On June 5th, 2021, Abigail Van Buren, known for her advice column, “Dear Abby,” took on a question from the coworker of a diabetic whose continuous glucose monitor makes noises.
The Diabetes Twitter-verse was less than enthused.
I’m going to let you know up front, my mind did not go to the same place as most people.
As a person with ADHD, I completely understand the need for a conducive work environment. Not everyone has a career where they are able to wear earplugs or headphones for concentration. At the same time, not everyone has the ability to keep a flat line glucose level to prevent alarms from going off.
Am I supposed to endure this annoying sound even though she can put it on vibrate?
More transparency from me: the question is insensitive. It is blaming the person who is paying intricate attention to their blood sugar. Most of us know that the beeping indicates something isn’t quite right, and I know when my blood sugar isn’t in range, I’m. Moody. As. Hell.
I guess my first instinct is wanting to know whether the coworker has spoken to the person with diabetes or not. I would assume there has been open communication in the office about the CGM, especially if the coworker knows that it could be put on vibrate. Otherwise this is just an incredibly unhappy person (based on the assumption they did research to learn it vibrates).
Abby suggests the coworker needs to speak directly to their coworker. I completely agree with this. Abby suggests the coworker speak with a supervisor if the person with diabetes (PWD) refuses to switch the alerts to vibrate. I also agree with this suggestion. Why? Because the coworker could be wrong. It could be that the PWD cannot silence the alarms (I know I can’t silence low alerts!). It could be the person has extenuating circumstances (pregnancy, for example), that require even closer monitoring than usual. Or maybe the PWD is simply being spiteful because they aren’t fond of the coworker. Abigail Van Buren cannot see what is going on, and because of that I think she probably answered in the most concise manner: You can be an adult and address this situation. If you can’t, talk to your supervisor and they can deal with it.
Do you have a workplace story? Has anyone every given you grief for taking care of yourself? Have you had trouble with management?
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