71 Responses

  1. Leslie
    Leslie February 26, 2014 at 5:34 am | | Reply

    I am a D mom of a 7 year old who commented about Miss Manners original post and asked her to publicly retract it. I did read her original post and acknowledge that she (or, her son) never directly said that diabetes testing is shameful or unsightly. I further acknowledge that the original post directly discussed only an adult. However, I believe that Miss Manners, as a public writer, has a responsibility to consider how her words will be taken by the general public. It’s not just the D community who took her words as conveying, “It’s rude to test in public unless it’s an EMERGENCY,” non-D people (as shown by comments to the original post) got the same message. This is not a surprising response at all and Miss Manners should have chosen her words more carefully. It’s not enough to say, “I was only talking to this one adult guy” when your response is printed in many newspapers and you should KNOW it’s a sound-bite world. It’s not enough to say that if her words mean that my son will have to endure people feeling justified to give him disapproving looks because they don’t see any “emergency.” At the very least, Miss Manners ought to have explained that there are many reasons why a diabetic may need to test in public, as the word “emergency” implies very rare, probably obviously visible occasions. I think a public explanation in her column is still called for.

  2. Faith
    Faith February 26, 2014 at 5:55 am | | Reply

    Thanks for a great post Mike! Couldn’t have said it better.

  3. Melinda
    Melinda February 26, 2014 at 5:55 am | | Reply

    Their response was shockingly tone deaf, especially for knowing what it’s like to have diabetes. I’m sad they chose not to use their column to educate and create understanding rather than doubt and shame.

  4. denise
    denise February 26, 2014 at 6:18 am | | Reply

    I’m a huge fan of Miss Manners, even when I don’t agree with her advice–like about not nursing in public. I read her column books and am familiar with her language. One of her first tenets is that ppl should mind their own business. I get that the language of this response may have been confusing to D folk and non D folk alike. However, I got the following out of it when I first read it: If you have an emergency or can be discreet, go ahead and take care of whatever you need to do. If you can’t be discreet, use the bathroom. Go ahead and use the counter rather than the stall since ppl in bathrooms should be minding their own business, not paying attention to what you’re doing since bathrooms exist to take care of your business. Ignore rude comments.

    The only potentially “offensive” line was drawing the line at drawing blood. But I really took that as not being able to resist an opportunity at a clever pun. I suppose openly drwaing blood might be rude, but if it falls under being generally discreet, I don’t see that miss manners has a problem with it.

  5. Rachel
    Rachel February 26, 2014 at 6:29 am | | Reply

    Thanks for sharing the behind the scenes information! Although I found it very interesting and knowing that type 1 is a part of the Miss Manners’ family life… I’m still not comfortable with the words used in the MM response. If some of the comments they made to you about balancing doing what you have to do and taking opportunities to avoid making others uncomfortable they might not have garnered such a strong response.

    As I’ve mentioned to a few people in the community, I think we’re so aware of our diabetes because it takes so much of our time, that we think people notice more than they really do and that should be noted to others who are feeling self conscious.

  6. John Fitzpatrick
    John Fitzpatrick February 26, 2014 at 6:34 am | | Reply

    They’re trying to backpedal, and I’m not buying it. After all, they wrote, “…Miss Manners draws the line at drawing blood. Restrooms exist to provide a proper location for such necessary activities…” so it’s just disingenuous to act surprised that people took that to mean they should test in the restroom.

    1. Scout
      Scout February 26, 2014 at 8:08 am | | Reply

      That’s exactly how I felt, I thought they were backpedaling. Shame on them,

    2. Barb
      Barb February 26, 2014 at 9:27 am | | Reply

      My thoughts exactly !

    3. Amy A
      Amy A February 26, 2014 at 10:37 am | | Reply

      Bingo! Not to mention the newly expanded definition of emergency. For me, am emergency is not a daily ritual as testing BG or calibrating a CGM.

      Associating BG tests with ‘bodily functions’ and ‘drawing blood,’ while technically accurate, also lends an air of ewwww don’t do THAT in public.

      One last thought, perhaps so many people assumed she knew nothing about diabetes was because the response promoted ‘otherness’ of PWD’s, and used language that distanced herself from the concern. I understand that MM has a mind your own beezwax perspective, but here was a chance to educate that went strangely awry because she chose not to share her personal perspective.

