Unbelievable! Miss Manners says: never test blood glucose in public. Go to the bathroom on the airplane instead of doing it discretely at your seat. I say, Boycott Miss Manners! Scroll down to bottom and see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/miss-manners-future-g...

Tags: bg, blood, etiquette, manners, test, testing

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Miss Manners, well, doesn't have any.

"Miss Manners??" What is this, 1959? Ok, sarcasm aside: I think most people on this forum will say, "I test my bg where and when I want, and won't go into a dirty bathroom". I basically agree and do the same, though I try and be discreet. But I do have some ambivalent feelings. I did HIV and Hepc education for a couple years and I am aware that HepC can live in dried blood for up to 14 days. So I generally believe in "universal precautions" - assume someone may have a blood borne pathogen and avoid contact with other people's blood. (It horrified me when I got lab work in Guatemala and they didn't wear gloves!). This is a legitimate concern, but ironically not one the manner policelady mentions.

On the topic of educating children: My 6 year old great-niece saw me test my blood and asked me what I was doing. I explained (briefly) that I had something called diabetes which meant I had to test my blood sugar and then if it was too high "take some medicine" (I use a meter remote so testing is often combined with bolusing in one action). She absorbed this info and then asked, "what about if it's too low?" Wow!

Good points, Zoe. As I'm sure you'll agree, though, there is "precaution" and there is "hysteria".

People scrape, nick, and cut themselves all the time at work, play, home, whatever. In public with other people around. No one freaks out, jumps back from the person, tells everyone to stay away, calls Hazmat, and treats the person like they have the plague or something.

We seem to be able to deal with ordinary, routine appearances of tiny amounts of blood in the properly sane way it should be dealt with: Wash up with soap and water, dry with a clean towel, a little neosporin and a band-aid. Back to work/play.

Why my much more sanitary, controlled, microscopic drop of finger-stick blood should be treated as if railcar of chlorine just busted open in the restaurant is nuts.

You nailed exactly: "I test my bg where and when I want, and won't go into a dirty bathroom". Or even a swanky clean bathroom with those towel-guys. Put simply, I test were I am. Period.

That's a bit of an odd way to answer that question... considering that the majority of public restrooms are not sanitary. That's like asking someone who needs to pray before they eat to do it in the washroom, out of sight out of mind.

I don't go out of my way to find hidden spots to test, but I still try to do it as discreetly as possible... to avoid having to answer questions more than anything. I don't hide that I'm diabetic, but I also don't broadcast it. I can only take explaining myself to complete stranger so many times before I'll lose it! :)

I usually try to avoid reading comments to things like this, but I read the ones associated with this post, and they are quite refreshing! Almost everyone disagrees with "Miss Manners," and of those who agree, a fair number backtrack once several people point out the nature of Type 1 (10+ tests per day, can drop low, must test before eating, etc.). Many people just don't realize the amount of monitoring that goes into Type 1.

Jen - your comment made me go read some of the comments on MissManners' article. It's nice to see some of the comments like:

"For any diabetics sitting next to me on a a plane: Do whatever you need to. If you can do it without disarranging your clothes, I'd appreciate it, but if you can't, I'll cope."

"I know. I hate the idea of someone going to the bathroom in an airplane to inject. It's cleaner in the seat. Go ahead and inject where you are."

"... Take the blood test. If someone has a problem, tell them it's a medical test. If they have a problem, they are free to write a letter to their congressperson demanding minimum space and more restrooms on airplanes, otherwise, MYOB."

Love it!

The comments on this article are like the best ones I've read about diabetes in a comment on an article I'm gonna have to agree! :D 

No point in repeating the brilliant responses already here. Just one tiny thing . . .

"Miss Manners does not object to a pill taken at dinner." Wow, how modern of her! Always warms my heart to see someone display this kind of adaptability. "Noblesse oblige" is the phrase that comes to mind.

I'm one of those people who test in the bathroom. I hate it, but I also prefer to thoroughly wash my hands before testing because I don't know what's on my hands.  But if you don't do that, who cares? I know other diabetes who test where they want to and don't go to the bathroom  and it's okay to do that!  What she ignores is that IT COULD be an emergency. If someone's shaking and feeling a severe hypo coming on, they don't have time to run to the bathroom they need to test NOW and get some glucose in them NOW or the frequent testing that is likely needed for people with hypoglycemia unawareness where that can be an emergency too. It just is a part of what we have to deal with as diabetics: People don't realize that even our blood sugar tests can be a sign of an emergency because this is a serious life threatening disease. Like I hate hate to be a downer but that is the most hard to take in fact that comes with diabetes. Like other people around us can't always SEE that it is an emergency or a problem until we test and either curse a lot or start looking for sugar sources or pass out even. 

Like not allowing diabetics to test in public because it's "rude" and "bad" not only is like the most mild version of ignorance, but also COULD be bad for a child to read while they're shaping manners?  I mean I could be off my rocker for this whole post but do you get what I mean? 

Even my close friends and family have no idea how many "close calls" I have that could easily become emergencies if I didn't keep on top of them. I can go from feeling fine to feeling on the verge of passing out in a matter of minutes, and I don't even have hypoglycemic unawareness (I do have pretty variable BG, though).

Dealing with one now at work, in fact; my blood sugar has been very high for the past 24 hours despite large corrections and increasing my pump settings. I'm suspecting some sort of pump issue, or else maybe the insulin I'm using has lost potency. But if I hadn't been testing and correcting frequently I think I'd be in trouble by now.

Wow. I usually enjoy reading Miss Manners' column, but she definitely needs some education on this one. As someone who tests 10 plus times per day, I have to say I have tested in most public situations. I do my best to be discreet, but I really don't want to delay treating a low because someone may be offended. And I don't want to just guess and treat, only to learn later that my BG is really high. As for planes, I often test in my seat. Much better than the alternative of disturbing my seatmates to stand, waiting in line at the back of the plane for my turn, and trying to test in a space that is not much more roomy than my original seat. Not at all sure how my seatmates might come in contact with my blood, and they can turn their head of they wish.

Several years ago, a person was arrested on a Washington Metro train for checking his blood glucose. I was speechless. If the BG reading got really low and medical attention was required the system would be down for hours, trains double tracking...A little test can save that misery and cost... I wrote letter to the POST for weeks.

However, I understand Zoe's comment about HIV and HEPC, and some people are afraid.

And Zoe--my granddaughter always seems to find my low BG treatment (usually Skittles.) She tells me that my beeper is just like Daddy's Her mom does not allow candy, so I tell her it my special medicine candy. OK, Grandma, and she is happy with the answer.

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