Public testing/iinjecting

So, hi, I guess. I was diagnosed a little over a month ago (I DKAed the morning before I graduated from college, so: fun), and lurking this forum has been very helpful in this stage, so I wondered if you guys could help me with an issue.

I’ve seen several comments here about public testing, fewer about public injecting but that’s also an issue for me (I’m on the pens). The comments have seemed to be supportive of it, but I have some problems with it. Hangups, maybe. Anyway, I think the central issue I have is not whether I should be able to do it or not, but more along the lines of whether it’s something I really have a right to subject others to. It’s one thing if it’s an immediately life-saving procedure, but if I have the opportunity to find a bathroom, why not use it? I know a lot of people who get freaked out by blood, and as a product of modern American sex-ed classes I completely understand. Furthermore, I think that there’s something private about any medical procedure, let alone one that involves bodily fluids or injections. It also just seems kind of in-your-face and confrontational to force other people to deal with my stuff. Maybe that just gets at my general uncomfortableness with how much I’m going to allow diabetes to define me as a person. On the one hand, it is something that would been the immediate cause of my death ninety years ago and will in all likelihood be a factor in whatever kills me, on the other hand it’s a stupid confluence of unfortunate events and weird Mendelian chance. So yeah, don’t really want to make that my issue.

So, any thoughts? Helpful advice? Sanitation concerns? Have I just not had this long enough?

I’m actually glad I get to post first, because you are going to get barraged with what I call “Diabetes Pride” posts. People who think if you post in a “dirty nasty bathroom” (like the restaurant itself has no germs! you must be doing it because you are “ashamed of your diabetes”. For awhile after my diagnosis I tested and used my pens for injection in the bathroom. Not because I was ashamed of diabetes (I’d gladly talk about it…more than most people wanted to know!) but because of all the reasons you said: I gave lectures in my job on Universal Precautions, I’m a private person by nature, and I have no desire to make others uncomfortable. One day I had lunch with my first other Type 1 and she took out her meter and tested. I looked around the crowded cafe and was surprised to realize that absolutely nobody was paying a bit of attention. They were absorbed in their own food, conversations, cell phones. (Who bothers noticing real humans around them these days anyway?). I’m now on the pump, so the only thing personal I do is test. I now test in my lap where nobody can see anyway and then push my buttons on my meter remote all in one action. But it’s not because I “got over my shame”. It just seems easier and ok now FOR ME. So that’s my bottom line response is, we are all different, and we may feel differently at different times. Do what’s comfortable for you.

Greetings! I was diagnosed with T2 about four months ago, and I know just how you feel! I am still very self-conscious about testing in public. The first time I had to test at work was really uncomfortable, but I am privileged to work with awesome people, and some of my best friends. No one there makes a big deal about it, and sometimes even ask what my numbers are, how I’m feeling, and congratulate me on good readings. I actually felt more comfortable testing at my desk where only a small number of people could see rather than in the bathroom, where anyone in the department could bust in on me. There have been a few other situations that required me to test in public, and I can honestly say I’m kinda getting used to it. It just becomes something you have to do. I still prefer to bet at my desk, car, or at home, but you do what you have to do. Also, to echo what Zoe said, it really does seem like nobody really pays attention. The only time I’ve had someone comment is curious friends, and one friend that was squeamish around blood. She was alarmed at seeing it the first time, but now doesn’t think twice when I pull out my lancet. Give it time, and just do what’s comfortable for you.

Well the way you feel is something I never even thought about. I have always tested and injected in public for the last 6 years. Never gave it any mind at all. Like the others above no one pays attention to it anyway, and if they don’t like it don’t look. The way I see it is there is no reason to go out of your way or feel “bad” about what your doing for the sake of others. You’re just doing what is required to live! (which by the way this is your life now) So you probably just need some time. It takes some getting used to but before long you’ll realize that it’s just something you have to do. Don’t worry about others in the day and time we live in now everyone wants to not offend anyone. Well not everyone likes everything and when it comes to something as serious as your health. SCREW EM!!! Good luck and don’t sweat the small stuff!

If I am going out to eat I just usually test in my lap. If we are in a booth and I am closer to the wall, then I will do my injection, if not I will excuse myself to use the restroom. No shame, just need a little privacy.