  7. Sarah - Sugabetic (@SugabeticMe)
    Sarah - Sugabetic (@SugabeticMe) February 26, 2014 at 6:45 am | | Reply

    While I understand where she may be coming from in her response in trying to do what the majority would state as correct, since she and her son come from the world of diabetes, it shocks me that their response is not at all in line with how he lives his life. He (or she, who ever wrote it) plainly stated that he actually does test in his plane seat, even walking in the airport, etc., without going to a restroom. This is the exact opposite of the advice that was given. Maybe I’m wrong here, but I was raised to not give advice that you wouldn’t (or don’t) follow yourself. My concern now is also that, since she has such a wide audience, are we now going to have people say “Ms Manners says that’s inappropriate – don’t test in front of me”? While I appreciate the responses given, I still feel uneasy about them.
    Yes, we as a DOC acted out, as we have so many times before to various news articles and the such. And yes, some of us were rude, including myself – which I sincerely apologize for.

    1. Robin
      Robin February 27, 2014 at 6:59 pm | | Reply

      Good point. I’d hate to have people follow Miss Manners and decide we shouldn’t test in public. But, I admit I’d laugh if someone told me I should follow Miss Manners’ advice.

  8. StephenS
    StephenS February 26, 2014 at 6:49 am | | Reply

    Mike, thanks so much for bringing us this side of the story. I responded directly to the article via the Washington Post, but did not publish anything about it later (although I did comment on a lot of the posts about it).

    I can say only two things. First: My heart sunk when I read that Ms. Martin’s son was also T1D. Second: ALL of us, on both sides of an issue, need to choose our words carefully, because what we say isn’t as important as how it makes others feel. Often perception is really the definition of what we write.

  9. Allison Nimlos
    Allison Nimlos February 26, 2014 at 6:50 am | | Reply

    ::waves Bennett’s BS sign wildly::

    They said *nothing* about monitoring things discreetly or being “in tune” with your surroundings. As John points out, they specifically reference restrooms as the proper place for such activities. That’s it. That’s the only information from which you can draw a conclusion about what they believe. And unfortunately they can’t even see that the omission, innocent as it may be, does a damage to people who might now feel shame about their activities. They clearly do something entirely different in practice, which makes me wonder why they weren’t more clear. Way to provide mixed messages.

    1. AmyT
      AmyT February 26, 2014 at 6:57 am | | Reply

      I happen to agree. I felt like they were backpedaling here. Like Mike, I wasn’t “offended” by what they wrote, I just thought it was short-sighted and a missed opportunity to inform the public about diabetes in a much more positive way.

      1. Mark Estes
        Mark Estes February 26, 2014 at 9:36 pm | | Reply

        totally agree. their original was short sighted and I am not buying part 2. Such a missed opportunity.

  10. Dana
    Dana February 26, 2014 at 6:59 am | | Reply

    I’ll admit that I am one who read this column and was upset by it. And I still really don’t think that they understand what it is like to have a child who is diabetic. She is the mother of a diabetic who was diagnosed in his 20s. So she never had to chase her toddler to pin him into his high chair in order to take his sugars while her other toddler is also trying to escape. And has she been in public bathrooms? I avoid them at all costs and loathe having to take my toddlers in there to change them. The things they touch while I am trying to change the other one! This is my life and even though my diabetic is now 3, it does not change. Although she may have been writing to an adult, the message is clearly written that everyone should keep their blood contained in their body unless in a private place. That is not always feasible or possible. And how they can say that he checks his sugars in his seat but that you are not supposed to draw blood in public. How does he check his sugars? With his cgm? Not everyone is so fortunate. Shame on them for being so misleading and condescending.

  11. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth February 26, 2014 at 7:00 am | | Reply

    I also cannot understand how, living with this disease as mother and son do, they can fail to understand that their response was both unclear and potentially offensive. When giving advice, it is ESSENTIAL to think through the response from all angles and “vet” yourself from various perspectives. Thus:

    “Gentle Reader:

    Performing medical self-care is, from an etiquette standpoint, a private act best done in private places when possible. However, there are certainly good reasons why one might (discreetly) perform such acts in a public place. Drawing blood is a particularly difficult form of self-care because so many people have unpleasant personal responses to blood or needles, and one must, if one is a considerate and mannerly person, be conscious of these responses. If, gentle reader, you are unable to remove yourself to the powder room (or if you find that the powder room is less than hygienic, as may sadly be the case), you may indeed test your blood sugar in public. While it is true that your compatriots may feel imposed upon by seeing such private acts should they chance to turn their heads, it is likely they would feel more imposed upon should you pass out due to an undetected low whilst seated beside them.”

