Friday, November 21, 2008

Sometimes people suck

Those of you how know me "in real life" know that I test my blood sugar and take my insulin wherever and whenever is convenient. At the table, in the car, at work, wherever. And I've always assumed that every diabetic does this. I remember in elementary school I had to go up to the nurses station to do everything. I even had to keep my supplies there. It was really frustrating and inconvenient. Finally my mom got feisty with the principal and the school board and I was allowed to carry my supplies with me and do whatever I needed to do, wherever I needed to do it.

I'm still pretty free about it. If I'm around someone new, I'll ask if they mind if I take a shot in front of them since some people are squeamish, I do try to be sensitive but truthfully, I don't much care. Most people, even if they are squeamish. just offer to look away rather than ask me to leave their presence. I appreciate that. I mean, really, it's my life. I'm the one taking the shot and it's what I have to do to eat. So why can't I do it at the table? I'm not sitting there wiping blood all over the place. It's quick, it's subtle, it's clean.

In the last few years, I've had people tell me I was gross. Sometimes to my face, sometimes through a mediator, I've been asked to change to make others around me comfortable. I've even had people talk about me behind my back. Saying that I was being rude and disgusting and that I should go someplace private so no one has to see it.
Ouch. That hurt. I always assumed people were understanding. That they saw someone with a disease who had to take care of themselves. I mean, why would anyone begrudge me that. Now I wonder how many people have said things like this about me that I never knew about.

That crap pisses me off. It's part of my life. It's not fun. I don't get a kick out of grossing people out. This is what I do to
live. Why should I have to hide it to make someone else feel better? And if I'm the one sitting here living with this sucky disease, don't I at least deserve the convenience of treating it where, when and how I want? Besides, sterile syringes in a public restroom? Yuck.

So I will continue to be blatant with my diabetes. I will wave my syringes proudly. :-) Also, I must say, it's a great way to get ahold of a waitress in a restaurant. I've waited forever for a refill or made eyes at every server in the place and been completely ignored. But the second I pull out my needles and insulin and get ready to shoot up and sure enough, that's when a server walks over. Figures.

Speaking of rude insensitive people, I found a hysterical post about "diabetes etiquette." Apparently someone has gone out of their way to create a wallet-size card that outlines the appropriate behavior when interacting with someone who has diabetes. Now (as evidenced by the above rant) I have definitely run into my fair share of rude, hurtful, and/or downright ignorant comments from people who are completely and utterly unfamiliar with diabetes. That being said I would never pass these little babies around but they do give me great amusement. :-) For everyone's edification I will go ahead and lay out the rules of diabetes etiquette below. Everyone out there feel free to take a cue from these and be aware that yes, people do say/do those things.


1) DON’T offer unsolicited advice about my eating or other aspects of diabetes.

2) DO realize and appreciate that diabetes is hard work.

3) DON’T tell me horror stories about your grandmother or other people with diabetes you have heard about.

4) DO offer to join me in making healthy lifestyle changes.

5) DON’T look so horrified when I check my blood sugars or give myself and injection.

6) DO ask how you might be helpful.

7) DON’T offer thoughtless reassurances {i.e. “it could be worse, you could have cancer!}

8) DO be supportive of my efforts for self-care.

9) DON’T peek at or comment on my blood glucose numbers without asking me first.

10) DO offer your love and encouragement.

They missed the one about "If your loved one has diabetes and is in a foul mood, DON'T ask them to check their blood sugar. It is their right to be cranky, dammit."

Sarcastically yours,


  1. I've always been very open with my diabetes. Including "shooting-up" right at the table. I did have some people in college comment, but I didn't really care. I figure if they lived my life for a week, they'd be singing a different tune.
    It's easier for me now, with the pump. But I still don't really care what others think.
    So we can just go on not caring what others think together. :)

  2. I'm open with it too. As a matter of fact, I've been told I've occasionally been waving a filled syringe around like a cigarette while talking (I really can't shoot up and talk at the same time..painful things happen). But I've dealt with quite a few comments and such, especially at work, and they tend to come out of nowhere 99% of the time. All my close friends & family are used to it, and my boyfriend's best friend has had diabetes all his life, so it isn't like the boy has a problem with it. I think that gives me a sense of security about public injections and such that maybe I shouldn't have..

    It's frustrating trying to explain to people that I have to do this, I have no choice -- even my managers are big a**holes about it. Breastfeeding kind of weirds me out, but I don't storm up to a woman feeding her child and demand she take it elsewhere. A) It's rude; B) It's illegal. Most everyone else wouldn't either. I wish that same understanding applied to diabetics and the things we have to do to live, breath, and eat.

    I'm never going to stop doing what I need to do to survive just because it's making people uncomfortable. I can be understanding, but not at the risk of my own health. Like the boy says, they can look away.

  3. I have those etiquette things printed out and on my fridge, so true!

    I used to get a few weird looks when I was on MDI, it was annoying (& sometimes infuriating), but I still got on with what I needed to do - bcos hey, I need to do it to survive! It's not all that hard for people to look away if they aren't comfortable with it...

    Now that I am on the pump there is a whole new level of arrogance to deal with... like lecturers & tutors at university who glare at me when I have to get it out in class... or customers at work who think I am getting my mobile phone out, aargh! My pump ran out of batteries suddenly while I was on registers last week... boy that was fun... we were understaffed and really busy so there were no breaks in customers for a good half an hour and the supervisors werent answering our PA calls for them, so yeah... good times! Eventually there was a break in customers and I got it out to quickly change the battery and got a rude b!tch glaring at me and saying "are you open or what?" and looking at my pump... I shot her down with a "I'm open, but I just need to finish changing the battery in this device as it is currently keeping me alive and without it I won't be able to serve anyone!" haha... she shut up after that...

    Anyway... I'm not on injections anymore, but I couldn't resist getting this shirt for its pure genius... love it!