At first I tested/injected in the bathroom. Then I started asking if anyone at the table minded if I did it there. Then… I realized that I need to do what I need to do for me. Now, if I’m with new people,I say something like if you’re uncomfortable with me testing avert your eyes. I do test in my lap. Focus on me instead of everyone else. I have a pump now so it’s way easier!

What YOU should do is what’s comfortable for YOU. No right or wrong.

I think that over time you will find your place. Some of it will be how you come to terms with your D’Identity (your Diabetes Identity). Do you let those around you know that you have diabetes or do you maintain privacy? In my case, if you come into my sphere, then you will sooner or later figure out I have diabetes. So I will test and/or inject wherever I need to. In public, on a train, at a meeting, or during a formal business lunch. Yes, even my “customers” at work fall into my sphere and may notice that I test and inject. And I choose to test and inject safely, so I prefer not testing or injecting in bathrooms or dark stinky alleys. I try to be discrete, I will often do it under the table and many people don’t notice.

In the end, you will figure out your D’Identity and with that will come your comfortable place to test and inject.

When I was first diagnosed, I was very shy about testing and dosing at the table or in public and I took shots in some nasty restrooms. But after a bit, I took notice of the fact that most people don’t notice and of those who notice most don’t care. What you’re doing really isn’t that important to them. Now I test wherever I am - even if front of clients and potential clients. I’ll say excuse me and test in one motion. I’m pumping so dosing isn’t a problem except when people think I’m using a cell phone at the table which really is rude.


Shooting up or testing is important to you and me. But that doesn’t mean it has to be a big deal with us raising our hands and shouting and whooping “Look at me! I’m shooting up!” while jumping up and down.

It is perfectly possible to check bg or shoot up while walking down the street, riding the bus, going up an escalator, sitting in a meeting and have nobody notice. I’m not saying that we have to hide it while doing it, just that we can do it perfectly smoothly and straightforwardly and not have a problem.

I don’t write the above as hypothetical. Check my bg in a meeting? Sure. Shoot up on the train? While walking down K Street? Yep. No problems.

It’s 100% up to you and you should do what you’re comfortable with, but don’t for a second think you have some obligation to recuse yourself. It’s no one’s business but your own and other people’s totally unjustified nosiness is their concern.

That said, those with “blood issues” usually do ok if you ask them to look away for a sec or do it under the table.

I have always tested and injected in public. Not because I want to provoke but because I think it is important to seamlessly incooperate diabetes in my daily life. The more normal it is to follow my diabetic instincts the more normal I can handle very challenging situations. In my profession I sometimes have to speak to a bigger audience. Unfortunatly diabetes has a tendency to call for attention in these situations. So of course it has happened that I had a low in the middle of it. I came to the conclusion that it would undermine my competence to excuse myself to the bathroom just 10 min after starting my speech. Thus I decided to chew some glucose tabs publicly - it is quite a task to speak and chew this dusty stuff. I just said that I need to stabilize my blood sugar and moved on. I think the audience did not understand the significance but they understood my natural way of handling the situation. This is why I think we should learn to incooperate the things that are necessary for us in our daily lifes. Same is true for a dinner with a customer: that is me - you can only get the whole package. We are just people with normal lifes that happen to have diabetes. The world will not stop for us so we have to find our way to adjust. I think the question about injecting in public is also a question about the acceptance of our condition. Of course you can choose to be very private about your condition. But this just remembers me of a bird with a broken wing that mimics his normal behaviour to pretent he is fine. But this is not our situation. We can have a full life - unfortunatly with all the ordinary problems people have. After having T1 for more than 20 years this became my new normalcy and I have no need to hide it. This all takes time and needs to settle - you are just diagnosed and likely still shocked about it. Maybe this video can be helpful for acceptance but quite likely it is just too soon.

it should really be all personal preference and how you feel you are projecting yourself upon others… i personally could care less if people have a problem because i feel as if they still have a choice on wether to look away, disasocciate themselves, or just keep minding their own business. i personally don’t feel it anyone’s concern and by my having to leave where i am at puts me off in a position of less comfort… ie. at a movie, show, dinner, sporting event, party or whtever you choose to do to enjoy life, but the minute you stop doing whatever it is you are leave the area perform any maintainence possible then come back interupt any partners you may have with you to catch you up on what you just missed. when you could have just stayed right there and did everything at once. but really it is all personal preference. this is just mine.

couldn’t have said it better myself. i rarely would inject out in the open and prefer to test as discretely as possible.

