When Larry Hausner, CEO of the American Diabetes Association shared his experience about trying a CGM to better understand a piece of living with diabetes, he mentioned that he tried testing his blood glucose in public and was surprised by how many people stared at him. It made me think about the age-old debate – is it acceptable to test your blood glucose or give yourself an injection in public, or not?
Last year, Diabetes Forecast asked its online readers “Do you test your blood glucose in public?” Of the responses they received (which were not analyzed by a statistician or anything like that), the results came back like this:
32% “Yes, all the time”
32% “Yes, occasionally”
15% “No, unless I’m with people I know well”
22% “No, I would never do it in public”
This just shows how divided the diabetes community can be about this. But why are we all so split on the issue? On one side of the argument, there are some people who may not want to make it visible that they have diabetes while they’re out in public. Part of me understands this – from the curious stares to the overload of questions that comes with disclosing the disease.
The one time I remember going to a restroom to test my blood glucose and give myself an injection was when I worked at a large, high profile summer camp (unfortunately not a diabetes camp). It was the first summer after I was diagnosed and my camp teams were middle school kids and I felt it would be best to avoid some of the questions. Now that I think about it, however, I did test my blood glucose in front of them – I just didn’t take insulin injections in front of them.
On the other side of things, why hide something you have to deal with regardless of where you are? If anything, testing your blood glucose demonstrates that you are being proactive about your health. This is the side that I most often find myself on, while testing in a movie theater, on the metro, in a bar, at a restaurant, on an airplane, or even while running a race. I test my blood glucose not to make a statement, but because I need to test.
But that’s just me, which brings me to what I think is the bottom line in this debate: Whether you test your blood glucose in public or not is a personal choice. Sure, factors like the setting and the people you’re around may be a factor in that choice, but at the end of the day it’s about you and your health. Do what makes you comfortable.
So then, what do you do? And – what is the strangest situation in which you have tested your blood glucose?