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August 8, 2001

Other Social Issues

Question from Las Vegas, Nevada, USA:

I am a 28 year old, diagnosed seven years ago, who is a showgirl/entertainer and, I was recently suspended from my job because I had a bad sugar low at work. Now, my boss is saying I'm unable to do my job, even though I do my job better that 80% of the people in my show. The people I work with are not all very supportive. One girl actually said, "I think its disgusting that I have to watch her!" after I took care of a sugar-low. People really are uneducated! I'm just a dancer trying desperately not to lose her job. I've contacted people at the American Diabetes Association and have gotten a lawyer, but I work for a major casino in Las Vega scared about bad publicity. I love my job and I live to dance. I know I'm asking the impossible, but I thought it was worth a shot. You never know unless you try! Do you have any suggestions?


I would suggest asking your doctor to help you work out a plan to try and prevent these low blood sugars. Then perhaps the doctor could (honestly) write a note stating that if you follow this plan, it is unlikely you will have more serious lows. I would also suggest you work out an unobtrusive signal you can give while you are dancing to let someone know you feel like your blood sugar is dropping and you need to leave. Perhaps you could arrange that you dance in a place on stage where you could go offstage if you feel low and people would think it was planned. I would also try to work with your doctor and the club to arrange that you eat every 30-60 minutes during a show.

Additional comments from Dr. David Schwartz:

Well, there are more than 2 sides to every story. I’m not about to give legal advice so I think she should contact a civil liberties lawyer or one with expertise in disabilities. The Disabilities Act should take care of this. I think I’d assume the American Diabetes Association gets things like this all the time.


[Editor’s comment: In addition to frequent snacks, I think it would also be to monitor your blood sugar immediately before going on stage to make sure it’s in an acceptable range.