    1. Amy A
      Amy A February 26, 2014 at 10:40 am | | Reply

      Love this, you captured the MM tone very well :)

  12. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth February 26, 2014 at 7:10 am | | Reply

    …and, like Dana before me, I second the notion that simply having a T1 son doesn’t mean she understands what it means to live with T1D. My son, like Dana’s, was diagnosed as a toddler. Diabetes is a significant factor in ALL major milestones of his life. It is not at all the same learning to live with a disease as an adult (even a young adult) as it is growing up with it. Which I understand that neither Ms Martin nor her son could possibly have known… but one may always ask, no? It’s generally… considered polite.

  13. denise
    denise February 26, 2014 at 7:10 am | | Reply

    “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 others”

    I believe this was in response to the guy saying he uses the counter in the bathroom since there’s no place for his stuff in the stall. I think Miss Manners was saying, as she has many many times, that ppl in a public bathroom are to mind their own buisness because bathrooms are there so ppl can tend to themselves, so he should not worry about using the counter rather than hiding. Ppl often write about others doing gross stuff in a bathroom like flossing thier teeth like their at home, and miss manners always says that whatever happens in a bathroom you should be pretending like you are not witnessing it and MYOB.

    1. Allison Nimlos
      Allison Nimlos February 26, 2014 at 7:32 am | | Reply

      Actually, the letter states that he tests his blood sugar at his seat, and injects in the bathroom, and the reader is wondering if it’s okay to test in the seat. Miss Manners’ response infers, if not directly states, that such activities that draw blood should be done in the bathroom.

      1. AmyT
        AmyT February 26, 2014 at 8:32 am | | Reply

        @Allison – Actually, that makes even less sense on the Martins’ part. By that logic, one should inject insulin in public (no blood draw) and test BG in private, because that involves blood. Hmmm??

      2. denise
        denise February 26, 2014 at 8:34 am | | Reply

        “In the airport, I use the counter by the wash basin, since most water closets have no room for insulin vials and other supplies.”

        This is the part I thought she was refering to in her bathroom statement. the wash basin is a sink and the water closet is the stall. He’s saying the he uses the counter b/c the stall has no room for supplies. She’s saying don’t sweat it bc ppl should be minding their business in a public bathroom.

  14. Stacey Simms
    Stacey Simms February 26, 2014 at 7:14 am | | Reply

    Mike, great job getting this interview. So interesting that the son has type 1 and wrote that ridiculous column. Sorry, but this doesn’t change anything for me except to add hypocritical to my list of criticism. Their writing was perfectly clear – there are 3 short paragraphs here and two mentions of restroom. Regarding the folks who are upset not everyone was polite in their response (I cheerfully assume I’m included!), we call ourselves the Diabetes Online Community, not the Diabetes Online Collective. We will never speak with one voice or one tone. You can get worked up about an issue that doesn’t bother me in the least, you can even go off on a tear or use foul language to express yourself. This is a community and as such there will be devils and angels for almost every issue. Doesn’t mean we’re horribly divided. Just means we’re real.

  15. Miss Manners got it right.
    Miss Manners got it right. February 26, 2014 at 7:16 am |

    [...] 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 [...]

  16. Miss Manners is a D-mom? Diabetes Mine reveals many surprises after interview | t1dactiveliving

    [...] I was reading through my Twitter feed this morning and saw that Diabetes Mine unearthed some interesting facts about Miss Manners.  [...]

  17. Sarah Ferguson
    Sarah Ferguson February 26, 2014 at 7:49 am | | Reply

    You stop being a community when you start drawing lines through the group. We all live with diabetes, whether parents, partners, toddlers, teens, or adults. Miss Manners & her son deal with issues we all deal with. It’s unfair to say they don’t know the struggles because he hasn’t had T1 since he was a toddler. This is exemplary of a problem with truly supporting each other. (My daughter was diagnosed at 14). For what it’s worth, I thought the reaction to the column was over the top.

  18. Abby
    Abby February 26, 2014 at 7:51 am | | Reply

    Just more proof that people will jump to conclusions and use their keyboard to send out words that they end up regretting.

    It’s funny that we’re talking about manners here, and nobody seems to have any.

    Think about this, if you checked your BG next to a stranger, they knew what diabetes was and proceeded to ask you what your result was… would you tell them? No. Becuase it’s private.

    Maybe that’s the point.

  19. Tamara Carlin
    Tamara Carlin February 26, 2014 at 7:54 am | | Reply

    Thank you for this thoughtful post. I agree that this is a lot of backpedaling from the Martin family, and their original text is quite perplexing given their medical history and knowledge. Mike, I’d like to take your point even further: you NEVER represent your cause and your point well when you are rude, insulting, or vulgar. Just because such tones have, sadly, become commonplace, does not mean they are OK or should ever be the norm. I know as well as anyone the deep, animal instinct to protect your children, but we MUST disagree without being disagreeable. Signed, Tamara, mom of a son and a daughter with Type 1 and celiac.

