I get asked all the time how I can stand to poke my fingers multiple times a day. How I can handle inserting and having medical devices attached to my body all the time. People are amazed at how easy and effortless it all seems.
Don’t be fooled by appearances.
I want to share the story of the absolute most difficult part of my diabetic life thus far, but to do so I need to share some backstory as well.
December 2012. I had been living as a type 2 diabetic for five months. I finally made the decision to switch doctors, and started on insulin immediately under my new type 1 diagnosis.
I can’t believe how sickly I looked, ugh. Anyway, adjusting was hard, but I was managing. However…
A few weeks after diagnosis, Allen and I were in a town about an hour away from home, and decided to go out to dinner. It was my first time going to a restaurant since I started on insulin. I was nervous of what people would think, since I had gotten the occasional skeptical look from people as I checked my blood sugar in public.
The meal arrived, and I checked my sugar at the table. Immediately, I felt the eyes of nearby patrons on me. The restaurant was fairly dark and secluded, but I still felt uneasy. I decided to excuse to the bathroom to administer my insulin injection.
When I walked into the bathroom of the restaurant, the stalls were all full, and the sinks were surrounded by four or five ladies waiting in line. Awkwardly, I squeezed my way to the sink, not wanting to wait in line for a stall. After all, it was just going to take me a moment. I prepped my equipment and prepared to inject myself when a woman near me noticed what I was doing and shouted “oh my God, a needle!” I said “Yes, I have diabetes and have to give myself insulin to eat.” She scoffed at me and muttered something about how disgusting it was that I was giving myself an injection near her. I was too stunned to say anything, so I tried to hurry and inject and ran out of the bathroom.
When I got back to the table, I was in tears and told my husband what had happened. He was understandably upset for me and the embarrassment I had suffered. I ate what I could and we went home as quickly as we could to get out of the uncomfortable environment.
Don’t be fooled by appearances. It isn’t easy to be stared at, whispered about, and openly scoffed at by people who don’t understand that you’re only doing what you’re doing to be able to NOT DIE and not because you’re a junkie or looking for a thrill. Even now that I am a pumper, it still isn’t easy. People wonder why the twenty-something skinny girl is wearing a pager and poking her fingers at the table. People don’t understand.
We need a cure.