I Smell Insulin

“Hey, hey, wake up,” Brad whispered, gently shaking me. “Come on, wake up.”

My eyelids felt glued shut and my head was heavy with sleep. It’s gotta be 3 in the morning, why is he waking me up? I finally got one eyelid to open and pulled my face barely out of my pillow and groggily asked, “What?”

“I smell insulin and I know your blood sugar is high,” he said. “Do you need to change your pod?” I swear it took me a good 30 seconds to process this.

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How do you present yourself?

Earlier this month, I was at an industrial trade show running media meetings for a large, well-known manufacturing client. I was standing in their booth during a particularly busy time in the exhibit hall and pitching in where I could until my next meeting.

A man, who looked a little disheveled and addled came wandering up to the display I was standing near. I said hello and he looked at the company name on the booth and said, “With a name like that, you must not be a Japanese company.” I responded that it’s an American company with a global presence. He was silent, looking at the display and not me, so I offered to get someone to answer questions for him.

“Oh no, I’m not a potential customer,” he told me and fished a business card out of his pocket. “I’m a PR guy, if you want to get more publicity for your products, give me a call.” He handed me the card and walked away. I didn’t even have the opportunity to say thanks, he was gone so fast. I stifled a laugh and turned to the product manager who had overheard the “pitch,” he too was laughing.

I’m not in sales or business development, I’m in marketing communications. For the purposes of that trade show, I was the “PR guy.” Never in a million years would I assume a greeting and closing line like that would be professional or persuasive. And I’d never hand someone a business card without actually introducing myself and getting the other person’s name. Whenever you present yourself to others, regardless of what business you’re in, you should strive to be professional and polite.

Here are a few easy communication tips for making a good first time meeting impression: Continue reading

Christmas Gifts for People with Diabetes

If you’ve got someone who has diabetes on your Christmas shopping list this year, listen up, this one is for you!

If you’re wondering, “What should I get for my diabetic friend/relative this year?” Allow me to help, instead ask yourself “What should I get for my diabetic friend/relative this year?”

Here’s the thing about people who live with diabetes, the disease is something they live with, I guarantee you it isn’t something that they want or view as a hobby, so it probably isn’t something you should get them gifts for. Most people with diabetes want to be seen as more than their illness, no matter how much they blog, tweet or post about it online. Look at your friend or relative as a person outside of their diabetes with their own unique personality, interests and hobbies that can provide you with plenty of ideas for gift giving.

Of course, if your loved one asks for something diabetes-related, that’s a whole different story. Sometimes they may want treated to a fancy new diabetes bag or medical alert bracelet, and if that’s the case definitely go for it!

Just don’t assume that because a person lives with a disease that they will want gifts for it.

New Friends – Thanks Diabetes

It’s 3:30 pm and I’m in the basement of the church in my bridesmaid dress trying to steam the wrinkles out of another bridesmaid’s dress. The room is really hot, but do I feel hotter than I did 5 minutes ago? Maybe. I glance at my Dexcom app, still no data. It’s been on the fritz since I arrived this morning to get my hair done for my friend’s wedding. Maybe it’s just the steam and the activity in the bridal room.

But my hand is shaking. Something isn’t right. I check my blood sugar. 43.

I pop open my tube of glucose tabs and eat the only 3 that are in there and curse myself for not refilling it. I don’t have any other fast-acting sugar with me. The bridesmaid whose dress I was steaming is a pediatric nurse and she sees me. “Are you okay?” she asks.

“I’m low, I’m 43,” I respond. By this point, everyone in the room has seen this. She asks if anyone has food in the room. Someone offers a bag of Sour Patch Kids, and I scarf down some candy and take a drink of water.

People ask me what I need now and I respond that I need just a minute.

The pastor knocks on the door and announces that we have five minutes before we have to go upstairs. The nurse slips on her dress that someone else has finished steaming and asks me how I feel. I can’t focus enough to respond right away and just awkwardly stare at her, but I can’t quite focus on her or figure out how to speak words. “I need another minute,” I finally manage to say. Then the pastor is at the door, “Okay ladies, it’s time to go upstairs.” We bustle around and I start to feel more stable, I slip on my ambitious heels and teeter up the stairs behind the other girls.

“Do you need more sugar? My uncle is type 1 and I’m sure he has something with him,” the nurse offers. I shake my head. We line up as the soloist finishes her song.

“Rach, are you okay?” my friend the bride asks. This is the absolute last thing I want my dear friend thinking about before walking down the aisle to marry the love of her life. Continue reading

New Job – Thanks Diabetes

A new “Are you diabetic?”

The girl I’d just met a couple of hours before on the dock of our rented lake house stepped just inside the door of my bedroom as I unpacked my duffel bag. I, along with 8 other girls, was spending the weekend at a lake in upstate New York to celebrate the upcoming wedding of our friend. I felt a little like an outsider in the group because I only really knew the bride and maid of honor before the trip. I’d met a couple of the other girls before and the rest were strangers.

My Dexcom sensor peeked out of the leg of my shorts from its site on my thigh. “Yes,” I responded simply.

“So do you wear a Dexcom?” she asked.  Continue reading