  20. Andi Smith
    Andi Smith February 26, 2014 at 8:03 am | | Reply

    I have read through the Ms Manners article several times. Not once have I felt the response said ” as long as you are discreet.” Each reading left me to believe I should be testing my son somewhere private. While I do try to be discreet, having a 5 year old dyanmo who is ALWAYS on the go, sometimes the best I can do is in wide open view of everyone in public. A public restroom is not an option. An airplane lavatory is an even worse option. My son’s needs will always come before the public’s comfort.
    However, I do keep in mind that this is an advice column. In general I try to keep good advice in mind and chuck the rest. I have decided this Ms. Manners advice to be put in the circular file.
    Anyone who takes issue with me testing my son anywhere, anytime, can turn their head and look the other way.

    I do take issue with Judith Martin saying she knows what it is like. Her son was diagnosed in his 20′s, a time when most are considered adults and able to take care of themselves. My son was diagnosed at 13 months. I truly do not feel Ms. Martin knows what my concerns or worries were then or are now for a 5 year old with Type 1. I truly do not think Mr. Martin has the appropriate experience to put himself in my shoes enough and ever be able to give me decent advice. Therefore, I will not ask for advice on how to manage rude comments or diabetes bias from the Ms Manners community. I will continue to teach my son to stand up for himself and not worry about what everyone else thinks.

    1. Jennifer Gaytan
      Jennifer Gaytan February 26, 2014 at 8:43 am | | Reply

      I agree.

  21. wayne
    wayne February 26, 2014 at 8:06 am | | Reply

    Well, i think what they said was perfectly justified. Many diabetics often do not have any concern for others. I’ve seen people put all their paraphernalia on a table in a restaurant with no regard for anyone else in the room. i often want to tell them they are not in a medical clinic, but a restaurant. Ms. Manners emphasizes discretion, and this needs to be a priority. It’s easy to check BG in one’s lap, without making a spectacle, and even injections can be done discretely through clothing. As Ms. Manners notes, there are other people who may get sick at the sight of needles and blood, the diabetics need to be as considerate of others as they want others to be considerate of them. it’s not hard to do, and there’s no reason to get upset over someone sending a reminder to be civilized. And before someone criticizes me for not understanding what diabetes means, i’ve been been managing my own diabetes for 56 years.

    1. Jennifer Gaytan
      Jennifer Gaytan February 26, 2014 at 8:45 am | | Reply

      And when your lap is the size of a two year olds? How do you be discreet? Our endo specifically said not to inject through clothing.

  22. Amy
    Amy February 26, 2014 at 8:16 am | | Reply

    My take away from this is realizing how very sorry I feel for Nicholas Martin and Judith Martin. Clearly, they are from another era in type 1 diabetes care where there once was shame and hiding. Of course the responses they received from the PWD were quite shocking. If one was never comfortable with being open about t1d, hearing from multitudes that are, than that would be unsettling. Good luck to them both and maybe if one good thing comes out of this, it will be some education on how T1D is managed in 2014.

  23. Jennifer Gaytan
    Jennifer Gaytan February 26, 2014 at 8:34 am | | Reply

    Sounds like back peddling to me too. I never responded to her original article, even though I did read it and didn’t like her response. I still believe she has no clue what it’s like as a parent with a young type 1. Her son was already an adult when dx. She hasn’t endured the same things we have.
    Any parent worries and maybe she has even been in the hospital at his bed side. But he was old enough to hold his own meter, insulin, and any other devices. He was old enough to recognize his own highs and lows, he was old enough to test and inject himself and he was old enough to be discreet. Smallchildren need mom or dad to oversee what is being done. She was no longer responsible for her child and his care. He was an adult.

    1. Caroline Yeager, M.D.
      Caroline Yeager, M.D. February 27, 2014 at 9:43 pm | | Reply

      I am an adult and a doctor, and even so, my husband and my best friend know what to do in case of hypoglycemia, if I am alone at home. Just because one is an adult and not a child does not mean someone isn’t there for them, if only by phone, to call back in 15 minutes to make sure your treatment has worked.

  24. Jennifer Gaytan
    Jennifer Gaytan February 26, 2014 at 8:40 am | | Reply

    Previous comment about doing injections through clothing…not advice from the doctor. Do not inject through clothing as per instructions from our endo.

