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What's Diabetes Like When...


21 February 2006

What's Diabetes Like When...

Today, a colleague who has pharmaceutical marketing experience in diabetes care, asked me a number of legitimate questions about diabetes. One of them was,

“Is it really hard taking injections in front of people? Because many people use this as a reason for not wanting to inject.”

When I was a child and teenager, it definitely had to do with shame. Not so long ago, I remember being in situations (not usually with family or with close friends) when I would give myself a time limit for taking an injection if I felt uncomfortable in front of a particular group i.e., acquaintances, new social group, colleagues, clients etc. Usually it had to do with proximity and privacy when sitting at a dinner table – especially in smart New York bistros. I often worried about other people’s comfort levels more than my own. Before fast acting analogs, in my mind it really went like this…

“OK, entree will arrive in 30 minutes, must excuse myself to bathroom now or I am doomed.”

Today, I just don’t worry. Perhaps it is because we are used to technological gadgets like mobile phones, blackberry devices, ipod et al. And just like anyone who may turn off their phone, check a message or collapse their ipod earplugs to have a conversation, I have no qualms about whipping out my pump or setting my glucose meter on my lap, and performing a quickie blood test and basal in less than 10 seconds. It is just that simple. (Of course the other reason may be that I have had this illness for far too long!)

I think we have come a long way. The complacency factor, however, is a very different story.

More next time.


Blogger Shannon said...

Although Jeff and I are very open about Brendon's diabetes, we felt a bit uncomfortable about injecting Brendon in a restaurant back when he was on shots. Jeff would take him to the bathroom. I began to think "What kind of message are sending Brendon?" Not only did I not want Brendon to feel like what he has is shameful, but by hiding it from the public, we were contributing to society's ignorance toward what goes into managing diabetes.

After that on subsequent trips to restaurants, we would draw up the insulin and would inject him all at the table. I looked around to see if anyone noticed. Sometimes I'd catch people watching, but that's all they'd do. There was no head shaking or whispers. Just curiosity.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Kerri. said...

I'll admit it: I shoot up at the table without thinking about it. And I test my bloodsugar there, too. Always discreetly and with the utmost concern for my fellow diners. There is NO SHAME in our efforts to conquer this disease. None.

And I'm usually classy as hell about it until I ease the tip of my finger into my mouth to suck off the bit of blood remaining from my finger stick. Those moments of vampirism consistantly remind me that not everyone is as comfortable with my regimen as I am. :)

5:32 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I'll admit to being horrible about this. I'll test at the table, but won't inject. This is because mosst of my friends have seen me test before, and are fine with it, but honestly, really none of my friends even know I'm on insulin. I was testing for years with the non-diabetic hypoglycemia before I actually got diabetes, so I was pretty young when I started testing, but just started insulin this year.

My restuarant regimin sucks as a result. I either inject before we leave (right now I'm on R with meals, which works surprisingly well with the gastroparesis, but I digress), or just treat the resulting high when I get home.


Obviously something should change here.

5:44 AM  
Blogger KSC said...

I remember being burst in on in the restroom by on old woman who thought I was shooting up as a teen! I definitely hid my syringes when I was younger. Now that I have a pump, however, I find myself talking about taking insulin much more often, especially with children who ask about why I wear such a huge beeper on my waist. P.S. I love this blog, thanks for writing it!

2:23 AM  
Anonymous Mark said...

I really think we should encourage everyone to inject as and when. I started off, for the first few weeks after diagnosis, hiding away in the bathroom. After a short while I just thought 'Hey, this thing keeps me alive, why should I feel ashamed of that?'. So I stopped being secretive and now I do it where-ever and when-ever I need to. A few people feel uncomfortable, but hey, why I should I let them make both of us feel uncomfortable? I am tactful and can be discreet, but never feel ashamed.

11:40 PM  

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