Checking blood sugar in public

I always check my blood sugar in public when I'm in public. I aim to be discreet (sort of ;-) and not throw it in anyone's face but I don't hide it either. In fact, I love checking in public because I consider it a "teachable moment" and actually hope someone will ask what I'm doing. I haven't had anyone criticize me for it. Besides balancing your goods and trying to check in a dimly lit ladies room is in my book not ideal.

At least that shows some interest in it... I think I'd want this over the strange looks I sometimes get when I test in public. :)

I am so sorry. It is attitudes like that which make some of us feel like there's really something wrong with us. I have to admit that encounters with people like that have made me MORE self-conscious over the years than I probably need to be.

Bottom line is that you (and your son) are not doing anything in wrong. We all have a medical condition that requires intensive monitoring and vigilance in order to stay healthy (and conscious). I try ("try" being the operative word here) to explain this as calmly as possible. I try to remember to remind people that if they don't have to do this, they should feel very fortunate, because it's no fun for me. If someone mentions the "bathroom," I ask them if they would like to perform medical procedures on themselves in an unsanitary, cramped stall. Usually, this makes them shut up pretty fast.

I agree. I had a friend in high school that I hung out with regularly who was extremely bothered by the sight of blood and needles. So anytime I was about to check or give a shot, I would just let her know, and she would look away until I was done. Being uncomfortable with it, and passing out from the sight of it are two very different things.

Hi My BustedP,

Your point about a bathroom being unsanitary is A GREAT one!!! I never even though of that.

Nevermind that once while trying to inject myself in a bathroom stall, my insulin pen which was balancing on one of those round toilet paper plastic contraptions, slipped off and broke. I actually had a spare one with me since I was on vacation.

Now I actually go into a handicapped stall when there is a baby diaper changing station, pull down the station, put down a ton of paper since it is not exactly sanitary either and prepare my injection for me or my son on it.

HOWEVER, I have never excused myself to go to the washroom to check my blood sugar. I am discreet by doing it on my lap under the table but when it comes to my son checking, I DON"T CARE!!!

Like RIVA (see above) I actually want people to see so they can see that there is a diabetic amongst them (if they even realize it) and hope it gets them thinking especially in a restaurant :-)

If it's only this particular person who is squimish about this, she might have some kind of phobia or denial. I'm not a psychologist, but usually this kind of reaction is generated by a type of fear. It's wonderful that you have no inhibitions about checking your BG in public, because it is a natural part of who you are living with diabetes. Whatever the source of the family member's discomfort, be gracious, and put yourself between the person and your child and check his blood sugar. If you want to say something along the lines that I'm sorry this bothers you, but it's important that this be done. Main point is you don't want to get you or your child riled isn't worth it because it isn't your problem. By the way, love your photo!

I also test anytime I need. I try to be discrete by leaving the meter on my lap. Most people really don't notice. In a group situation, what are the chances that anyone will be looking at me?

I think it's also important that your son doesn't associate having diabetes with any sort of shame. Because people who have that association tend to (I think) take less care of their diabetes, which is obviously not a good thing.

I agree with everyone that people complaining about this are the ones who are out of line. I also had medical advice from my friend, a psychiatrist (MD) who was visiting for dinner when my other friend, who had type G, said "I guess I should go to the bathroom (by the shelf with my copy of 'Think Like a Pancreas' on it" and I said "hell no" or something pompous and the MD agreed that the bathroom is not a good place to test blood, however small the sample?

Thanks to everyone for their input.

While I certainly do not flaunt when I test mine/my son's blood sugar, I never felt we needed to hide what we were doing.

My son (who is 10) already feels very self-conscious about checking his sugar eventhough I have always been very open with my diabetes (he was diagnosed at age 8 in 2010 so it is newer for him). I want to encourage him so not to feel self-conscious about checking his sugar especially when low.

Thanks again to everyone!!!

1 Like

One suggestion: If your meter beeps, turn the beeps off. That's always the first thing I do when I get a new meter. Insulin pumps too: step one is turn off the beeps and put it in vibrate mode.

I check my blood sugar wherever, whenever i want. Its part of who I am and people are just going to have to accept that. Im not going to cater to other peoples needs and go in private to check my blood sugar just for their own comfort.

A couple of times in restaurants I would also receive looks from people around me or even the waitresses and at times told them straight up that I am a type 1 diabetic and its very important for me to check my blood sugars regularly throughout the day.

Along with checking my blood sugars in public I personally get A LOT of looks about my insulin pump. I wear it 24/7, to the pool, sports events, working out and its really surprises me the amount of times people ask me to remove my mp3 or they ask why im wearing a pager swimming. Personally I think people need to become better educated in what being diabetic means and the constant duties it takes to stay in range and have good control of their diabetes

I look at it like this: Testing and taking insulin is something I need to do to stay alive. Breathing is something people need to do to stay alive too. I should be able to test and take shots wherever anyone is allowed to breathe. :)

1 Like

They are not just breathing, their pancreases are testing and injecting, all in public! So we can, too.


I agree with what has been said in these posts. Here's a humorous way to make out of line people look stupid:

The putdown. Remember the movie "When Harry Met Sally"? The scene in the time you get that bad stare or comment, here's what you do: Test your sugar or inject. Then quietly say Ow! and Oh! Give me that napkin so I can wipe up all of this blood. You have the paramedics' number on your cellphone, dear? I'm feeling faint!

Have fun with it, Jodil..........

I agree with you. One of my coworkers has a sister who is diabetic. She told me that seeing the things I do to take care of myself made her realize that her sister is not doing what she needs to do - and her sister works in a hospital.

My mother-in-law was (she's deceased) the same way - caring too much what others think about everything, always wanting to put on a show of perfection...but life is not perfect. Funny thing is that the older I get, the less I care about appearances and what others think.

I do the same. Just like TV, if ya don't like the program change the channel.

I have one better...FRIENDS ask us all the time if my son will "outgrow" his diabetes!!! Imagine that, knowing my father, brother, myself and my son are all Type 1 and we still get asked ignorant questions!!! Unfortunately, I do believe the public is more aware of Type2 diabetes than Type 1 since it is more prevalent .

I get lectured from my mother/sister in law that a diabetic SHOULD NOT be eating chocolate and how can I feed that to my son..."We never heard of such a thing, giving chocolate to a diabetic". Maybe I should just feed him bread and water like prisoners...He is a kid and we work with the dietician but still get all kinds of advice. DId I mention the irony is mother in law is a Type 2 diabetic herself and DOES NOT watch what she eats nor does she even check her blood sugars as she is afraid of pricking her finger yet my son does it 10x/day!!!

Even family and friends are ignorant!!!


I have encountered such issues - once when taking an injection in the restroom of a restaurant I was accused of being a "drug addict" and was nearly thrown out of the restaurant! Another time I was told I "had a lot of nerve" doing that where other people can see me (I was testing my blood sugars!) - I can tell you, I'd rather see someone testing their blood sugars/taking an injection than a lot of other things I see on a daily basis!!

I am sorry to hear that your husband's family is being that way - I think that is awful, especially for your son - how unfair, but really not all that surprising (to me); however, my entire family refuses to acknowledge my diabetes or ANYTHING to do with it.

I would not be able to hold my tongue against such a person. And I agree, it is unbelievable behaviour.

Personally, I would like to thank you for your post - I posted a similar discussion today - it helped me.


1 Like