By: Meagan Esler
Recently, there has been a great deal of discussion on the subject of testing your blood sugar and taking insulin shots in public. A shocking number of people on social networks have commented that their family members don’t want them to test their blood sugar or take their shots in public. They report having to inject in restrooms or even through their clothing to avoid drawing attention or offending their families. One hypersensitive husband even objected when his recently diagnosed wife took a shot in the relative privacy of their car.
Sometimes people resolve this problem by getting a pump, which makes insulin delivery much less noticeable. But insulin pumps are financially out of reach for many, even those with insurance coverage, and a good number of people just prefer injections to a pump.
I used to be among those who hide their diabetes. Hiding was a way of telling myself and others that I thought something was wrong with me. While I was hiding, everyday life was far from happy. I used to take my shot in my car or run to the restroom before going into a restaurant. It was a little like playing Russian roulette because I could never be sure I’d be seated right away and get quick access to carbohydrates. It definitely wasn’t a smart plan of action, but I was younger and willing to do anything to avoid the stares of other patrons as I whipped out my test strips, lancing device, insulin bottle, and syringe. I dreaded looks of pity, expressions of horror, or any attention whatsoever.
Thankfully, my husband, children, friends, and family are more than understanding when I need to test my blood sugar or inject in public. Truthfully, they have no other option because I have made peace with having diabetes, and I simply refuse to hide anymore. I personally take five to six shots a day with a syringe, which is way too many to worry about hiding. I will take my shot anywhere: at my desk at work, at the local coffee shop, and even in a crowded movie theater by the light of my phone. As a person with diabetes, keeping my blood sugar level is more important than being shy.
I have also come to believe that taking a shot in public helps spread awareness about diabetes. It shows people that anyone can have this disease. Of course, I am discreet about taking my shots. I certainly don’t wave the syringe around or make a scene. I simply take my shot and move on with my day.
Accepting diabetes and doing what we need to do to survive shows how strong and resilient we are. We should be nothing but proud!