    Again, bad advice and judgment of diabetics.

    People will have no clue really until sadly, it’s your child.

    1. sharon Warren
      sharon Warren February 26, 2014 at 9:58 pm | | Reply

      well said

  25. Dan Shannon
    Dan Shannon February 26, 2014 at 8:54 am | | Reply

    In the world of advertising and indeed communications there is no such thing as ‘bad publicity’. In my view the discussion that has ensued from this is vibrant, healthy and necessary.
    My girl was diagnosed just before 16th bday and I speny the next 5 yrs making a documentary showing how teens felt about their predicament. In a word, after seeing and hearing from many teens, I would not recommend they hide their glucose testing or anything else about their diabetes, that fits in the realm of everyday living, testing, even discreet injections at the table.
    Adults can manage these issues differently no doubt. But the self-awareness, self-acceptance aspect of being a teen dealing with T1D, is more important to all of us for their mental and emotional health, that the risk of offending the sensibilities of a few unknowing bystanders. Let their curiosity be the stage for a great conversation, not of propriety or shame of the disease but of the need for a cure, and the celebration that today my girl and perhaps your girl lives, because of this relatively new thing called insulin.
    And T1D family, we need to avoid self-righteousness, we will slowly carefully bring awareness, in perhaps awkward ways, even out of conflict, but we must focus on awareness. Type 1 in communications terms is an infant, no one knows much about it pretty much unless someone in your actual home has it. Lets change that.

  26. Susan Walton
    Susan Walton February 26, 2014 at 9:07 am | | Reply

    This strikes me as a combination of poor choice of words (by Martins) and defensive overreaction (by the D community). Whenever a choice is available to test and inject privately, that should be used. Where such a choice is unavailable or extremely inconvenient, discretion rules the day.

    I say this as the mom of a t1 who is also a 13 year old autistic boy. Obviously I would be more disruptive and attention-grabbing if I took him to the Ladies Lav (or went into the Gents?), so I do the work at our seats or under the table. But if I can take the precaution of assessing and adjusting his BG privately, of course I prefer that and I suppose others do too.

    I understand that the Martins are not inclined to apologize on the basis of “loud and proud” but the term “emergency” as a standard is where I believe they went wrong and could repair.

    That said, I’ll continue to admire their work regardless. Wit and etiquette have a place in today’s world too.

  27. Defining a “D-Parent” | ProbablyRachel

    [...] the article on Diabetes Mine about the Miss Manners situation and how her son has type 1 diabetes. Here’s the article.  (This post is NOT commentary on his article or the situation, just what got my brain [...]

  28. Terry Keelan
    Terry Keelan February 26, 2014 at 9:54 am | | Reply

    This is the first I’ve heard of this controversy. Thank you, Mike, for a well-written and thoughtfully considered article.

    On the topic at hand, I find that the DOC can get a bit militant about our condition and can go a little over the top. However, I think that we need to be militant and over the top if we’re going to get the attention we need to improve treatment or even find a cure. I think we ought to take a lesson from the HIV/AIDS activists and act up once in awhile.

    As for testing your blood in public, well, I think discretion is called for. After all we are potentially exposing other people to our bodily fluids without their consent. Yes, it’s unlikely that our blood will touch anyone and yes, people should mind their own business, but still – a little sensitivity to other people is not too much to ask. I test in public frequently, but under the table or around the corner or in the car if possible.

    As for Ms. Manner ‘tone’ – isn’t she always that formal and stilted?

    Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful interview, Mike.

  29. Tim Steinert
    Tim Steinert February 26, 2014 at 10:01 am | | Reply

    I, gentle reader, had similar thoughts of aggravation about the Miss Manners’ response and her (their) response to the outcry from the D Community. Baloney! But I kept it to myself, because that’s my MANNERS(s).

    Someone who writes for a living should have been able to craft a response that was well-thought out and didn’t need explanation

    Diabetes is messy, annoying and ever-present for ALL of us who have to deal with it. With that being said, my sister doesn’t appreciate ME shooting up in public, so out of deference to her, I generally don’t. The next time we drive somewhere where we can’t stop and I need to eat, she’s going to probably be quite upset. Because I am still on injections, but my insurance only pays for vials (as opposed to pens), and I’ll be doing the more drawn-out injection procedure. Pun intended.

