Tag Archives: workers rights

Making decisions for me

I just got done posting something along these lines on Facebook. I read a post that struck a cord with me. It was about not making decision to make others happy but to make yourself happy instead. I feel that comment strongly represents my outlook on life currently.

Why? I came to the conclusion a while ago that there is no one out there looking after me but me. So many decision I’ve made in the past have to help others or my workplace out. Can you work this day? Can you help me move this furniture? Can you tow my car/truck? Can you help fix this or that?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll help out the next guy (or girl) if I can but do not look at me with an evil eye if I say no. I’m not here on earth to make everyone else happy. Be it work, my health, my finances, or anyting else in my world it has to work for me whether others are happy about it or not.

In the past I have been for the most part silent when moved from place to place at work or asked to do extra tasks. In several jobs I have been cross trained in different duties because I pick things up quick. At a lawn mower manufacturer, I ended up cross trained on almost everything but welding. I worked in receiving, shipping, line material handler. parts picking, assmebly, weld parts picking, and was willing to do the other chores that got added over time. The breaking point was when they started to lay us off for months at time instead of only 2 weeks each year. I can not go without that insurance so I found another job and quit.

In my current job, I started as a material handler but was apparently not very good at as I was alwasy getting told all the mistakes I was making but never if I was doing anything right. OK it took me almost 3 years to earn a spot as a machinst but apparently I was not very good  it either. Always heard “you need to work faster” or “do we need to retrain you” so I must not have been very good at it. Funniest part was my coworkers thought I was doing a good job, it stopped there though. I found another position about a year later but even though it was going back the same job description I had before, material handler, I was demoted and had my pay cut but I was happier there so I took the position. Then just a few months ago I was forced into a position I had been cross trained in. When asked when I woud be able to go back to clearing tables I was told it was going to be permenant. Sadest part of it was I really liked clearing the tables. It was hard work, I think that is what I actually liked most about it but no one else seems to.

My solution was to ramp up my search for a new job. I had been looking since I reallized things were not going to get better in the machine shop years ago. I’m giving up 4 1/2 years of seniority and decent vacation but that senority does not seem to mean much since I was the one forced into a position I did not want. I had been told a few times that I was good and people seemed to request me to do these many different things because of that. Now I am stuck in a postion that I am happy to fill in on temp basis but it is not temporary change.

I can’t stop there. Work is not the only place I have made my own decisions which do not always agree with those around me. My healthcare is a big sticking point as well. For many years my now former endocrinologist and I had discussions or maybe even closer to arguements about what my treatment was or where my treatment was going to go. I was talked twice into trying a pump but both times it ended up not going well. She told me just like at work what I was doing wrong all the time but she did not realize I was not a “normal” diabetic. We finally got to that point when after the second pump didn’t work she had me tested and admitted she didn’t know what to do with me. I left her care shortly after as it didn’t seem she was really listneing to me. I had been telling her I was not normal since I first met her. I argued against the pump but after promises were made I agreed. After it failed to stop lows and ended up raising my A1C, we argued about where to go. She wanted to set me up on a med that she apparently forgot she had me try before going back to the pump again. I ended the argement by starting back on the same insulin I had been on before without her complete agreement.

OK, the point I am making is that I am the only one truely looking out for me. Employers will look at what is best for them, doctors on what is best for them, and friends for what is best for them. I don’t fault them too much for it but I can’t just sit there and let them decide my fait as they are not going to live it, I am. Getting my pay cut and placed into a position which I did not want pushes my decision to go elsewhere. The doctor pushing me to try a pump the second time then seeming to fight me getting off it, even though she said she woud support that decision, made me find another doctor.

My opinions are not meant to match anyone else’s as they are for me, not them, and they do not live my life. You can have your opinion as it should fit your life but not anyone else’s. We are all different and have different needs. If I can I will help you out but don’t expect me to surrender control of my life to make yours easier or to agree to your opinion. My decision are made by me for me, not you.

The Fears of Being Diabetic

Why the fears of being diabetic? Why not? I didn’t call them phobias, they are not debilitating. A good diabetic will acknowledge the risks and prepare for them. Risks in my opinion are simply controlled fears. Will I run out of insulin today or drop the bottle and break it? Past incidents have led me to be very careful of where I set it when it is out of the case, aka been there done that. There are so many of them I can’t possibly bring up and talk about them all. The whole point to this post is letting people know that there are many risks to being a diabetic and not everyone knows them or wants to talk about them.

By knowing the risks you can either avoid them or minimize the chances of them happening. My big fear is having a low. Its not as bad with the CGM (that leads to another fear all diabetics have) since it lets me know where I’m at with my blood sugar and most of all which direction it is going. I can avoid the lows by knowing they are coming before they get too bad. I carry Skittles in my pocket so when I know I’m going somewhere I will not have easy access to snacks. Cutting back on exercise is never an option for me. I was not raised that way and can’t get past wanting to give 100% at whatever I do, at home or at work.

