Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Sometimes we are lucky

Wait, what... T1 means we are lucky... well okay when you put it that way yes it does, but in negative amounts. But then again it depends on your perspective.

The trouble with diabetes is that there is just so much to wrap your head around from all the practical bits to the emotional stages you go through at diagnosis (not even starting on the poor loved ones who sit on the outside powerless) that the whole thing is almost always going to come off as a negative.

I know in the weeks and months after I was diagnosed that was certainly how it seemed, but then looking back now was it really that bad?

Work, life and the wild world

It's a hard thing going back to work as an adult suddenly having T1, I know many times I used to think that maybe being diagnosed as a child might be better but then I do sometimes wonder. The truth is there is no better time to get your D day... it sucks, regardless when in your life it happens.

The important thing is what you do next and how you view it, though I think it is probably the other way round.. how you view it and then what you do.

For me when I was diagnosed my wife and most of my family, friends and any kind of support was on the other side of the country or planet and I found myself in hospital, so I guess you could say I was kind of light on the local support network.
But this is where I find the first time that I count myself as lucky....

Understanding employers and great bosses

I see it fairly regularly on the forums, people struggling with an employer or manager that is just not prepared to make any kind of reasonable adjustments to help you with your T1. Not least even accepting that you have basically just lost a huge part of your life, in your own eyes, and you need time to mourn.

I am lucky... I work for a great company and have an amazing manager. The first question I was asked when I told my boss, via a very short email, that I had T1 and was being admitted was "Don't worry about work, what can we do to help?"

It was probably the second day I was in hospital that I had a visit from my skip manager and the HR manager (Because they knew I didn't have anyone local to help me) that I realised the kind of support to expect... it was nothing work related they came to see me about they just came to visit me since they knew I likely wouldn't have any visitors.... it later turned out that my skip manager knew most of the nurses on the ward so "my card was marked" that I had second thoughts but that is a whole other story.

Much, much later

Well kind of. Within a couple of weeks of getting back to work I was asked if I would mind talking to the first aiders in the building and bringing them all up to speed. I had already had a few hypos at this point (first was before I even got to the ward) so was happy to talk. Again it was nothing but great questions.... most people will be great if the environment has been set up to allow them to just be normal caring people.

Fast forward a few years and I am just getting on with life, having my adventures and also having an absolute blast at work as we are planning on moving to a new building.
The big day(s) come and the team I am part of are basically working 16-18 hour days to get everything moved over in 3 days so business can go back to normal.

It is in all of this craziness, while we are having a break and I am treating yet another hypo (50% basal and still?... I mean really!) that my manager was asking me how I was doing since he saw me test and then shovel jelly babies (if Bassets ever drop the carbs in them there WILL be riots, though likely not long ones as we will all hypo) that the conversation turned to the breaks for me to do just this.

And again I felt incredibly lucky. My manager basically told me that he used me as a guide for when to call a break, when he saw me start to exhibit hypo symptoms he would call it quits for EVERYONE and we would all take a short break. No singling me out just get everyone to chill. It turns out that he had noticed that this was great for morale since we were all working very hard but I made a very good canary (Go me!).

Much, much, MUCH later

I had seen a couple of posts on the DCUK forums about a bunch of people meeting up, just for drinks and a natter down in London. I wondered about this for a while thinking about going until my lovely wife in her typical direct fashion said something along the lines of "I think you should just go, at least it will be some other people that just get you"... I think she just wanted rid of me for a Saturday so she could watch her series.

The end result was I found myself sitting alone in a pub, nervously waiting for an unknown number of other T1's in the wild to join me. After moving tables and dumping my tester, pens and a few other mixed bits on the table I waited. Not long after that @Type1Bri introduced himself and I seem to have been hooked on meeting up with a bunch of other moderately sane T1 people in London ever since.

It's the people silly!

And so I guess I kind of close the loop.
When I was diagnosed I was more or less alone, no one available on the phone due to distance and time differences then, slowly but surely, people came out to support me and show me that I was wrong. Eventually I ended up meeting some of the most compassionate, funny, knowledgeable and amazing people that I know. All of this in just a few years because of T1.

That all very quickly lead on to the #GBDoc on twitter and all of a sudden I don't know how large my support network is when it really comes down to it. Which is how I end up writing this to you poor suckers that are reading it from some reason.... listening to the many great speakers at #TADTalk2017 (and talking with the many wonderful fellow T1's) left me thoughtful and had me finally pluck up the courage to bore you all with my mindless mental meanderings.

I just wonder where it will take me next, either way I know I will have great company.... Like I said before, it's all about perspective and from where I sit I really am very lucky!

For all of you fellow T1's out there, Thank you!

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