DEAR ABBY: "Disturbed in Texas" (June 5) was annoyed by the sound of a diabetic co-worker's "beeper" going off frequently. "Disturbed" may not fully understand this situation. The "beeper" is a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), which alerts insulin-dependent diabetics to any blood sugar levels that are out of range. Swift action may be required to correct these blood sugars, and it's vital that the diabetic receive these alerts.
Yes, if possible, the CGM should be put on vibrate in public settings so as not to disturb others. But in some situations, it's not possible or wise. Neuropathy can dull sensations, and an active environment may make the vibrations undetectable. I wonder about the frequency of these beeps as well. In my experience, alarms go off an average of two to five times in a 24-hour period -- just a few short beeps that can be canceled when the diabetic is made aware of the need to treat their glucose.
In my opinion, this is no more annoying than many office interruptions -- watercooler gossip, phones ringing in the next cubicle, someone next door with an active cold, etc. Insulin-dependent diabetes is an unrelenting disease. There are no breaks. (I know this firsthand. I care for a Type 1 diabetic child who is not yet old enough to appropriately respond to alarms.)
One should not use their diabetes as an excuse to annoy others but, on the other hand, people with diabetes -- and other chronic diseases -- need a little understanding, too. Life can get very hard. Sometimes the best way to achieve understanding is to educate, which I'm hoping to do with this submission. Thanks, Abby. -- SENSITIVE IN SOUTH DAKOTA
DEAR SENSITIVE: No, dear reader, thank you for taking the time to explain this to me and my readers. I now have a better understanding about how complicated a process managing diabetes can be. And I agree that sometimes it's important to cut a little slack for others.