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I'm a fairly new Type 1 Diabetic, and just started taking a college yoga class. When I have to check my glucose level, I feel a little worried as to what people will think about me. I'm fine checking it at work..etc, but checking it in a room full of strangers makes me feel uncomfortable. Should I just not care what people think?
OK, true story. When I first started using Novolog pens, I was at a restaurant that had "family style" seating. So I was seated at a six-top with a family of four (total strangers.) I wanted to test and bolus before I ate, so I set my backpack in my lap and proceeded to test and bolus and jog everything down in my little notebook. About a half-hour later I asked them, "Excuse me. I'm new to using insulin and I wonder if you'd help me out? A few minutes ago I tested my blood sugar and gave myself an injection. Did any of you notice? Did it gross you out?" Only one person out of the four noticed me testing (she heard the clicker) and no one noticed me giving myself the injection. They very graciously helped my confirm what I suspected -- most of the time, people around us are focused on their own business and not on us. We feel particularly visible/noticeable when we test/bolus but they're thinking about their own stuff and not about us, for the most part.
I used to care. My first time through college (I'm going back in Sep), I never checked in class - I'd go to the bathroom to do it. Once in a while I'd do it in the food court at the student union, but only if sitting with friends.
This time around I don't think I'll give a crap! I'll do it when and where I need to. I actually ran into a lot of other diabetics in my classes in the past - who injected, who wore pumps, etc. So I know I'm not alone (granted, at a University of 40,000 students) and I'm overall just less 'shy' about it now. I test in restaurants and stuff now anyway.
I guess I just view it as something I have to do, and if other people have a problem with it THEY don't have to look! :)
I check whenever and wherever. Most people don't notice and the few who notice and are bothered can be dealt with on a case by case basis. They can always look away. You can't borrow a functioning pancreas.
I test in public all the time, you gotta do what you gotta do!
I sometimes test in public, and sometimes don't. Whenever this topic comes up I'm always somewhat bemused that when someone says they don't like testing in public, they are accused of being "ashamed of their diabetes". I think this is an unwarranted assumption because some people are just more "private" than others. I also think at different stages of our living with D (as well as different stages in our lives) we may go through changes on this issue.
For me, it was a revelation the day I met my first other Type 1 friend for lunch and I watched as she tested in the big open eating area. Nobody was paying any attention at all. (In general I find that I myself watch people a lot more than other people do - they are more absorbed in their own conversations, smart phones, etc - maybe everyone people watches they are just more subtle! Anyway that was interesting to me how little anyone noticed.
Nowadays I will sometimes test in public if I have the need, especially when I'm alone. If I'm meeting someone for lunch I will usually test in the car before I walk in. Since I'm on the pump now the rest of the action is just "button pushing" and who isn't sitting around pushing buttons these days?
But I do think this, like many D related issues, is a personal preference.
Now confession: Before I was diagnosed, I used to give educational talks on Hepatitis C, in which among facts I shared was the idea of universal precautions (that anyone can be carrying the hepc as well as the hiv virus. Also, that in the case of HepC, the virus can live in a dried drop of blood for up to 14 days. In light of my role in this educational material, I was out for lunch with a coworker with diabetes and when she took out her meter to test I was horrified that she could be exposing blood in a restaurant. (Didn't know that judgement would come back to haunt me!)
I am a very private person, so I tend to try to keep my testing slightly hidden. It's not that I'm embarrassed, just that I don't feel like everyone needs to see it. When I was using needles, I always went into the bathroom to do it when eating in public. That was mainly because needles freak me out (diagnosed at 21mos old, and you'd think I'd have overcome that by now, but it seems to be getting worse with age), so I need to take a whole bunch of deep breaths and close my eyes when I give one.
With that said, I think diabetes now is SO common, that most people have seen someone test before, so it's not a shocker to anyone.
I think you're right about more people knowing about diabetes and testing. I was at a potluck at someone's house and went from the dining room where everyone was gathered into the living room to test. The teenaged daughter and her two friends were running around and as they sprinted into the room I was in, one grabbed the others arm to stop her from running into me saying, "she's doing her diabetes thing".
I don't apologize for the things that keep me healthy. I am respectful that others don't like the sight of blood, etc. But, too, TYPICALLY I don't invite their eyes over to my dinner table. I can do it discreetly (not waving my meter around or saying "OH, I GUESS I NEED TO CHECK MY GLUCOSE NOW....") LOL... So if they are looking at me then it is of their own free will. I also don't look around to see WHO is looking at me. I figure if someone is not bold enough to ask me what I'm doing then I won't be the information queen and give them my explanation.
In time, you'll develop your own "style" because after I was first diagnosed I would excuse myself to the restroom for shots. I thought, not anymore! The only time I excuse myself now is if I have to do it in my arm or I can't reach my abdomen due to wearing a dress or tights.
If I'm on a train or subway close to lots of people I will just test inside my purse. Most of the time people are too busy talking on their phones to notice you or what you are doing. I will test in restaurants - I'll just put my tester on my lap and test. I even inject at the table. But the issue for me is that I've had this for so long (28 years and I'm 34 now) that if I feel I need to test in public that means I'll probably have to inject or eat in public too.
In 28 years and with all the places I've lived in the world not once did someone question me, comment or even take notic. I used to eat lunch with this one guy I had a class with for a year - it wasn't until I was at his house and said "oh I should do my needle before dinner" that he even knew I was diabetic. I had been testing and injecting in front of him for 8 months and he never noticed.
Trust me people are too caught up in their world to notice what you are doing. Test away!!
Ah heck - most people are so wrapped up in themselves they barely notice what's going on a few inches away. I rarely have anyone seem to notice - whether it's at yoga, tai chi, zumba or on the treadmill at the Y.If people stare, let them. If they ask questions, maybe they're really interested.
Once I was putting a syringe in a sharps container in a public bathroom. A lady them said she always wondered what the box on the wall was for and we had a nice chat about it.
Things are what they are. Several years ago I was taking an injection while riding public transportation. A fellow asked if I was injecting heroin. I said, "yes, and it's really good stuff". He then confessed he was dealing with multiple addictions and said we should "stick together". Fortunately my stop came up before his and we never crossed paths again.
I test and give myself insulin either by pen or through my pump all the time. I don't care what people think. I've had diabetes for a while now and the novelty's completely worn off. I just do what I have to do.