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Re: [IPk] Exam Stress/ management

Hi Karen
You have to remember what this list is about - it's a place where we can 
discuss issues relating to diabetes and pumps. Just as in ordinary 
conversation, one subject leads to another, so gradually the topic of 
life insurance evolved as another discussion. I don't understand what 
you mean about pensions - I pay exactly the same amount into my pension 
as a non-diabetic, I don't see how I benefit from being a diabetic in 
this respect? Maybe I'm missing something.

On the subject of exams, there are several separate issues. One is 
having a major hypo or high during the exam - and there is no reason why 
this should not be taken into consideration if it affects the ability to 
perform well. Of course if you have a major hypo, you should either be 
allowed extra time or to resit the exam - that's the same as any illness 
that happens during an exam. Otherwise, I'm sorry but personally I don't 
see the need for extra time - it takes less than 30 seconds to test your 
blood sugar from start to finish. It takes about 10 seconds to eat some 
glucose tablets or drink some Lucozade. 5 seconds to adjust your pump. 
Even if you needed to do that several times in a 3 hour exam, that's 
less than a minute out of the whole 3 hours. And if other students are 
going to be disturbed by you having a drink or eating a glucose tablet, 
then they really have an issue - it's no more distracting than someone 
sneezing. You can turn your pump to silent if the beeping is going to be 
distracting. it's very different from requiring extra time for being 
dyslexic. but the main point for me is it's parter of a wider issue 
about diabetes in society - and it's clear that people either understand 
this or just don't get it.

Sorry but I just don't buy that a diabetic's life will be ruined forever 
because they had a minor hypo or slightly raised BG during an exam. Or 
because they weren't allowed to have extra time to test their BG. We 
have to cope with such things in everyday life as diabetics. If such an 
incident is going to prevent an 18 year old becoming a doctor, then I 
don't think they're cut out for it in the first place. In the worst case 
where you have major problems during exams, there's nothing to stop you 
resitting an exam. I - and plenty of others on here - have been through 
all this. I wish I'd had a pump when I was doing exams - I was still on 
one injection a day throughout the whole of school and MDI throughout 
university, my control was awful. I was registered blind halfway through 
doing my PhD, but I still finished it in 3 years. My point is not that 
I'm amazing - there are lots of people who have similar experiences to 
me - the point is that I just got on with it and didn't allow my health 
issues to be an excuse for not doing well.

I know you're not going to feel differently about this, and this isn't 
my aim to change your mind. My aim was simply to open up a discussion 
about such issues.

PS It would be helpful if you could distinguish between a message you're 
replying to and your own message, when you write an email. Otherwise 
it's very difficult to read your post!

