During my first year of Pedi Endo training, I hold the on-call emergency pager for 6 months out of the year. It can go off at any time of the day, as many people have the number. Mainly, the doctors in the children's hospital and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit call with any hormone-related questions or about our admitted patients, the community Pediatricians call (for the same reason), and every single one of our patients has the number for any issue that may arise. Every single patient.
It can make for a lot of pager ringing.
When I hold the pager, I put other things on hold. Things like going to the movies or nice long baths, because it wouldn't be worth it if I got interrupted by an urgent call. I don't mind this in the least -- it is what I signed up for -- but I am sure to take advantage of the time I do NOT have the pager.
So last week I went to get my nails done, something I don't dare do with the pager in tow. It was a late Friday afternoon and the salon was packed. I picked out one of my favorite colors (a grey hue named Smokin' Hot, which is partly why I love it so much) and flashed a peak at my continuous glucose monitor. It was telling me my blood sugar was 80 mg/dL with a southeasterly arrow indicating that I was potentially headed toward a low. I popped a sugary mint in my mouth and dialed down my insulin pump before I sat down for some pampering.
Half-way through my manicure I start to feel smokin' hot, but not in the way the nail polish intended. I had suddenly broken out into a clammy/flushed/word fumbling mess. I asked the nail lady to please hold on as I gingerly tried to search my purse for sugar without ruining her work. During my search, I didn't find anything sweet but I DID find my CGM all red and angry, screaming that my glucose was 55 mg/dL and dropping. After what my hypo-brain thought was 5 seconds but was probably closer to a minute, she asked if something was wrong.
"Do you happen to have anything with sugar in it?" I meekly asked her.
"Do you have diabetes?" she asked, her eyes widening in concern.
"Yes, and it's so dumb because I always carry something with me but I switched purses and forgot to transfer it," I replied.
She shot out of her seat, ran over to one of her co-workers and whispered in her ear. They both started frantically searching the drawers in the nail work stations. The woman sitting next to me took note, and her eyes caught mine.
"Listen, I don't want to intrude but I overheard your conversation and I just wanted to let you know that I'm a doctor and I'm concerned about you," she whispered to me.
"That's so funny! I'm a doctor, too! It's pathetic. And you know what is even more pathetic? I am a Pediatric Endocrinologist. I TREAT KIDS WITH DIABETES AND THIS IS STILL HAPPENING TO ME," I confessed to her.
"That IS pathetic," she said with a smile.
At this point, the entire salon was searching for something sweet to give me. Finally, a woman in the far corner triumphantly shot her fist into the air, her fingers tight around a tube of Mentos as if she had found the holy grail.
The salon collectively breathed a sigh of relief and I gratefully stuffed my mouth with 4 or 5 of them. Fresh-maker indeed. I was feeling much better after a few minutes and my manicure resumed. Turns out I didn't even need to be holding the endocrine emergency pager to have an endocrine incident interrupt my me-time.