  30. bobbie
    bobbie February 26, 2014 at 10:38 am | | Reply

    Miss Manners, and her son, grew up at a time when diabetes wasn’t discussed, it like most diseases was kept hidden, not talked about in public and you didn’t test your sugar or give insulin around people, but hid. So, I say Miss Manners stop talking, refer these questions to experts

    1. Sierrajeff
      Sierrajeff February 26, 2014 at 4:43 pm | | Reply

      “at a time when diabetes wasn’t discussed” – oh what bunk. He’s had it for 20 years, meaning since early 1990s. Well my cousin became diabetic at age 10 in 1971, and (in small town Midwest) everyone knew and talked about it plainly and openly. Ditto when my dad became diabetic a few years later. I’ve never heard anyone portray their diabetes as an unmentionable topic until I started delving into this community! I’m reminded of Pogo – “We’ve met the enemy, and he is us.”

  31. Sarah
    Sarah February 26, 2014 at 11:53 am | | Reply

    I do not believe this was a matter of misinterpretation by readers; I see no difference in the re-read with additional context. Both times it comes across as poor, offensive advice. Knowing she is intimately familiar with type 1 only removes my ability to dismiss it as ignorant.

  32. Andrew Bell
    Andrew Bell February 26, 2014 at 12:08 pm | | Reply

    Type one diabetes is an extremely difficult disease. Very, very challenging. This whole thing highlights that. Most people involved with this cause are highly sensitive — sometimes too much. I think it just boils down to our severe hunger for better treatments / some kind of cure. Lets take a breath, learn from this, and keep up our individual and collective fight.

  33. Amit
    Amit February 26, 2014 at 12:12 pm | | Reply

    I certainly do not agree with Miss Manners. T1 diabetes is a very deadly disease and any delay in administration of insulin can lead to catastrophic consequences. So if I am on airplane and feel that i need to check my blood sugar and take an insulin shot, I will do it without a moment’s hesitation.

  34. Katie
    Katie February 26, 2014 at 12:32 pm | | Reply

    I am one who was not offended by the original column, but DID write to her, in light of the HUGE overreaction of many.

    When i wrote, I said that I was a fan of hers, but objected to this response, but actually, the version I read of the letter did NOT include some of the wording above Newspapers, in print and online, often “edit” for space . So, the omissions in the response that I read were crucial in making the Manners’ response seem tone-deaf.

    Thanks for posting this

  35. Melinda
    Melinda February 26, 2014 at 12:40 pm | | Reply

    I thought there was some over reaction to the article but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, advocacy requires such. I was totally with Miss Manners about discretion, I can test under a table and nobody notices (or at least my companions have such impeccable manners that they pretend not to) BUT there is no escaping that he/she said

    “although Miss Manners draws the line at drawing blood. Restrooms exist to provide a proper location for such necessary activities when away from home,”

    This IS SAYING USE A RESTROOM IF YOU NEED TO DRAW BLOOD. So if you are wealthy enough to use a CGM then that’s ok but if you’re stuck with the primitive fingerstick method-go to the restroom.

    I don’t know how anyone can say she said just be discreet-that’s dishonest.

  36. Lori Skaggs
    Lori Skaggs February 26, 2014 at 3:07 pm | | Reply

    ::said in my best 4-year-old voice::

    “Miss Manners ain’t the boss of me!!!”

  37. Kelly Rawlings
    Kelly Rawlings February 26, 2014 at 4:09 pm | | Reply

    It’s clear that this whole Miss Manners kerfuffle has been a great opportunity to learn more about diabetes, how some people live with it, PWD, MYOB, PDM (public display of medication), what some individuals think about their self-care, what they think other people think when seeing examples of self-care, whether it makes a difference if you’ve got it or you “get” it, how often it’s assumed that taking insulin is just a type 1 thing, the best age to get diabetes, the worst age to get diabetes, group identity, freedom of speech, personal expression, safety, respect, rudeness, and the fact that discreet and discrete have quite different meanings. And, for once, “airplane” and “diabetes” have been used in the same sentence without a single mention of TSA.

  38. Sierrajeff
    Sierrajeff February 26, 2014 at 4:52 pm | | Reply

    Wow, a lot of you need to let go of some issues and move on.

    Everyone should consider their personal reaction to other scenarios before casting stones. How would you react – be honest, on a core level – if a person next to you on a plane did the following:
    * changed a band-aid?
    * changed a large gauze bandage?
    * checked a colostomy bag?
    * flossed his teeth?
    * cut his nails?

    If you think each of these is 100% OK, then continue lambasting MM. But if not, consider why – and consider how what’s ordinary to you (just as the above actions may be ordinary to the person doing them) may create issues for others. And that’s certainly not to say that one has to live in hiding or shame – but rather (and I think as MM and the article above are both trying to say), live in awareness of those around you. Don’t hide from other people, but don’t ignore other people either.

