Checking in public?

Now that i am constantly checking my sugar numbers, i’what jm wondering how open, or not, others are about checking in public. I tend to be very self conscious, and i don’t know what is really ok anyway. Surprised myself the other week, when in a spot, I did a blood test at a Reds game, pretty proud of myself, even tho most of the process was done partly in my backpack :slight_smile:

I was encouraged to be open about being a diabetic and not afraid to do tests or take insulin in public. Some people may ask you questions and others give you faceless expressions. Be yourself and do what is comfortable for you.


My husband feels uncomfortable when I check are 2 year old in public or give he insulin but I just tell him it’s part of her life and I don’t want her to feel like its something to hide.The only time I try to be discreet is when other little kids are around but with older kids and adults I feel that it gives them an opportunity to be Informed about this neverending relentless disease.

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I’ve never been shy about checking my BG in public. I don’t do it as often as I used to, since getting a CGM, but, I still always have my meter with me, because, you never know when Medtronic will demand a BG or get insistent. I have tested in line at the bank while balancing meter and case with one arm, on the beach, in concerts, sporting events, court, seminars, church, etc. I do avoid doing it around food, since others are eating, they might not like it. But, otherwise, I feel perfectly free about it. And, I don’t think anyone has ever asked a question about it!!! I know. Odd.

I have never seen anyone else finger stick in public!!! Which I find odd too. I know that now CGMs cut down on the need for so many finger sticks, but, this goes back 20 years ago. I guess others were just hiding it by testing in their car or in the restroom. I’ve attended diabetes conferences for many years and even there with almost a thousand other Type I and Type II diabetics, NEVER seen one person check their BG the entire day!!! Not even in the ladies restroom! Just me. lol

I will check in public and give insulin as well. I dont have time to be running off tinkering with this already demanding disease. Its who i am now and if those folks dont like it, dont look.


A couple employers have asked that I not check my blood sugar at the table where people eat (due to health safety concerns), but that’s the only time checking in public has ever been an issue. My current employer recognized that there wasn’t really anywhere else for me to go (we only have the one break room/office and our bathroom is in a completely different building, not that I’d agree to check in the bathroom anyway), so I just keep everything either in my lap or at the computer desk instead of on the table. And it was just the higher-ups that were concerned; my coworkers don’t care. Frankly, our first aid kit is in that room, too, and I don’t really see the difference between someone putting a bandaid on a cut and me checking my blood sugar.

I get a little self conscious about it sometimes, but if I hide then it won’t ever become normal or accepted. When I was little I used to notice people staring in restaurants, but not so much anymore. And I used to try to get most everything done in between visits from the waiter because I’ve always been nervous they’d make a stink about getting blood on the table, too. It’s never actually been an issue, though. One time the waiter actually recognized what I was doing and started talking with me about his diabetic mother. I’ve checked my blood sugar and taken insulin injections at my seat on planes (not easy to do with so little room), trains, busses… It’s not our fault we’re diabetic and we have to do these things to stay alive. I’m not hiding in a dirty bathroom or my car to avoid making someone else is uncomfortable.

@HighHopes, I’ve actually never seen anyone else check or take insulin in public, either come to think of it (outside of times when diabetics gather, like walks and conferences). I’ve actually noticed other diabetics more recently because of their pumps/CGMs than I ever did as a child.

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When I was young, I was always so embarrassed and partially ashamed to do anything in public that I thought would bring attention to my “secret.” It still kind of bothers me that if I start to perspire bc I don’t know, it’s hot, my family will interrogate me if I’m low. I’m at a point where I just don’t care anymore. Why should I have to hide in a dirty public rest room to do the things I need to do to live? Now I inject anywhere I need to. Even at a restaurant table. Before I had the Dexcom, I also tested when and wherever I needed to. It’s great that you’re testing more often and It’s hard when you’re out. No one wants unnecessary attention. I changed when on a vacation and had a bad low. I was in a store waiting in a long line and started feeling faint. I grabbed crackers and a soda and started eating. By the time I got to the front, I finished and paid for the empty packages and asked the cashier to throw away the empties.
Do what you’re comfortable with. Be proud of yourself. In time it’ll become second nature.