I test and check in public ,at first I felt like people were staring but I think that was just me . I have got people looking but oh well I have to do this forever

I was very shy about testing/injecting in public when I was diagnosed 3 years ago. I was also uncomfortable in restrooms, so I actually went to my car to inject if I was eating at a restaurant. I got a pump about 2 months after my diagnosis and by then decided I could discretely test on my lap. Like the others have said, most people never notice or care. I do have one friend with Type 2 who only tests once or twice a day, and she always asks my numbers. I admit I find that a little annoying because as a Type 2 testing infrequently, she does not experience the swings of a Type 1 and does not even see the variability she might if she tested after meals.

I’ve never had much of a problem testing in public, especially with the new faster meters, but injecting was another issue. Believe it or not, I really can’t stand the sight of someone getting an injection, even after 30+ years of MDI. So, for me it has always been an issue of being courteous to those around me. In a more private setting among friends, I would sometimes ask if everyone was okay (almost always yes). In a public place like a restaurant, I’d try to find some privacy (like the bathroom stall), just in case someone else was as squeamish as me. Since switching to a pump, it’s really a non-issue.

I’ve only been doing this for about 3 years–at the beginning I would test and inject before I got inside the restaurant, or excuse myself to go to the bathroom–after I’d given my order and before I was served. Well, after some experiences with late food, I decided that I needed to wait to inject until my food was in front of me and I could see just what/how much I had ordered. And then, because I hate eating cold food (and the process of getting up, going to the bathroom, testing, etc.) I started injecting at the table. I still tend to test on the ride over, mostly because I want to have an idea of what I should be eating before I order.

No one has ever even looked at me while I was injecting–except my family, who know what I’m doing (can I just mention briefly that kids are the most curious people ever). I think that because I’m matter of fact and don’t tend to call attention to it (at restaurants I tend to inject in my left arm, so it’s not necessarily hidden) and because I don’t head to the bathroom as though it was something illegal (I’ve injected in front of policemen–they don’t seem to notice/care either), no one has bothered me about it.

seauton, you have to find your own comfort zone, but I agree with you about being discreet and considerate of others. Some people get squeamish when they see blood and/or injecting, so when I am in a public location, I do my best to respect others. It’s not a matter of shame of having diabetes; it’s a matter of being considerate of others.

I liken a person testing and injecting in public to a woman breastfeeding in public. I think breastfeeding is great for an infant and for the mother, and I support it, but by the same token, some people are uncomfortable seeing it. Instead of a woman breastfeeding her baby in public in such a way that draws attention and is very obvious, the more considerate thing for her to do is to learn to breastfeed in public discreetly. My wife used to breastfeed our children in public, and no one ever knew.

I feel that diabetes testing and injecting should be the same way. Okay, so we have diabetes, but should we stick it in everyone else’s face when we don’t have to do so? I don’t, but that’s just me. I’ve tested in public and seen people turn their heads as I squeezed out a speck of blood. Therefore, I’ve learned not to needlessly put others through that. Diabetes is my deal, not theirs. However, over the years I have learned how to test and inject in public without anyone being able to tell.

That being said, push come to shove, I will test and inject openly if I need to and if I don’t have any other options. Again though, I just try to be as discreet as possible out of consideration of others. The bottom line is that you have to find what works for you and what fits into your comfort zone.

I had this cool fake Louis Vuitton works bag, just big enough for the syringes and insulin bottles. I’d mark the “R” syringe with duct tape which was always very nice to whip out at a bar. I figured “if I’m out, I’m going to spend a lot more money keeping this place open if I’m testing…”

I don’t consider it “Diabetes Pride”…I consider it "No one’s paying attention anyway"
You learn to do it quickly & discreetly. When you start asking people if they mind, that’s when you start drawing attention to yourself and what you’re doing.
In the end, it all boils down to your comfort zone, tho.