    1. Kellie
      Kellie February 27, 2014 at 3:01 am | | Reply

      Your analogy is all over the place – there is a HUGE different between clipping one’s nails and checking one’s colostomy bag. That is a massive spectrum. And it’s not about ordinary vs. non-ordinary. All of those examples require a thoughtful, case-by-case analysis by the individual, I think.

      Another way to think about your mass spectrum of examples is this: Which of these have the potential to physically affect those around the actor? Changing a bandaid is likely no big deal – unless it’s a bandaid over a gusher that could actually get on someone else. Same thing goes with the colostomy bag… lifting up your shirt to check your stoma – no big deal. If you think you’ve sprung a leak, you should probably get up and go to the restroom because you’re about to have a bigger fish to fry than prying eyes – you have the responsibility to minimize the possibility of spilling your stomach contents on the people around you.

      I for one believe that if I truly thought checking my BG was the kind of procedure that could PHYSICALLY affect those around me, I would be courteous and find a more discreet place to do it. But a pin-prick does not invade the personal space of others – so when people like MM tell us we should err on the side of discretion (discretion in her view being out of the area completely), people get rightfully annoyed because nobody’s truly getting hurt.

  39. Sysy
    Sysy February 26, 2014 at 5:55 pm | | Reply

    You know how people generally agree that it’s ok for people to be upset if someone sends an unvaccinated child to school? In many cases, exposure to someone’s blood may spread disease. So there is reasonable concern from those who don’t know us to be made uncomfortable. Also, some people truly have phobias about blood and needles. I check and give shots ALL the time on planes, in restaurants, and other public places. I make alcohol swabs and hand sanitizer clearly visible and I do my best to be aware of sensitive people near me. I strike up conversations about what I’m doing, too. I feel we can do what we must as diabetics and still show empathy and concern towards others. Doing this has literally brought me nothing but very sweet and kind responses from people. Mutual respect and appreciation is my goal- and great blood sugars, of course. In the case of children with diabetes, I hope and trust that even more compassion and empathy is extended to them.

  40. Jennifer
    Jennifer February 26, 2014 at 6:20 pm | | Reply

    Wow. I personally have had T1D for… 32 yrs now developed at three yrs of age in Dec. My twelve yr old has now had T1D since he was nine. I myself am a germ freak and would NEVER test my blood sugar in a public rest room let alone in my bleach infested bathroom at home. Wtf?! Really? How gross and unsanitary. I would also never tell my twelve year old how he needs to hide who he is and be embarrassed and ashamed of who and what defines him. I say let the little children stare and say Mommy…what’s he doing. To which I reply teach them the truth. Mom…Lean over and say my sons a T1D and needs to check his blood sugar. Don’t hide who you are ever. Miss Nanner’s is the one who should be ashamed. Tsk tsk. For real.

  41. Sandy
    Sandy February 26, 2014 at 7:05 pm | | Reply

    I am a mom of 2 Type 1 diabetic boys, and I think that Miss Manners should say what they mean and mean what they say. The words they used in their original response implied that it is offensive and improper and not good manners to do a blood sugar test (or other diabetes care) in front of others, and it would be best performed in the bathroom, or elsewhere. It really did imply that a diabetic should hide what they have to do to take care of their disease. If you have to write an extended article explaining what you meant, you missed the mark with your original response. Next time, say what you mean and mean what you say. Which is quite possibly what they did in the first place. Maybe it’s a pet peeve of Miss Manners and her family when diabetics perform any sort of care in public, but have they thought about how many diabetics might stop doing blood sugar tests if they always had to excuse themselves and go to the bathroom? It’s an inconvenient enough disease and to take care of it you are constantly having to do blood sugar tests. That’s a lot of time spent excusing yourself to go to the bathroom!! I’m wondering if anyone even wrote in about that question in the first place. Perhaps they made it up as a “question” to get their opinion out there.

