronic illness that is symptomatic every day, so please focus on the quality of my work and what I am accomplishing, not hours on a time sheet.” Fortunately, now my workplace is flexible enough that I can stay late if I have something that keeps me from arriving on time in the morning. Also, my direct supervisor was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s so he has a new insight into the things that can throw you for a loop, like medication changes.

The pump has helped me too, fyi.


(bsteingard) #6

Talking to your boss about your situation can be scary because while they can’t legally fire you for being diabetic, it does still happen sometimes. I don’t want to scare you, but I want to be honest with you. A potential employer once told me (after a working interview during which I did not have any “episodes”) that I might want to consider a different career. Still, like everyone above I would recommend talking to your boss (and get something in writing - an e-mail request to talk that includes a statement about being diabetic or an e-mail summary of your talk sent immediately afterwards). There might be a solution that you two haven’t considered yet, like flexible start times. You should also talk to a doctor about your situation. If they can’t help you figure out how to stabilize your morning blood sugars, they might be able to write you a letter requesting accommodations to help with your work schedule. I have a rigid work schedule and can get in trouble for unexcused tardiness or absence. My solution is setting my alarm extra early so that if my blood sugar is high or low when I first wake up I have plenty of time to adjust before leaving for work. It means I need to go to bed earlier, but I think it’s worth the trade-off. I’m also not a morning person in general, so getting up early gives me lots of time to wake up before getting in the car. I get a set number of sick days and personal days every year in case I really need them, but I try to power through. There’s been a ton of days I went to work exhausted because of a rough night. I just make an extra cup of tea for the road and do my best. Often being at work helps more than staying in bed, especially if the trouble is high blood sugar.


(pamcklein) #7

Hi, I have had the same problems at a couple of jobs. The first time, I was running late for work a couple of days due to low sugars. My employer started asking me all sorts of questions like what my BG reading was that morning. I told her and the next thing I knew she was accusing me of lying! She said she had called the ADA and whoever she spoke to told her that if my BG was that low I would be in the hospital! I wasn’t hospitalized, I was at home waiting for my sugar to come back up. I told her to ask my doctor if she didn’t believe me. She tried to talk to him over the phone, but he refused to talk to her unless I was present. She dropped it.

The second time, after numerous notes informing my employer that I needed to take my breaks for meals at certain times (I was on shots then) and having those notes ignored, my doctor wrote filled out an Intermediate FMLA for me. This is federally mandated, so the company had to comply. It basically said that I was going to need time to treat my diabetes and that I might need to take time away from work to do so.

So, I’d say talk to your doctor as well. He/she can write you notes explaining diabetes care and what you require to do that. Your doctor can also work with you to get your BGs under better control.

Do you snack at night before bed? I know when I was on shots my doctor had me eating a snack if I was below 120 before I went to sleep so I wouldn’t have the overnight drops. I found that if I ate at 120 I would be high the next morning, so we adjusted that to under 100 (I’m extremely sensitive to the insulin). So, work with your doctor until you find what works for you!

Hope this helps!

Pam (T1D 52yrs)


(pamcklein) #8

Hi, I have had the same problems at a couple of jobs. The first time, I was running late for work a couple of days due to low sugars. My employer started asking me all sorts of questions like what my BG reading was that morning. I told her and the next thing I knew she was accusing me of lying! She said she had called the ADA and whoever she spoke to told her that if my BG was that low I would be in the hospital! I wasn’t hospitalized, I was at home waiting for my sugar to come back up. I told her to ask my doctor if she didn’t believe me. She tried to talk to him over the phone, but he refused to talk to her unless I was present. She dropped it.

The second time, after numerous notes informing my employer that I needed to take my breaks for meals at certain times (I was on shots then) and having those notes ignored, my doctor filled out an Intermediate FMLA for me. This is federally mandated, so the company had to comply. It basically said that I was going to need time to treat my diabetes and that I might need to take time away from work to do so.

So, I’d say talk to your doctor as well. He/she can write you notes explaining diabetes care and what you require to do that. Your doctor can also work with you to get your BGs under better control.

Do you snack at night before bed? I know when I was on shots my doctor had me eating a snack if I was below 120 before I went to sleep so I wouldn’t have the overnight drops. I found that if I ate at 120 I would be high the next morning, so we adjusted that to under 100 (I’m extremely sensitive to the insulin). So, work with your doctor until you find what works for you!

Hope this helps!

Pam (T1D 52yrs)


(rebeccamsl) #9

Hi there!
I’m a working professional person and have T1D for the past 35 years, and then 14 years ago I was also diagnosed with Celiac. I DEFINITELY know the struggle of having a bad night with blood sugars and then feeling like absolute crap in the morning. I am in a new position this year and have not had many mornings that were terrible so have been on time for work almost every day but of course I worry about it. Something that has helped A LOT was getting on the Medtronic 630G pump, which has an automatic shut off if my CGM sensor glucose is reading under 65. The CGM and pump communicate in this way, and it’s been great, because I struggle with night time lows that I used to just sleep right through. Since having a CGM, I at least have an alarm waking me up to correct my blood sugar before I have gone several hours with horrible blood sugars. I hate getting up in the night to then do a finger stick and then correct, but it saves me in the mornings now because I will have corrected and gotten some rest overnight. Definitely PUSH your insurance to pay for a CGM and or CGM and PUMP combo. Worth it!!!


(emikala808) #10

Aloha!! Just joined the group and i have been diabetic since i was 14 and i am currently 32. I have just recently run into this problem as well as work. I believe i guess since i am getting older my body is slowing down hahaha. I have never really had a problem with working. I have been in workcomp work for the past 5 years and just starting last year i have been having a hard time staying focused and worse yes getting up in the MORNING and getting started. I didnt want to lose my job as I need it since i have two daughters. I did go and see my primary DR who suggested i go FMLA. WOW has it saved my life and my job. I would recommend that if your company offers it.

MAHALO Miki