The Washington Post recently ran a column from Miss Manners where she recommended people with diabetes only check their blood sugar out of sight. Specifically, she advised we go into an airplane bathroom to check, rather than possibly disturbing those around us. This is wrong for many, many reasons.
When my son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just before he turned two, we decided we wouldn’t hide anything about his care. Before he started on his insulin pump he was taking 6-8 shots every day and we checked his blood sugar by pricking his finger even more frequently. I did all this on the playground, in other people’s homes, in movie theaters. I tried to be discreet (not really possible with anything involving a toddler!) but I never felt that I had to hide in a bathroom. Diabetes and its management isn’t something to be ashamed of.
Bathroom airplanes are pretty gross – and pretty small. I’m also fairly certain Miss Manners didn’t consider how much time one spends on a plane without being allowed to actually get up and walk to the restroom. I never thought about this before having children. You may not get out of your seat while waiting to take off (no matter if the plane is number 1 or number 25 in line), during some of the flight (just after takeoff, turbulence or anytime the drink cart blocks the aisle) and 20 minutes before you land. If I suspect my child’s blood sugar is low during those times, Miss Manners would rather I let him crash than to subject those around me to the horror that is a discreet blood sugar check.
I know the sight of blood makes some people uncomfortable. But modern diabetes testing equipment draws less than a drop. You never see a needle, although you may hear a click. Good manners are all about consideration of others, so if you see me or my child pull out our diabetes kit, please consider this: testing keeps my kid healthy. Testing saves lives. Miss Manners is a moron.