Friday, April 18, 2014


I started working as a CNA in August, and my coworkers are a lot of tough ladies (also two men I haven't got to know because they work nights and I usually work 7 am to 3 pm). Some routinely work 3 or more jobs, sometimes 24 or more hours in a row... and they're grandmothers! Me, on the other hand... I can't work a 12 hour shift without falling apart. I've been getting just a little bit of teasing about it, from women who say, "I'm 60 years old, I work 12 hours and then I love to go dance karaoke- you're a young man, you have no excuse".

Last night,  I went into work for my very first night shift, and somebody asked me if I was going to be working 16 hours- to work my usual day shift as well. And I said "NO!" and she said that she had worked the previous night shift, had worked private duty for 8 hours, and then worked her usual, the evening shift- she'd worked 24 hours straight. And she's a grandma.

And I... I offered diabetes up as an excuse. I said that because of diabetes, I haven't had a solid night's sleep in 8 years. Which is not quite true; but I have 3-4 nights per week with lows and/or highs bad enough that either I stay up late because of them, or they interfere with the quality of my sleep. And 8 years puts me a few months before my dx, but April 2006, I had started wetting the bed and couldn't sleep due to thirst, so I think it's pretty fair to say that my sleep was being interrupted by diabetes then.

I feel a little guilty and uncertain blaming diabetes for my lack of sleep. I was never the world's champion sleeper, even when I definitely didn't have diabetes. And I'm aware that there are many type 1 diabetics out there who are capable of working 24 hour shifts and who probably would not appreciate me saying that diabetes is why I can't do a 12 hour shift. In fact, a few of my coworkers are type 2 diabetics... but not, as I understand it, in any kind of symptomatic way.

I believe that I am impaired by diabetes.
I do not believe that blood sugars like mine would impair everybody.
I believe that I have the right to say that I am impaired by diabetes.
I do not believe that I have the right to say that diabetes is by its nature impairing.
I believe that it is not my fault that I am impaired by diabetes.

And these are hard things to reconcile.