Thursday, 14 April 2011

Work and Diabetes: part 2

Over the last few weeks my diabetes has come second to work. Since being diagnosed in May I’ve been running my life in a way that suits my diabetes best – getting to the gym, eating balanced meals regularly and staying away from chocolates, sugar and excessive amounts of fat. I’ve just hit the 14 stone mark for the first time in, in, it’s been so long I can’t remember! I’ve turned down drinks and I’ve passed up dessert and all because I’ve changed much about my life.

However the past few weeks have been completely dominated by work. I do the PR for a company called Dr Foster and we put out the 2009 Hospital Guide. I worked 83 hours on the week of the launch, literally finishing work at nine or ten at night and getting up at six, or even on occasion five thirty. The launch was huge and the story was far bigger than I imagined.

The effect it had on my diabetes was that I was missing dinners and not eating until late, whereupon I’d have a sandwich or something light. I also found I couldn’t eat much on an early morning so I’d grab some toast from a local shop – just butter – around 10.00am if I could get out. It threw my routines completely out of whack. When I did get home in time to eat I’d have a take-away, a throwback to the lifestyle that got me in the diabetes trouble I’m in now.

I’d often think about measuring my blood sugar levels but then something would come up and I’d forget. I’ve been told that with type 2 you don’t have to worry about hypoglycaemic coma but I did begin to worry that I wasn’t taking care of myself. Getting to the gym was impossible and I’m sure I formed a small groove in my seat at work I spent so long in it.

When I did manage to measure my blood it was fine, well within limits. Occasionally my blood was in the low 5s but that’s good, not bad. As it turns out the diabetes affected me in other ways. I got a mouth infection and it seems as though bits of me were falling apart. I got a couple of rashes that would not go away, obviously an effect of stress but maybe made worse by the sugar that stays in my system making me a Petri dish for bacteria.

It culminated in the astonishingly painful throat infection I now have as I type this. It’s two weeks after the launch and this infection came on Tuesday night. By Thursday I could not eat, and even breathing was painful. I finally got an appointment with the Doctor for Friday but the nurse had put the wrong day in the diary and I was not scheduled till the following Friday. I would have shouted but I couldn’t. As it was they fitted me in as an emergency patient and I got the Penicillin I so desperately needed. I should have gone in as an emergency patient two days earlier and I wouldn’t still be in pain today.

So I guess the effects of Diabetes are much more long term than the effects of stress and exhaustion, but long term periods of stress and exhaustion will ultimately have an effect on my diabetes. Stress doesn’t have to come from work, it can come from family, from kids, from relationships, from friends and from so many other areas of life. I suppose being aware of these stresses is the key, and making sure they don’t play too big a part in your life. Roll on Christmas – that’s never stressful. 

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