I love this diabetes online community tremendously, as it has impacted my life positively. There are some things, however, I’d love to see change to better both our internal community and our impact in global advocacy.
Last week, there was a kerfuffle over a Miss Manners column regarding the best way to check one’s blood sugar in public or in a crowded place (specifically, a plane.) I agreed with everything she penned in the column, but I kept my voice quiet because of the uproar I saw online.
While many responses were kind, most were laced with sarcastic undertones and some sprinkled with blatant jabs of hostility. Nothing will change in awareness as long as this community continues to berate people who may occasionally get it wrong or share a different opinion.
It’s my belief that Miss Manners was 100 percent correct in her column. It is rude to check one’s blood sugar in close quarters or in front of strangers. Her column was not discussing convenience or the realistic nature of the proposition, but simply referencing manners.
When I’m at dinner, with close friends or with strangers, I check my blood sugar in my lap, not with everything sprawled out on the table for the world to see my blood. (The exception being when I dine with my littles and we have a competition for “best blood sugar.”) On a plane, if I can’t excuse myself, I’m as discreet as humanly possible. The same goes for business meetings or other events where I’m surrounded by people.
My decision to conceal my actions has nothing to do with hiding or shielding my having diabetes, it simply has to do with manners. Though repetitive for us and a common daily task, it is still a bodily function. Out of respect for those around me, I will always shield myself as best I can in public.
It’s worth noting my safety and health come first. When needed, I will do whatever is necessary to protect myself. But if we’re being honest, most of the time I’m not in a dire situation and it’s not an inconvenience to turn around or duck into a corner.
I think Miss Manners got it right, and I appreciate her response and Diabetes Mine for sharing it. I’d love to see this community make a dent for the greater good through efforts like Spare a Rose and strip accuracy rather than using our communal efforts toward someone who had a different opinion. I’m guilty of doing it at times, too, but it’s time we make a change together.
Positive advocacy goes a long way, and I think our impact would be greater if we took a few minutes pause before our responses. Each time we lash out in anger or assume something about another person, we lose credibility and reach.