“How often do you think you would need to test your blood sugar? Once every hour?”
“It really depends. I check my blood sugar whenever I feel that I need to. If I felt that I was going low, I would check. It probably would be at least once per hour.”
“How much time would we need to give you during an exam? Shall we say a break of ten minutes per hour to have a rest and test your blood sugar?
“It’s something that I have to constantly monitor. So I need to be able to use my equipment at all times. The way I manage my diabetes is that if I were sitting in an exam and I felt the need to check my blood sugar, I would probably do it there and keep going. If I was going low, I would probably eat two glucose tablets and keep going.”
“I’ll make a note of that. Needs to have access to testing equipment at all times. Shall we say an extra five minutes per hour to allow for that?”
“What if I put another ten minutes per hour in here for a break, and you can raise your hand if you need it?
“I really doubt I’d need one. But yeah, put it in there. I suppose it’s not a bad idea. In case I have to change out the consumables in my pump or something.”
“Oh – and can you also put in there that I might need to operate my insulin pump during the exam. Because it looks like a phone,” I said, pulling it out and turning the touchscreen on and waving it around. “I don’t want to get in trouble for it.”
The last time I was at uni, I didn’t want anything to do with diabetes. I can’t exactly remember, but I’m guessing I must have left all my diabetes junk in my satchel and placed it underneath my chair, going for a whole two hours and ten minutes reading time without checking my blood sugar.
I think I was a bloody idiot, if I don’t mind saying so myself. Had something happened in one of those many exams, I might just have been forced to choose between pulling out unauthorised gear in an exam room or not being penalised on the final exam that I’d studied so hard for.
I wasn’t exactly warmed to the idea of having to sit my exam in a separate venue with other ‘equity’ students, but there have been a few perks so far. First up, my exam times are guaranteed to be a 9am or 2pm session. Which means no evenings, and no lunchtimes. Hopefully no weekends.
There were far less students in the exam room with me yesterday arvo, and far less distractions as people leave well before the exam is over. My desk was massive and my swivel chair was mighty comfy. Not to mention floor to ceiling windows with a pretty relaxing view of the moody Winter skies overlooking the campus outside.
I hate playing the diabetes card. Actually, it’s not so much playing it. Because who doesn’t like getting advantages? It’s more how ‘different’ it makes me feel when I do. Somewhat smaller.
But it shouldn’t. Diabetes is a lot of work. No other student in that exam room has to contend with constant blood sugar management around the clock.
So if diabetes can afford me a few special privileges, then I’m going to take advantage of every last one that I can get.