Diabetes,  Health,  Heart,  Lessons Learned,  Life,  Rants

Sorry Doc, Quitting isn’t an Option!

Have you ever sat in a meeting hall and listened to a presentation and suddenly realized that the hypothetical person the speaker was talking about could  very easily be YOU?  Most of us have that sort of experience at some point or another.  I had one of them during a session at AADE12 in Indianapolis a few weeks ago.

The session was titled “The Other 8 Hours: How Sleep Affects Achieving Glycemic Goals.”

As someone who doesn’t get a whole lot of sleep for various reasons, I was interested in hearing what the speaker had to say about the impact that a lack of sleep has on things.  I mean, I know from experience what the impact can be, but I wanted to hear a medical professional’s point of view.  As the speaker worked her way through the slides and made mention of overweight shift-workers who have obstructive sleep apnea, heart disease, diabetes, depression, etc…, I couldn’t help but think “Hey, that’s ME!”

As the speaker continued on to a section of slides on dealing with patients who fit that description, she made the statement that “We can’t just tell our patients to quit those jobs.”  At that point, the wheels in my head were turning. I thought, “well no, people can’t quit those jobs because they have to have insurance to help pay for the supplies needed to survive!” As the presentation was wrapping up, I was busy jotting out my thoughts on the subject so that I could address it during the Q&A period at the end.  And when it came time, I made my way to the microphone.

I introduced myself, gave the elevator version of my diagnosis story, then hit with my thought and question.

“Most of us living with diabetes and complications while working night shifts can’t afford to give up those jobs because of the insurance needed to pay for treatments.  We feel trapped in these jobs because we fear being without that benefit. And even those with insurance struggle to pay for things.  So my question is: What advice would you give to help patients to help them make the best of their situation and minimize the impact on their diabetes management?”

The response? “Just quit and find a new job.”  Given that the speaker had previously said “we can’t just tell our patients to quit those jobs,”  I was far less than thrilled with that answer, but I took it for what it was worth and returned to my seat.

The fact of the matter is there are millions of us stuck in similar situations because of insurance and per-existing conditions.  We need sound advice and viable solutions.  I’m sorry Doc, but quitting our job isn’t a viable solution.

If nothing else, the session provided me the opportunity to share my patient experience with those charged with caring for patients.  Hopefully, my question got folks thinking about what can be done to help folks like me make the best of the difficult situation in which we find ourselves.

And if one other patient benefits from that, it will have been worth it.

Living with a Confusing Pancreas and a Broken Heart at age 36 #Diabetes #LADA #CongestiveHeartFailure. #MakeDiabetesVisible Creator, #ALittleHeartCanDoBigThings Creator, Advocate, Blogger, Nature Photographer.


  • Cara

    I think that they don’t always understand how hard it is to find jobs. Some of us are in areas where jobs are even more difficult than average to find. Some of us can’t just move for a job due to families, responsibilities, etc. Some of us can’t take the time off between jobs because we have bills AND we need insurance. I’m lucky to have the job I have even though job stress makes my morning blood sugars spike EVERY SINGLE DAY. I know it’s jobs related because I rarely spike on off days.
    I’m glad you spoke up. I’m also hoping that these people understand that sometimes we have to figure out how to make the best out of what we have.

  • kerri

    AMEN, Mike. Some medical professionals are really good about understanding the balance between chronic disease and work, and some just simply suck. I once had to stop a doctor dead in her tracks because she half pointed out that if I didn’t work WHERE I work, I wouldn’t be sick so often–insinuating I get a new job without 55 children present. Not a chance, I love my job!

    Obviously the answers are NOT black and white when you come to any combination of job and any chronic disease(s), much as the individual in your post above seemed to expect it to be. Sure you have to do what’s best for you, but there has to be that delicate balance between not only your body and your mind, but your figurative heart in there too. I’m glad you were there to share your story of being “THAT” patient. :]

  • PrincessLadyBug

    Seriously? She said just quit & find a new job? Spoken like a person who has probably never had to actually find a job or has never been out of work. Or even more so, never lived with a chronic & expensive disease. And I think if it had been me, I’d have said just that to her. How about some advice we can USE, doc?

    I don’t know how you do it, honey. I’ve worked the night shift from time to time as a fill-in, but I couldn’t do it every single day. Hope things ease up for you soon.

  • Scott K. Johnson

    Bravo for getting up there! Crazy how the answer was just what she said shouldn’t be the answer. I have no doubt that many people left with that stuck in their head.