Monday, February 24, 2014

Miss Manners

I am sure many of you now have heard about Miss Manners recent advice that diabetics should not check their blood sugar in public. If you haven’t here are the cliff notes. A reader sent in a question about whether or not it was rude to check her blood sugars while on an airplane. Miss Manners lovely response was that it should be done in private. And well the diabetes world has a lot to say about her advice.

Checking your blood sugars is a HUGE part of diabetes management. Even with the increase in technology we are still obligated to do so on daily basis. I understand that the tiny drop of blood that is over in a split second is gross to some. And I apologize if I have ever offended anyone, but I check my numbers 4-6 times a day, it takes me a few seconds and then all the evidence is gone and out of sight. In most cases when an awkward look comes from an adult or a child asks what I am doing (as mentioned in the readers original question), I am happy to educate someone about living with Type 1. I look at it as a great conversation piece, and hope that by the end of that flight, even if you are still bothered by it, you will understand the reasoning behind it a little more.

I understand if you have the same feelings as Miss Manners about diabetics doing this act in private. And honestly I believe you have the right to feel that way. But living with diabetes and understanding the frustrations that come with diabetes management I understand the other side of this issue as well. Sometimes you need to check your numbers ASAP and sometimes you can’t just excuse yourself politely to do so. If it came down to the chance of a possible seizure producing low, or a number so high my last meal was bound to be projectile vomited, I wouldn’t excuse myself, but rather take care of it as soon as I was able to make sure that the worst doesn’t happen. But I get it, that small drop of blood may be considered worse for you over my vomit or drool.

Miss Manners has the right to her opinion on the subject. And a huge part of me feels outraged about it, but then the other small part of me pities her a little. She honestly gave an uneducated (one sided) answer on the topic and unfortunately is now dealing with the backlash of that. Speaking as a diabetic I wish she could understand why we are all upset, but unfortunately I don’t think she ever will and I find that sad.

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