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Diabetic’s monitor is more than an office annoyance

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.
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DEAR ABBY: Every year I have a garage sale. I have a good friend who without fail not only doesn’t help but expects to place her stuff in the sale. I am then responsible for keeping track of her items and paying her at the end. Sometimes she has put big-ticket items, like a boat, in the sale and I have to call her whenever there’s a lower offer. How do I tell her to have her own garage sale without causing hurt feelings? — UNLOADING IN MICHIGAN

DEAR UNLOADING: Your friend has a lot of nerve. Tell her that unless she’s willing to help you with the yard sale and keep track of her own items, she should hold one of her own. Alternatively, suggest you will take a percentage of the money her items bring in — to compensate you for your work, which is significant. Do not worry about hurting her feelings. She has a thick hide.
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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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