The Great Debate that I am referring to is the one about testing and injecting/pumping in public places. Through the years I have seen various reactions to my "public displays of diabetes." While teaching a health class full of 9Th graders, as I was explaining diabetes and the importance of monitoring blood sugars, I had a student pass out at her desk. Funny thing is, prior to this experience, it had never crossed my mind that a mere finger stick would cause an adverse reaction in a non-diabetic. Lesson learned for sure!
That was back in the early 1980's, since then I either try to be real casual while testing or injecting and try not to bring any attention to myself. This has worked rather well for me. I have sat right at the table in a restaurant and taken an injection right through jeans before my companion has time to notice.
In my mind, I should not have to huddle in a non-sterile environment, such as a stall in the women's rest room, to check my blood sugars or inject insulin. It has always made me feel dirty and ashamed of not being "whole." So...I decided that I have a right to take care of my needs without hiding out like a junkie. If someone is offended, than they have the option to look away, as I do not have the luxury to fore-go my need for administered insulin. It only takes a few seconds to take care of myself.
In my small way, I feel I have "normalized" my self-care techniques. Every once in a while, a friend will share their story about the first time they saw me finger stick and test or inject (in the old days) or pump up the volume on my current insulin pump. We always end up laughing about their initial discomfort. They usual tell me that it has helped them to realize what it takes for me to be well and happy and that they do not even notice my self-care techniques anymore. That is all I can ask for!
I would love to hear other takes on this topic.
Happy Trails, JWD T1 since 1963.
By: yanbowang: Feb, 24, 2011 12:07 PM
Hi, this seems very useful, thanks a lot, I appreciate your work! :)
By: : Oct, 28, 2009 21:40 PM
When you get to the point of self-acceptance of having Diabetes, you become less concerned about other people's reactions to your insulin injecting protocols. After all, you are making a statement that what you are doing is important. And you are after all, taking care of yourself.
How could anyone argue with that?
By: : Apr, 16, 2009 23:51 PM
This isn't so much a comment on this post as on Anna's comment, when she wrote
Having a chuckle here - as I think of a waiter one time asking me if he wanted me to have him take our picture with my camera - as I was setting up my insulin pump for a meal. I laughed - telling him - " It's not a camera - it's my insulin pump - I'm a diabetic <lol>".
That story reminds me of when I was in the cath lab at the hospital where (I didn't know this yet) they were about to put a stent in a blocked coronary artery. Anyway, I'm lying on the little table, with my insulin pump at my side, and one of the technicians asks me if it was my cell phone! Sure, I'm lying there in nothing but a hospital gown, they think I've had a heart attack, I'm scared of the procedure and terrified in general . . . but I certainly don't want to miss any calls! The nurse told the tech what it was, but it was a little unsettling that some medical professionals still don't know what an insulin pump is.
By: ladyD: Mar, 28, 2009 18:02 PM
As a healthcare provider in a school setting I did have an experience quite a few years ago when I was doing some hearing and vision screenings and a diabetic had come into the clinic to do their scheduled finger stick. All of a sudden I turned around just in time to see a student fall flat onto the floor and give their head quite a wallop on the floor. Turns out the student could not handle the sight of blood. They were taken to the ER for evaluation via ambulance but it was quite frightening for the students to witness. This was an elementary school setting. Students don't test in the classroom at that age
By: dorisjdickson: Mar, 28, 2009 10:18 AM
In my mind, there has never been a debate. I may turn my arm away while I take an injection or advise the person watching I'm a diabetic but that's it.
I remember the day a friend of mine and I sat in the bar section at one of the high pub tables. We both pulled out monitors and syringes. At the next table a family with a child attached to an insulin pump.
I'm more likely to offer the insulin (being a total wise acre) than being overly concerned about what some else thinks. My friends will occasionally look up after I use my meter. If they do I may tell them what it said. More likely than not, I just keep talking as if there was no break in the conversation.
I did have an acquaintance (who had seen the insulin bottle, syirnge and monitor several times) give me crap last year. I kept moving my pocketbook around at a gathering. She (with some drunken and pot induced tone) loudly and impolitely suggested it was in the way and I should put it in the car. I don't remember what I said but it was equally as ... unpleasant. I'm not fond of drunk or high people, much less derogatory comments about my insulin. The friend whose house it was shook his head - and he wasn't shaking it at me.
Doris J. Dickson
By: FatCatAnna: Mar, 27, 2009 20:45 PM
I have never been shy about doing what I have to do in order to take care of my diabetes. I think the only time I did wonder was when travelling by air and circling around a major storm. Being in a Challenger - that my husband works on as a air mechanic - I was doing my best to calm a business man next to me who was worried if we had enough fuel to get us to Raleigh rather then Charlotte, as we flew low over the country side of the Carolinas. I ensured him that we would be fine (thunderstrike off to the left - cool) - and that having done sheet metal on these types of aircraft - it would hold up to anything (oh - a pig farm below - oink, oink). I then proceeded to ask him if he had an aversion to abit of skin and needles as I told him I was a diabetic and had to shoot up with some legal drugs. That took his mind off of everything - and the flight managed to continue on without any problems. Show 'em abit of hairy leg - and bing, bang, boom - they are gob smucked <lol>.
Most of my friends don't even think or ask about what I am doing. They've known me so long - they know this is what I do - and have never questioned me about it. As we're all ageing now tho' - and the possibility of Type 2 maybe creeping up (as their parents had also become Type 2's later on in life). They now occasionally question me as to what I'm doing - what it means - and I have no problems telling them. I feel the more I educate people - the less they have to fear. I also tell them to eat healthy, exercise - e.g. chase their cat around the house, and not to worry!
Having a chuckle here - as I think of a waiter one time asking me if he wanted me to have him take our picture with my camera - as I was setting up my insulin pump for a meal. I laughed - telling him - " It's not a camera - it's my insulin pump - I'm a diabetic <lol>". He was so impressed by it and asked a few questions - he was going to look into getting one for his Mum who is a diabetic back in Thailand.