Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Afraid to take insulin in public?

The other day, I was at Barnes & Noble with my husband, someplace we go often. As I was ordering drinks and pastries at the café, the girl behind the counter — who knows us pretty well by now — said to me, "The other night I think I saw you taking insulin."

I was surprised; it's not very often people comment on this. "Oh, yeah, I'm diabetic," I responded.

"Type 1?" the girl asked, and I said yes.

"My boyfriend is type 1," she said. "But he's always afraid to take insulin in public, afraid someone will say something about it."

I laughed. "I've been diabetic for seven years, and I've never had anyone question my taking insulin in public."

Technically, that's not entirely true. I did have one girl, a classmate in college, freak out a little once. That was back when I carried a vial of Humalog and used syringes for every injection, rather than an insulin pen and pen needles, so I'm sure for someone who is afraid of needles it looked pretty freaky. She didn't make a scene or anything — just quickly looked away, and asked in a high-pitched tone, "What are you doing?"

But anyway, back to my story. After talking to the girl at the café, I thought — not for the first time — about how many diabetics are self conscious about taking insulin injections in public. I think it has a lot to do with the stigma that used to be associated with diabetes. A lot of people genuinely feel bad that they have diabetes, and don't want others to see them taking shots and comment on it.

Of ccourse, as you can tell by the name of this blog, I don't agree with that way of thinking at all. There is no reason we should feel ashamed of having diabetes, and certainly no reason why we should be inconvenienced — or even endangered — by not being able to take our insulin when we need it!

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