Dear Miss Manners,
You recently wrote about diabetes finger pricking in public and suggested we do this in the bathroom.
"GENTLE READER: Absent an emergency, medical applications (like bodily
functions and grooming) are properly done out of sight — meaning in
private or in a restroom — unless they can be done so surreptitiously
as to be unrecognizable as such.
The technology associated with diabetes is fast approaching this
standard, although Miss Manners draws the line at drawing blood.
Restrooms exist to provide a proper location for such necessary
activities when away from home, and those who use them have no business
monitoring the respectable, if sometimes unaesthetic, activities of
How about, no. No, I am not going into a germ filled public bathroom to check my blood sugar. I can check my blood sugar without anyone knowing I'm doing it. I don't cut a vein open and wave it around. It's done in a flash and no one knows but me.
The same goes for using my insulin pump. I can dose insulin and it looks like I'm using my phone. Yes, I do these things in public. I do them because I have to. People do all kinds of bodily functions in public: fart, burp, sneeze, cough... No one runs to the bathroom before they sneeze. Diabetes doesn't go away when we go in public. Sometimes a blood sugar
test can mean the difference between walking out of a public place and
leaving in an ambulance.
However, what upset me most about what you said is this: you don't have diabetes, and yet spoke as if you know best how to manage it in public.
There is a phrase in the disability rights movement that goes like this: "Nothing about us without us." That means make no assumptions, or decisions, without first discussing it with people who live with disabilities.
I live with diabetes. I'm open about it. So are many other people. There is a group called Diabetes Advocates you can contact with questions about diabetes issues. Learn about our issues. Become educated. Then you can speak about manners.