I like performing my diabetes tasks in public. You know why? Because I’m always hoping that someone watching will have diabetes or know someone with diabetes and they will smile and think to themselves, There’s someone out there just like me.
Miss Manners doesn’t think this. Miss Manners thinks that performing such medical tasks like testing blood sugar or taking an injection is impolite. It might offend or disgust someone. They might be afraid of needles or get queasy at the sight of blood. Well, I sympathize, because I don’t like either of those things myself! But some people in this world do what they need to do. I’m not a huge fan of crying babies or children who kick the back of your seat, but you don’t see me petitioning the airline to create no-baby planes, do you? Do you know why?
Because it would be completely ridiculous.
Miss Manners thinks that we should hide ourselves away from the poor, unsuspecting eyes of people who don’t want to see what we’re doing. But what about the people who do want to see what we’re doing? What about the people who are going to go home feeling a little less alone because they spotted someone pricking their finger at the food court or bolusing from their insulin pump? I literally get giddy when I see another PWD “in the wild.”
On a recent flight, I realized that my recent insulin pod change might have not gone very well. I woke up from a nap with cotton balls stuffed in my mouth. So I brought out my glucose meter and did a quick check. I’m not sure if my neighbor even saw the tiniest drop of blood on my pinky, but she did see the meter and she recognized what I was doing. Because her friend’s daughter has type 1 diabetes.
This led us into a lovely conversation about growing up with diabetes, what it’s like to be on an insulin pump, and an upcoming JDRF research conference in her area that she texted her friend about as soon as we landed. If I hadn’t tested my blood sugar in public, I would have missed a wonderful opportunity to spread some diabetes advocacy and education.
I would rather ignore Miss Manners than miss an opportunity to connect, educate, and inspire.