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Test Proudly! (Was Re: [IP] Blaming Diabetics)

On 11 Apr 99 at 17:31, email @ redacted wrote:

> I've got a question.......... How does everyone handle the increased blood
> sugar checks since getting the pump?  Do you "Duck" into a bathroom to do them
> or just wherever you are?   How do "onlookers" handle this??

I handle them the same way I've always handled them - just do them where I am 
if it is clean enough and I've got the space to put the meter down long enough 
to poke my finger with the lancet device...  It's a good idea to have an empty 
vial or something to put the used test strips in - I usually have an empty one 
with a strip of red tape or a biohazard sticker on it.  Once people see that 
you are taking care of the used strip they are usually ok.  

If you duck into a bathroom you are risking infection because most public 
facilities are filthy, smelly and there isn't a clean surface in them...   Just 
don't make a show of it by announcing what you are doing - just get the meter 
out, put a strip in it, stick your finger, put the drop on the strip and go 
on...   If you are calm, cool and quick then most people just ignore you... If 
anyone does "make a scene" then they are the ones with the problem, not you.  

You'd be surprised at how you can test your bg quietly and effectively without 
anyone noticing because you aren't "acting strange" but instead are going about 
your business without fuss.  In a restaurant you can put the meter in your lap 
and keep your hands close to or below the table level if you are trying to 
hide - but sometimes if you look like you are trying to hide something those 
behaviours trigger the innate curiosity of those around you...  The best place 
to hide something is in the open, in front of everyone...  

Onlookers, voyeurs, and other observers aren't really a concern.  People who 
are curious may ask what you are doing and if asked, give a calm and polite 
answer like "I have diabetes and I'm checking my blood sugar level - 
everything's OK".  The "everything's OK" phrase is important because some 
people have a tendancy to want to help and this lets them know politely that 
their implied offer of assistance is accepted but not needed at this time.  
I've asked people who inquire like this to hand me a paper napkin sometimes, 
just to give them "something to do" and I can always use an extra one - to wrap 
the strip in, wrap around your finger or even just wipe the outside of your 
meter down.  This has two functions - it lets them "help" and it also distracts 
any other people because "someone else is helping"...  

Many times they are curious, or have a relative or friend with diabetes, or 
they have diabetes themselves.  Don't get into an argument about treatment 
either - just a comment that "I'm on a new treatment plan" generally sets them 
at ease if they or their friend or relative is doing things differently... 

Above all, don't ever, ever, ever, ever be ashamed or bothered to test your bg 
where ever you are.  I've tested my bg while talking to the music director in 
church prior the services where I was preaching - even down front with my meter 
sitting on the piano or pulpit... There have been a few times when I've 
called an "intermission" in a service so I could test if I started feeling like 
I was dropping...   I've tested my bg in airports, restaurants, airplanes.  I 
test freqently when I'm on my sailboat because when I'm relaxed my bg tends to 
drop...   Where ever I am, what ever I'm doing, I test when I need to and then 
go on...  

Bg testing is an integral part of maintaining your health.  If ever challenged, 
you have medical practice, good manners and the ADA to back you up.  You are 
following your medical protocol by testing and anyone who interferes is 
negatively impacting your health...  If someone is "bothered" by you testing, 
that is not your problem unless you are causing a stir by announcing "I'm going 
to bleed on the tablecloth" - good manners (at least in the South!) dictates 
that you not interfere or bother people who are minding their own business and 
not directly affecting you...  And then there's the ADA, which dictates that 
public facilities must make due accomodation to people with disabilities - and 
in our case due accomodation includes allowing us to test our bg where we 

The upside of all this is that modern meters are much less obtrusive than the 
older things we used to carry around.  With the beeps turned off they can be 
operated very discretely and quietly.  People are also "technology aware" too 
and sometimes are more curious about the meter than about what it is being used 
for.   If you take advantage of questions to gently educate the questioner 
and any eavesdroppers then you perform a public service and get the bg 
test you needed done too...  Kids are often vocally curious but don't need long 
technical answers.  A kind response on the order of "I'm making sure my 
medicine is working" often satisifes the younger ones.  Educate, be friendly 
and don't act like you're ashamed of who you are or what you have to do to take 
care of yourself...

To parapharase Martin Luther and Ben Franklin,  "Test boldy" or "Test 
proudly"..  you look up the references for that one...
Randall P. Winchester
* The views expressed here are mine and do not necessarily *
* reflect the official position of anyone in particular.            *
* There's no guarantee on anything said here...
* If I say I understand something completely the only thing
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* misunderstood something. 
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