To Tell, or Not To Tell?

When disclosing your diabetes, deciding who will know is as vital as deciding who will not.

By

Mike was excited about his date. He looked great, splashed on some cologne, and was on his way. He was meeting Susan, a blind date he had met on the Internet. When he arrived at the restaurant, he was thrilled to see that Susan surpassed his expectations – she was stunning. They went inside, ordered a few drinks and began to enjoy a great conversation.

Their food was delayed, but Mike didn't care. He continued to talk with Susan, totally engrossed in all that she had to say. And then he woke up. It was dark out and Mike found himself tangled in the bushes outside of the eatery. His shirt was torn, wallet was gone, and watch and cell phone were missing. What had happened?

He pieced the evening back together with the help of the bartender inside. The blood sugar lowering effect of the alcohol, combined with the delayed meal, had sent his glucose levels spiraling downward. Mike hadn't mentioned his diabetes to Susan, since they had just met, but he was also not wearing a medical I.D. bracelet that could have provided a possible cause for his behavior.

When Mike's hypoglycemia caused him to suddenly act intoxicated and aggressive, Susan had no idea that there might be a medical issue. She became frightened and asked a gentleman at the bar to help protect her. The man threw Mike out then left with Susan. Mike called to explain, but Susan wanted no part of him or his diabetes.

Who Do You Tell…and Who Don't You Tell?

Whom should you tell about your diabetes? Here are several people who may need to know:

  • Someone who can help you with your diabetes care.
  • One who can offer you emotional support.
  • Anyone who needs to know your medical status, such as a scuba instructor, personal trainer, or health professional.
  • Your employer – especially if you require a flexible schedule and time off for medical appointments.
  • Co-workers.
  • Someone with whom you share an intimate relationship.
  • A roommate.
  • Your workout buddies.

Who does NOT need to know?

  • Someone who will nag you.
  • A person who will make fun of the health decisions you make.
  • A person you hardly know.
  • One who may gossip about you.
  • Anyone who won't support you and will tempt you with foods you wish to avoid.

    You don't have to share your diabetes with everyone, but you must be prepared for emergencies, especially when you plan on being around people who don't know. Many individuals with diabetes don't wear medical identification. They may keep a card in their wallet or purse, but those items aren't always close by. Fortunately, a variety of medical alert bracelets, ranging from gold and silver to Velcro and gemstone, are now available.

    Mike is sorry that he wasn't more attentive to his eating needs that evening. And he regrets not wearing medical identification, which would have alerted those nearby to help him. He has also decided to stop meeting women on the Internet… but that is another story.

Janis Roszler, RD, CDE, LD/N

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

Last Modified Date: June 20, 2013

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

dLife Weekly Poll

If you are a parent with diabetes, do you find that diabetes gets in the way of your parenting?

Sign up for FREE dLife Newsletters

dLife Membership is FREE! Get exclusive access, free recipes, newsletters, savings, and much more! FPO

Congratulations!
You are subscribed!
Congratulations!
You are subscribed!
Congratulations!
You are subscribed!
36 Views 0 comments
by Brenda Bell
I can't believe it's over two weeks since I've written anything here. Right now, I'm struggling through some serious fatigue, after having spent the last three days in a Passover cleaning frenzy, the previous couple of weeks in a budgeting mess, and most of the past quarter with serious questions about our current lives and our distance from The Other Half's elderly parents. And in between all that, my first two training rides for this year's Tour de Cure. I need to...

dLife's Sex & Intimacy Content is contributed & moderated by

Jamis Roszler
Janis Roszler
MSFT, RD, CDE, LDN

Janis Roszler, MSFT, RD, CDE, LD/N is the American Association of Diabetes Educators' 2008-2009 Diabetes Educator of the Year.  She is a certified diabetes educator, marriage and family therapist, and registered dietitian. Her books include Sex and Diabetes (ADA) Diabetes on your OWN Terms (Marlowe & Co) and The Secrets of Living and Loving with Diabetes (Surrey books).
 

Donna Rice
Donna Rice
MSW, BSN, RN, CDE

Donna Rice MBA,RN,CDE,FAADE is the 2007 Past President of the American Association of Diabetes Educators. She is a registered nurse, diabetes educator and has developed numerous educational programs on sexual health and wellness.  She is the co-author of  Sex and Diabetes (ADA) and Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction - A Quick ‘n' Easy Handbook For the Diabetes Educator (Bella Vita).  Her newest publication is a children's book, The Magic is Me (Searchlight Press).