This last week I heard again a comment about diabetics that left me stunned. They couldn’t believe I was able to drive a car, well truck. Ouch. If not for being able to drive I would be on welfare. Have you ever tried to get a job without one? McD’s might take you or some other low wage job but most ask if you have a license on the application form. Diabetics can do most everything any other “normal” person can but care needs to be taken to keep a good blood sugar level. If you let the government start taking licenses away from diabetics you open a dangerous door that you might not be able to close again. Where do you stop with medical certification? Do you need to require medical papers to get a license? Maybe we should go that route. How many people would loose their ability to drive when you get diagnosed with sleep apnea and have to either use a thousand dollar CPAP machine or just walk to work? I watched a article on a morning show earlier this week talking about CDL drivers who lied on their medical forms to keep from loosing their CDL and then got into accidents because of the undisclosed condition. Recently I have noticed employers adding forms to the application process about disability and if you have one. I have been filling it out truthfully but am wondering how badly it hurts my chances of getting that job. Come on, the law says they can’t deny you but how many of them shove that app to the back of the pile? It is a valid question since they are not required to give a reason for you not being chosen. We went with a more qualified person is all they need to say. I live in a right to work state so I have no legal right or protection for an employer who just doesn’t like my medical status. How many people applied for that position? What were their qualifications? That is all confidential information you can’t see and therefore have no way of verifying it.
Over the many years I have been in the work force I have witnessed the looks and changes in attitudes that come from finding out your employee is disabled. Diabetes is one of the diseases that is not so outwardly visible. It isn’t until someone sees you have a low or you admit it to them that it is known. Epilepsy, heart disease, and other conditions also do not normally show any visible signs. Well there might be scars from surgeries like heart issues and seizure accidents. I have a friend who has several scars for many different problems that have occurred over the years of having seizures. Broken bones, dislocated shoulders, stiches, and other not so clear evidence is there but it’s not like having a tattoo saying “I’m epileptic” on their forehead.
I read around online about sleep apnea and found there is no requirement by the Feds on having to have a sleep test done for a CDL. However here is the sticky point, the doctor putting his or her name on that form is also putting there name and money on the line. It is a $10,000 fine for the first time of letting a medically unfit person get a CDL. The second time is $250,000. Yes that is a quarter million dollars for the second time! Not many doctors are willing to give that up so they will require a test be done. Anyone who is over weight, diabetic, has a large neck size, or complains of being tired is likely to be labeled as high risk of sleep apnea hence the test. P. S. The neck size guidelines are men larger than 17 inches in circumference and women 16 inches. I guess it doesn’t matter if you are 4 foot 1 or 7 foot 1. How do you fit in this category?
I was told recently during an outpatient surgery by the nurse who numbed me up and gave me a calm down drug that she thinks I have it so she put it in my file that I am a high risk and should be checked. Really? Could the drugs that knocked me all but out have any thing to do with it. Am I tired all the time? Yes. but I believe it has more to do with getting about 3-4 hours of sleep each day (night shift) than sleep apnea.
OK back on track, here is the gist of all this. Diabetics are just as good at being drivers as most “normal” people. I appreciate that you care but telling me that you think I shouldn’t have a license isn’t helping me out at all. Tell me I should loose weight and I will agree with you hands down. I make it point of doing as many things as a non-diabetic as I can. It makes me feel like I am part of the human race.