As cold and flu season is upon us, a few days ago I was reminded that having T1D can be a bit stressful this time of year. I currently have four employees and they’re dropping like flies. One of them recently contacted me to say he wasn’t feeling well. I had been around him earlier in the day and thought he looked a little pale so I encouraged him to go home.
Fast forward five days and I’m working along side my newest employee. She abruptly jumps up and exits the room. I didn’t think much about it as we were in the middle of an exciting project and she could have been eager to pull something from storage. Upon her return, she looks like a zombie. She shyly admits she had just thrown up. My first thought is, “Are you pregnant?”, but quickly remember that is inappropriate to ask. THANK YOU filter for working today. She assures me she feels better and thinks it might have been something she ate earlier in the day.
Soon after the vomiting episode, the head cold employee joins us and nonchalantly mentions his cold was actually the flu. WTF are you doing here!!! He promises me he is no longer contagious and is eager to work. This scenario sparked a conversation I’ve only had a few times in my life – My immune system is very different from the average person.
I went into great detail about a few episodes in my life that led to hospitalization. I almost died in Paris from the Spanish flu and have been sent to the ER a few times with stomach viruses. In years past I wouldn’t have divulged my health scares because I was embarrassed, but I wanted to be sure my Dream Team understands that health is first and to take being sick seriously. I was pleasantly surprised they asked questions about how diabetes effects my immune system and feel confident they’ll no longer expose me or the gallery to any funky germs.
I’m incredibly grateful to be self employed so if I’m sick, I don’t have to ask permission to stay home. I would love to hear from fellow PWDs as to how you broach this subject with colleagues. Do you say something to the guy next to you who refuses to go home even though he is infecting the whole office? Do you call in sick at the hint of a head cold?