My 40+ years of dealing with diabetic issues have led me with a few near phobias with the lows being at the top of that list. I have been told what I am like when my sugar gets low and that scares the hell out of me more than anything else. I become a very combative, aggressive person. People who know me can tell you how calm and passive I am normally but lower my blood sugar and I become a different person. When I was 12 I threw a nurse across our living room, I’ve knocked orange juice out my mom’s hand so many times I lost count, and I woke up with 8 EMT/firefighters holding me down on my bed to get an IV started. At work I have told them to never try to force me to eat or drink anything. Just call the EMTs and let them handle it. The fear is hurting someone I care about. My old doctor hated the fact I run my sugars so high to avoid it.

Another fear that I alluded to earlier is how I am going to pay for all the meds and supplies I need to stay alive. It is sad to say insulin is not the only med with this issue but it is the one I am most familiar with. The cost of the bottles of insulin have gone from $115 about 10 years ago to $295 currently. That is also with the insurance company discount. Buying it without insurance I’ve heard is more like $380 a bottle. The CGM is also a big cost. Each month with insurance I pay about $120 for the sensors. Without insurance they are about $450 each month. They are only meant to stay on for one week but to save money I will leave them on as long as I can, 3 weeks at times if the adhesive stays put. The transmitters are another thing. I pay about $250 for one transmitter that last only 3 months, $1,000 a year with insurance. Without insurance, I would ben  paying $1000 each for them, $4,000. What happens if I loose my insurance? It keeps me up during the day, I work nights so that is my sleep time.

Up comes another fear/risk, loosing my job. I hate to break it to those who feel the ADA protects them but I have been in situations where employers have been, lets just say creative, in forcing me to leave. I don’t think I’m a bad employee. I show up for work on time 99% of the time, I don’t call in sick very often, I do what I am asked to do whether it is a part of my “job” or not, I get along with coworkers well, and am willing to work overtime when needed. I’m not going to get into the politics of it but “right to work” states also allow an employers to let you go without a reason. They will not use the word diabetic in any letter or phone call since that involves the ADA. They can just give any excuse and let you go, if they respond in the first place. As far as getting hired, that is another nightmare all together. The easiest form letter to use is “we have gone with another more qualified applicant” one. Have they? I have wondered how many times they hear about previous situations of low issues and decide to not hire over it. I’ve read the fine print at the tale end of the applications. You give permission for the company to run background checks on you which includes credit, criminal, and employment. You give them access to your employee files from former employers.

An everyday fear/risk is not calculating insulin does correctly. Did I count the carbs right? Did I get the right ratio? Did I do the math right? I’m not perfect. I’ve screwed this up more than just once in 40 years. Don’t panic and make the correction. Eat more if you go low. Take a bolus if you go high. This one is really easy to manage. Its more annoying than anything else.

Fear is a constant companion for a diabetic. One you need to become friends with instead of being paralyzed by it. I could  die by walking out of my house and down the street today, but I’m still going to do it. I could screw up any of the diabetic things I’ll do today but I’m still going to do them. As I said it in past blogs, I’m 9 years past my expiration date so in my mind I’m not loosing anything if I died today. I can hear the gasps from here. It’s life. I’m going to die, everyone will die. Its just when will I bite the big one. I realize the issues of being a diabetic each day and I work with those obstacles. I control them and move on. Enough said.

Workman’s Comp

This is another repost of a previous blog about workman’s comp issue for people. Now workman’s comp is different for each state. I live in Nebraska so that’s the one I’m working with. I have had more than one issue with workman’s comp coverage in the workplace for diabetic issues. As you can guess, they are mostly from having low sugars with trips to ER or sometimes just an ambulance visit. Here in Nebraska the it does not matter that an episode at work is related to our diabetes, it is still covered under workman’s comp. As long as it happens at work while performing regular work duties it is considered covered by workman’s comp. Here’s a quote off the  Nebraska DHHS website about when an employee is covered by workman’s comp: “the injury was caused by an accident or disease that arose out of and in the course of his or her employment” (http://dhhs.ne.gov/Documents/rightsobligations.pdf). There are other conditions that need to be met but are much easier to meet. Another one which is key for a diabetic or other disabled person is the doctor request issue. If the ambulance is called or you are required to go to the ER by the employer, then the employer becomes responsible for the bill. Here is another quote for the Nebraska DHHS website: “An employer/insurer may request that a disabled employee submit to a medical examination by a doctor of its choice at the company’s expense.” (http://dhhs.ne.gov/Documents/rightsobligations.pdf) In regular English this means that if they ask you, or require you, to see a Doctor then it becomes their responsibility. In past situations my employers have lived up to their obligations when I’ve been sent to the ER or the ambulance has been called. So read up on your local workman’s comp statutes and laws. Know what your rights and obligations are so you can keep them in check. Until next time take care everyone!