Would You Like Some Glucose Tablets with Your Popcorn and Soda?

I know I’ve talked about going low at my job at the movie theater before, but a couple nights ago I had a reminder of just how terribly inconvenient it can be.

My task for the evening was to go around to each cinema and ask customers if they would be willing to donate to charities that are partnered with my movie theater. It’s always nerve-wracking to speak to an auditorium full of customers anticipating a film rather than my little donation spiel, but at least the theaters are relatively dark when I make my speech. That takes a little bit of the pressure off and I can say my 30 second script with less of a quaver in my voice. Once my talk is over, I go up and down the stairs in the theater and collect any change that customers want to donate. Sounds simple enough, right? It usually is – but bear in mind that there are 15 theaters that I have to get to in a matter of an hour or so. In each individual cinema, I have a decently lengthy flight of stairs to go up and down. I’m not sure how to calculate it accurately, but I am certain of the fact that I get a fair amount of exercise when this is my responsibility.

It isn’t any wonder that halfway through the set of movies I started to feel a little off. I didn’t want to have to miss the showing of Maleficent – it just came out this weekend, and I knew there would be 150+ customers in the theater. I could get a lot of donation money that would benefit worthwhile charities. However, I also knew it would look really bad if I passed out in the middle of my speech. So I decided I should at least test my blood sugar to see if I was as low as I felt, and then I could take it from there.

It was a smart call – I was 63. For the next fifteen minutes, I found myself sitting in the water room next to cases of water and sacks of popcorn seed, waiting for my glucose tablets to kick in. I felt awful, sitting there being useless while I heard my co-workers running around and selling concessions to customers on this particularly busy Saturday night. I was aware that I was doing the best possible thing for my health in that moment, but it also really pissed me off that it happened at an inconvenient time.

But this instance again proved to me that I work with a wonderful and understanding group of people. When I re-joined everyone behind the stand, they asked me if I was doing okay and if I needed any help. Conversation from there transitioned to questions they had for me about diabetes in general, and I found myself happy to clear up confusion and help them get the facts straight. And I even had a very stimulating talk with two co-workers, Ryan and Brianna, about prospects for a cure for diabetes. I was moved by the fact that they seemed so interested in my well-being and that they genuinely wanted to learn more about diabetes itself.

It was a frustrating night at work, for sure, seeing as I had close calls with two more low blood sugars. But thanks to an endless of supply of Hi-C Fruit Punch and support from my friends, I was able to head home around 11 o’clock and go to bed with a decent blood sugar.

And much to my relief, I avoided displaying the usual awkwardness that comes with hypoglycemic symptoms in front of customers – no dizzy spells, shaking, or sweats in front of them. And I only asked if they wanted normal candies like Raisinets or Swedish Fish with their popcorns and sodas, not glucose tablets.

Molly Johannes
Molly Johannes

Molly Johannes was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1997 at the age of four. She controls her diabetes with an OmniPod insulin pump, Dexcom continuous glucose monitor, and daily exercise. Molly graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in December 2014 with a degree in English. Currently, she works fulltime as an associate editor for a financial company. In her spare time, Molly enjoys spending time with her loved ones, reading books, watching movies, and playing games. She’s an avid fan of Disney, dark chocolate, wine, Harry Potter, and fun times. While Molly does not know a life without diabetes, she is determined to defy the daily obstacles the disease presents.

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