> Sorry folks, but I fail to see why a post asking for help in the management
> of exam stress and diabetes has turned into an argument as why diabetics get
> a risk loading on life insurance (when life expectancy is lower..). (btw the
> reverse is true if you take out a pension or annuity  the expected reduction
> in life expectancy will work in your favour..do you complain about that?) .
> Sorry . but I think perhaps you are looking at this from the wrong angle,
> this is not about special treatment or resisting restrictions it is about
> offering practical solutions.
> Most schools and universities today recognise that a diabetic, if in a hypo
> or running very high, cannot during an exam produce a paper that accurately
> reflects their ability. That some time may needed to test sugar levels (even
> if just a few minutes) and correct them and/or recover from them and that
> this time should not taken from the time-pressured exam time itself.  The
> provision of a separate room is often there as much to protect the other
> students, who may find a fellow student testing their blood or eating a
> snack distracting. (those students are entitled to their quiet exam
> conditions too) Many diabetic pupils are minors and schools must make
> adequate provisions to ensure they can react to emergency situations also,
> if a child passes out from a hypo, why should the rest of the cohort be
> disturbed as well? The outcome and results of exams, do in many cases affect
> the rest of a person's life. Making some practical adjustment in an exam
> says nothing to the employer at all..that's the whole point..the employer
> sees only the exam result and the actual capability of the student..
> Allowing someone diabetic to show their full potential and perform their
> best in an exam is what then enables them to have the opportunity to choose
> whatever profession they wish and thereby prevents discrimination against
> diabetics.  In this day, when many top universities or future employers will
> not even look at anything other than the very top grades, should someone
> getting a poor mark due to very high or low blood sugars prevent them
> progressing or deny them the opportunity? In today's highly competitive
> world, surely one should be able to show their best? As an employer, if you
> was looking at two peoples CV's one with a 1st degree or the other with 2.2
> or 3rd, who would you choose? Given that in reality these choices are made
> purely on exam based results and that those results are relative to the
> grades others have achieved. Exam results are used (rightly or wrongly) as a
> measure of intelligence, ability and aptitude. This is not about performing
> under "perfect" conditions, it's about leveling the playing field, so that
> all have equal opportunity to show their worth. Once in the job..then of
> course the ability to perform becomes paramount and you are either up to the
> job or not. Grades and results matter, even at a young age, e.g. unless you
> get at least 8 GCSE's at A or A star..you won't even get looked at by most
> medical schools, so no chance of becoming a doctor if you lost the odd mark
> to a hypo when aged 16! In the past I wonder how many diabetics have been
> denied the chance of entering a top academic profession? Because they didn't
> achieve the grades, not because they couldn't..but because they didn't as a
> result of their blood sugars at the time of the exam.
> The same argument applies to those dyslexic... they are entitled to have a
> PC or transcriber during exams. I know many very intelligent, extremely able
> dyslexics..but if you saw their writing, they would be written off as stupid
> and illiterate, yet they can excel in their chosen professions, should they
> be denied the chance too? Or what about someone with poor sight, should they
> not be allowed Braille or a "spoken" exam? I do not see this as "special
> treatment", quite the reverse, it is about enabling someone to prove their
> potential, it's about recognition that sometimes a small adjustment or
> adaption here or there is required. Would you rather someone was denied the
> opportunity to enter a profession, thereby affecting their whole working
> life and contribution to society, rather than give them 15 minutes to
> recover from a hypo in an exam? Surely rather than criticising this
> application of the Disability Discrimination Act, you should be celebrating
> it? How is it different from requiring an employer to allow someone time off
> to attend their diabetic clinic...isn't that "special treatment..after-all
> non-diabetics don't get that time off? This is quite separate from being
> discriminated against and the opposite of being prevented from doing
> something because you are diabetic. Such provisions are there so that
> "diabetics can do (almost) anything that normal people can do".. but they do
> need the grades and opportunities to prove themselves in the first place.
> Many teenagers are newly/recently diagnosed at the time they take their
> exams and have yet to develop the skills or even possess the tools (if not
> on a pump) to manage their blood sugars adequately during times of stress.
> For many, the exams will be their first experience of stress hormones on
> their blood sugar levels.  Nearly all will be struggling at this age with
> the hormonal impact of puberty/adolescence on their glycaemic control, yet
> the exam results are a just a snap shot of how they perform in a few given
> hours after years of study. You may have to go into a meeting feeling like
> "a used teabag"..but you will not be performing at your optimum, you will
> though have other opportunities to prove yourself, not so for the student
> who doesn't get adequate grades. There's only one chance and it's pass or
> fail.
> Yes, life as a diabetic does mean learning to deal with life / jobs / family
> / travel / whatever blood sugars aren't perfect, but if there are small
> adjustments that can help with or make life easier or simpler, why object?
> Exams are stressful and difficult enough. You are on a pump because it makes
> your control easier and your life simpler..is there a difference?
> Oh yes.. I do remember times, when Sarah was very young when yes, I did have
> to call the "my daughter's a diabetic and her blood sugar's low so please
> serve her first." shout.. what else was I meant to do with a 2 year old who
> at that time was on Mixtard, in a hypo and wouldn't/couldn't eat glucose
> tablets and knocked her juice on the floor..? It's not always so clear cut
> and not everyone can function well with high and low blood levels or always
> keep their sugars under good control.
> Karen Persov..
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