It was a dark and stormy night. There were several newly hired employees behind the stand who weren’t prepared for what was about to happen. Star Trek, Epic, Fast and Furious 6, Iron Man, and other popular titles were in theaters. Nearly 5,000 customers came in to view the films. And one movie theater employee felt her blood sugar going low in the middle of the chaos.
In other words, it was the perfect storm.
A couple weeks ago, I was struggling at work. The scenario described above really did happen, and it was highly stressful.
My boss had texted me a few hours before I was scheduled to go into work and asked me to come in a little early. Reluctantly, I agreed. I figured there was no point in stalling the start of my shift, because I wasn’t exactly busy that Saturday morning. So at 12:45 in the afternoon, I donned my uniform and went off to work.
I never worked a 1-11 shift before, so I had no idea what the next 10 hours would entail at the movie theater. In the nearly four years I have worked there, I don’t remember it being as crazy and busy as it was that night. From the moment I clocked in, I was running all around the theater to complete the various jobs that my managers asked me to do. I found myself bouncing back and forth between the concession stand and the box office for a few hours, selling tickets and buttering popcorn as quickly as I could. I was even asked to do some ushering around the lobby and in the individual theaters, which involved even more moving around than I was used to at work.
It was fortunate that around 3 or 4 o’clock, I found myself lingering behind the concession stand, because that was where the most help was needed at that time. I was food running for one of my co-workers when I started to feel a little shaky. I took in my surroundings and realized that I could not be going low at a more inconvenient time: there was a decent crowd of people waiting to be served, there were empty warmers waiting to be filled up with popcorn, and there was a shortage of candy, drink lids, straws, and every other possible concession stand supply. I had to make a choice between pushing myself to the limits by continuing to work without treatment, or take a couple minutes to test my blood sugar and see to it that I prevented something serious from happening later. The choice was obvious, so I told my co-worker that I was going to go test my blood sugar and that I would be right back. Along with everyone else that we work with, he knew that I’m a diabetic, and completely understood that it was important for me to take care of myself.
I walked briskly to where I keep my purse at work, and whipped out my test kit. Five seconds later I learned that my blood sugar was in the 70s range, so I promptly addressed this by filling a courtesy cup with fruit punch and slugging it back in the back room where the turbo oven and freezer is located. As I stood there, taking a brief breather before I had to go back and continue working, I thought about how I was lucky enough to work with people that are understanding and accepting of my condition. In fact, one of my managers is also a type one, so many of the theater’s employees are aware of what diabetes is and how it needs to be treated. And I must admit, it’s pretty convenient that we have access to the fountain drinks so that when I do have a low on the job, I can help myself to a sugary fix right when I need it most.
So, the remaining hours of my shift that night went by in a flurry of faces, ticket stubs, and plenty of popcorn. I was exhausted by the time I got to punch out, but relieved that I had survived the first major storm of the summer at work – and thrilled to end the night with a blood sugar that was within range. Even though it was tiring, maybe the combination of being aware of my blood sugar, knowing when to treat it, and running around like a maniac did the trick!