Last weekend, I went on a retreat with some people from work. While it was still ‘work’, it was a refreshing time of being ‘away’ as well.
Since it involved spending 24/7 with a group of people they got to see a lot of my ‘diabetes life’. Test after test, bolus after bolus, and even a site change (well, they technically did not SEE that). We also went to a waterpark and they observed the creativity that requires – I actually found a great tool for that, but it deserves a post of its own.
I don’t remember what started the conversation, but towards the end of our stay, someone asked me a question about diabetes. A smaller group from the larger retreat team had gathered in the living room and I ended up briefly telling them my diagnosis story, telling them about it affected the rest of my college life (dx at 22), and how it impacts my life today.
They asked all the typical questions and made all the typical statements:
- So, what does that thing do?
- How does it know how much to give you?
- Can you test me? Does it hurt?
- I could never poke myself like that all the time.
I had a chance to tell them about about some of my/our pet peeves. This was a ‘get-to-know-you’ weekend, so I made sure to communicate how I am able to make my own food choices (no diabetes police), including a virgin daiquiri that someone made for me. We also talked about something I find even more offensive. I cannot stand when people ask me what my number (BG result) is after I test. If it is not acceptable to ask someone during a dinner conversation about how much they weigh, it is not acceptable to ask about any other numbers.
I made that last statement to them, but in somewhat more gentle terms. I thought they were listening and asking great follow-up questions but it is sometimes hard to know for sure. You think someone understands you, but then they ask “can you eat that?” the next day.
I got my answer on the ride home. We were all packed into a 15 passenger van, so there was not much room to do anything without everyone else seeing it. I wanted to have a snack, so I got out my meter to test. Someone who had not been a part of the earlier conversation asked me what I was doing. Before I could even open my mouth to speak, the person sitting next to me says,
“She’s testing her blood sugar so she knows how much insulin to take. But don’t ask her what the result is. It’s rude. Just like asking someone how much they weigh.”