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Hey Val!
Obviously the answers to this question vary from person to person. I’ve never been self-conscious about checking in public; sure, I get some weird looks, but I will never prioritize someone else’s judgement over my health. Besides, if people do ask awkward questions (which happens) then it’s a good opportunity for me to educate them and hopefully erase some of the endless misconceptions that come with this condition. Of course, if I’m not in the mood to talk about my condition or deal with questions, I have no problem politely telling people to mind their own business. Either way, I won’t hide my condition from anyone.

my daughter, who is almost 6, is the diabetic in our family. My thinking is if she needs her blood sugar checked, then we do it. No one ever really bats an eye at it or questions it.

I rarely get even a glance either. I’m not sure what they would say. But, with the popularity of CGMs becoming more prevalent, I suspect that finger sticking will become less common. (Even though, I’ve never seen people do it.)

While many of us are self concsious in general and worry others will notice something a bit unusual, like a finger stick or injection outside of a doc’s officer, most won’t even notice you or anyone testing or injecting, ever. Sometimes I’ve been asked if I have diabetes because the person noticing is her/himself a Type 1, or the questioner is just curous or knows someone else with diabetes. I’ve worried at times about someone being offended or bothered but in 39 years with type 1, I can’t recall that EVER happening. Just confidently go about what you need to do, publicly if you are fine with that. The only time I seek some privacy is when I am changing pump infusion sights. That’s not so fast and may involve exposing more skin than one might expect

Do it! Check your sugars when and where you like! Be loud and proud! Imagine a child with Diabetes, who is embarrassed by it, seeing you test in public like it ain’t no thing. Diabetes is tough, let’s not add to that by trying to hide it. It’s part of you. Testing…insulin…they keep you alive. If someone has an issue with that, then they can look the other way!!

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You shouldn’t be shy around other kids either. Kids are the best because they are curious, eager to learn and non judgemental. Let’s educate these kids. They are sponges and they understand so much more than we realize. I nanny part time and when I dial in my insulin and one of the kids has a friend over, he very matter of factly explains that I have diabetes and then goes into the blood sugar, food, insulin explanation. His friend nods, maybe asks a few questions and then they carry on with their play. It’s awesome. And now there’s one more child that knows what diabetes is. How great is that?!!

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I’ve been T1D for 54 of my 68 years and, at first, I never had to test or inject in public because diabetes treatment wasn’t as advanced as it is now. However, I frequently injected in public whenever the need arose and never felt self-conscious. I was never worried about what others thought if they happened to see me. I actually thought it was a good thing for the public’s awareness. I now use a Tandem pump along with a Dexcom cgm and never worry about the public’s response when I bolus or calibrate. Val, I can honestly say that I have never had anyone give me a dirty look or suggest I hide what I need to do to stay alive.

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Suzanne…Yes!! Your answer involving chlildren seeing me testing is exactly what I needed to see!!! Have spent 40 yrs denying and being ashamed of this D :-0, am slowly learning a new way to do this. thank you (all) very much!!

I think most people don’t care and wouldn’t pass judgement. I liken it to breast feeding in public. Diabetics shouldn’t have to run to the bathroom to check BG or give insulin when at a restaurant or any other public place but I understand the need for privacy or the feeling of being on display. To each his own is my opinion.

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I generally counsel PWD to NOT go to a restroom the check BG or administer insulin - rest rooms can serve to wash hands but could be far too unsanitary for finger-sticks and injections. And because of insufficient places to put down equipment and the hard tile floors, I heard of insulin vials slipping and shattering - then no insulin available.

It should be reasonable, without making a public display to check BG and inject insulin at a restaurant table.

When I was doing finger pokes and MDIs, I had no shame doing so in public. I looked at it as something that needed to be done so I could live and function like everyone else and why should I be afraid to do so at the table or at my desk at work? Why should I feel ashamed of doing something that people without T1 don’t have to even think about in order to eat or function properly? I want to live my life as normally as possible…my normal just includes checking my sugars and giving a shot now.

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I do it all the time but try to be discrete when checking my blood sugar as some people are scared of needles or the mere idea of blood. I use a pump now but when I took injections I tried to use discretion there too, for the same reasons, if I was dining in public; although among friends I would inject while they were around - several are nurses and didn’t bat an eye.
People are less squeamish about pumps so I bolus wherever I am - most people tend to ignore it and I don’t mind answering questions if they do ask.