What would you say to this?

i just need to have a bit of a rant here because there is nowhere else to do it and i dont want to jump down my mothers throat while on holiday with her. though i kind of do…

so im on holiday here with my mom-i live in europe and she lives in the carolinas, a retired registered nurse. last night she had some relatives over for dinner, relatives i know very well, we all get along, it was really so good to see them all. they all know i have t1 and its a non-issue.

so shes got some chips and dip on the counter and id made sure we got some broccoli i could dip into instead of chips (not bolus-worthy in my mind, there was apple pie for dessert). i was standing at the counter where my cousin, aunt and i were all standing and my mother was across from us and said, “oh emily, dont do that here, you could make someone NAUSEOUS”.

REALLY? really?

i was outside just afterwards with my aunt and she asked me what my mother had said, as she couldnt believe it.

my mother was a registered nurse, ffs.

Just to clarify, this was in response to you testing your BG?

i think it was a response to her dipping broccoli and not chips. :frowning: not a cool reply on their part. tell them to “stick it” :slight_smile:

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yes, just to testing my blood sugar(!!!)

I would have said nothing. I would have moved my blood sugar checking away from the counter, the food, and any onlookers. At least they didn’t ask after the result, that would make ME nausous :wink:

This has been kind of a heated topic lately–there was another thread about the whole etiquette around whether you need to go off somewhere to make sure no one sees or just try to be reasonably unobtrusive when testing, etc. That’s all very well, but then there’s also the extra complication here of MOM. My daughter is well into her 30s now, but my wife’s Mom impulse to give unsolicited advice and criticism, particularly in matters of etiquette, is difficult to keep at bay.

If it were me, the thing about this situation that would leave a bit of road-rash is that, for a T1, this stuff gets wired pretty deeply into emotions that outsiders may not get. This stuff is hard enough to deal with and still feel mostly as much as possible normal, something that goes double for younger T1s but I think most of us experience it whatever age we are. Plus after a couple of years of fingersticking all day and injections and all, you get pretty casual about it–it’s just something you do–and it’s also an attitude you almost have to cultivate and work at as a defense against burn out and the realization that you’re going to be doing this for the rest of your life. So getting smacked with “Other people do NOT think what you’re doing is normal! Cut it out!” just feels really grotesquely unfair, like shaming you for something that has already caused you a lot of emotional and physical pain and is totally Not. Your. Fault.

Probably she thought this was no different from any other table-manners admonishment like “don’t use your fingers” but for a T1 it can cut a LOT closer to the bone of who you are and what you’re dealing with. I’d be pissed and not a little hurt too.


Diabetes’ influence on each of us is profound. It ranks right up there with gender. It demands constant attention and can exact huge physical penalties. We persons with diabetes get that. Others not so much.

While I have studied my diabetes in great depth and changed my way of eating and living in large part because of diabetes, I find the social side of diabetes even more daunting. It’s tough to communicate to friends and loved ones the full extent of its impact on our lives. It’s the rare non-diabetic that grasps that.

We all are blind to some realities in life. We can’t and don’t experience all that life contains. Recognizing that, we must graciously allow others, even those close to us, that ignorance.

Having said that, I think that testing blood sugar in front of others is perfectly acceptable in almost all situations. Some people may swoon at the site of blood but the competing equities clearly come down on the side of the person with diabetes. The blood-fearful can simply walk or look away. The diabetic can never escape the metabolic chaos that is diabetes. We wear it like we wear our skin.

Successful coping with diabetes means that we test where we are when we need to. It’s tough when the misunderstanding is with your mom. I hope that you will try to communicate with her how the world looks from your point of view. Maybe this is the opportunity to give her a glimpse of what life is like to be you.

Good luck. I am not so good at the social side of diabetes. In fact my blood glucose is better when I spend most of my time without others. I find social gatherings challenging but still worth the effort because I’m a social animal, too!

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Surprised that it came from your Mom! In Canada we now have a Diabetes Charter that speaks to topics such as this so I do not have to feel “out of place” when testing, etc. (not that I ever did). If interested check it out at the Canadian Diabetes Association website at http://www.diabetes.ca/charter

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Thank you so much for your awesome replies. it was really awful to have come from my mom. i didnt say anything when she said it-part too gobsmacked, part not wanting to ruin our dinner/make people feel uncomfortable.

i did tell her later and she tried to defend herself, which is ridiculous, in my opinion. this morning she said she was sorry. you guys are right, non-ds dont often share our diabetes worldview. the need to feel normal runs deep. ill soon be back to spain, where everyone who knows me has only known me with d. they are way more tuned in than my mom, who has not lived with t1- lucky her. :wink:


Your mom was wrong, I’m glad she apologized and clearly she was speaking for herself about her opinion of how they would feel and not for the others there since your aunt agreed with you. Unless someone passes out from the sight of blood there is no reason to move away etc. even then they can move or look away. I have become squeamish myself when I have blood drawn and I just turn my head, it works perfectly. I test in public and at home all the time, while I’m careful not to do it right next to someone else most of the time just in case that 1 in a million thing happens and I spill blood on them or something I don’t try to conceal. I have never had anyone say anything to me about it, not once as a complaint, except for a nurse in a doctors office who asked what my bg was, lol, and someone in a mall who wanted to know why I was putting blood into my phone… they were all very interested to hear the answer and about type1.

Great story! It would be fun to try some other answers than “testing my BG” though. Something like “Casting a digital spell to destroy my enemies!” or “This new iPhone runs on blood!”

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lol :smiley:

The experience of having diabetes involves anyone related or even near our space. The world doesn’t realize that our decisions to do any daily plan depends on the steady ability to function. In order to function we must know the test number.
There are so many variables in a choice, for us the test result is primary, because it changes. It is just as important as insulin and food and activity and stress.
Move forward by owning your feelings and choose healthy responses for you.

I probably would have “ignored” the comment and continued with whatever I was doing.

That said, my attitude, in general, when people act uncomfortable with me testing my blood sugar or giving myself injections in front of them is quite simple: Remove yourself if I makes you uncomfortable. For me, taking care of all the different aspects of T1 is all I have time for…I don’t have time to worry about other peoples’ squeamishness. Lucky for them, they don’t have to pinprick or inject. I am pretty hard core in this attitude. I don’t tell anyone not to eat sugar in front me. When someone is willing to be that considerate of my feelings, well, then, maybe…

I keep my meter on our kitchen counter. One of my friends had TG and was taking insulin and all that and asked if she should test in the bathroom and our other friend, a psychiatrist (MD…) said “you don’t want to do that, bathrooms have tons of germs” or something like that. I was probably like “oh, hell no…”. I do zero D functions in the bathroom except for clipping my pump to MrsAcidRock’s towel while I shower…

I sure don’t think that one needs to go into a closet or hide their diabetes doings in any way. I still think I’d have said nothing because I thought the idea was in reference to being at the counter where the food was out and the folks were all standing around. In all of my bg checking (and I had the machines that you had to put a BLOB of blood, count and then wipe it off) - I never did and never will do it on the counter/table/bar where food is being served.

I’d be more freaked out if folks are dipping, eating, and then re-dipping. I guess I’m the oddball who can understand if someone does not want me lancing for blood on the food counter.

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I don’t think that makes you odd, I think it makes you considerate.

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