  42. sharon Warren
    sharon Warren February 26, 2014 at 8:55 pm | | Reply

    I understand you have written a retraction, or a clarification, whatever you want to call it. You didn’t REALLY mean to make the diabetes community feel like they had to hide. Or to inform the general public that if they happen to see us testing ourselves or our children, discreetly in public, we are being very ‘ill mannered’ . And I hear that it should all be ‘okay’ now because after all, you are one of ‘us’. Your SON really wrote the article and he has type 1 diabetes. But he was diagnosed at the age of 20, an independent age, so you never really had to chase him as a two year old around the table to get him to eat and test his blood sugars. ( 10 times a day is the new norm for testing , did you know that?) or lock yourself in a small restroom with him, hoping he wouldn’t touch anything gross. And that our angry reaction, as a diabetic community really makes you ‘worry’ that we need to be more, well, ‘nice’ about these things. Sorry, but that just doesn’t wash with me. Globally, why has the diabetes community had a shared negative reaction to your article? Are you really suggesting that it is because we all just HAPPEN to be, well, a rude bunch who is ‘possessive’ over the diabetic condition? Your response is just intellectually lazy and used by those who simply can’t fathom the hurt they cause to parents who are fighting, with every last breath , to keep themselves and their children alive 24 hours a day. For years. And yes, if you tell me and my squirming child to hide in a restroom I WILL get cranky. Why shouldn’t I? And we, the ‘community’ hope that one day , very soon, you and others who write CARELESSLY about diabetes will GET it.

  43. Dom Casey
    Dom Casey February 26, 2014 at 10:40 pm | | Reply

    I believe Ms. Manners needs to go back to school of manners, and frankly I am angered by her ignorance and Myopic worldview.

  44. Kellie
    Kellie February 27, 2014 at 2:49 am | | Reply

    I’m sorry, but as her son was diagnosed with type 1 in his 20s, I’m not sure what credibility MM has in terms of knowing what it is like to deal with diabetic issues and such. I think that she is grabbing at straws here. Is she entitled to have an opinion? Sure. Absolutely. But I don’t think she is entitled to state that opinion within the auspice of the diabetic community by some perceived notion of membership because her ADULT son suffers from type 1. It isn’t the same.

    That being said, in terms of the substance of her points, if you’re sensitive to blood, look away. Unless i have you as a captive audience in some way, you have the discretion to not have to deal with my everyday needs of checking my BG. I feel the same way about breast feeding. Absent your lack of ability to avoid it, it isn’t your place to complain. Mind your own business.

  45. Hidden gems | Rolling in the D
    Hidden gems | Rolling in the D February 27, 2014 at 4:33 am |

    [...] quote is from the elder Miss Manners; the second from the younger, the one with T1. (Excerpted from yesterday’s article on DiabetesMine, which had me captivated from start to [...]

  46. tmana
    tmana February 27, 2014 at 5:50 am | | Reply

    I’m wondering if the issue is less one of shame or rudeness in testing than embarrassment at being looked at “in a certain way” for doing so?

    The questioner asks writes:
    ‘Many people seem to stare and resent the fact of performing such a function in this space. I have also had children ask, “What is that man doing? Isn’t that a bad thing?” (They’re obviously thinking of their drug education classes.) Am I too self-conscious?’

    The nut concept should be more along the lines of, if one is too self-conscious to perform normal diabetes care in public and answer the curious questions, and ignore or snap back at the rude ones, then it is probably easier for all concerned to do so privately, if at all possible (or convenient, safe, etc.)

    That said, Sierra Jeff commented about the comfort level of seeing others publicly
    * changed a band-aid?
    * changed a large gauze bandage?
    * checked a colostomy bag?
    * flossed his teeth?
    * cut his nails?

    The only two that are not common are the large gauze bandage (if hiding a large, gross surgical wound rather than a large abrasion) and the ostomy bag. While I’m not familiar with its use, I thought the biggest yuck factor of changing the bag were the issues of viewing another person’s bodily wastes and the potential of spreading infection through large amounts of fecal bacteria, should the bag not be self-sealing or the stoma “leak” during the procedure.

  47. Kelly Rawlings
    Kelly Rawlings February 27, 2014 at 7:27 am | | Reply

    Have you seen the social media response to Miss Manners answer about stuttering? She’s receiving great support (RTs) from the online community. Which tells me she was clear, appropriate, and precise in the way she worded that response. Her response about diabetes care in public? I guess she needed an editor to point out the bits that would be easily confused or would detract from her intended message.

  48. Rich the Diabetic
    Rich the Diabetic February 27, 2014 at 11:33 am | | Reply

    Why has no one mentioned the Americans with Disabilites Act, which states we’re allowed to test our blood sugar anywhere we need to? I’ll test my blood sugar anywhere I need or want to, and if anyone has an issue with it, they can see what happens when they ask me to go somewhere else. Miss Manners can kiss . . . . .

  49. kristine
    kristine February 27, 2014 at 4:09 pm | | Reply

    That’s like telling a breast feeding mother to “go to the bathroom” and do it. No big deal, I check my blood sugars anywhere and everywhere in front of anyone. Never heard a peep.

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