Dear Miss Manners, Where Are YOUR Manners?!
A D friend posted a link to this article yesterday on Twitter. Go ahead and read it. I’ll wait.
I know that if you read it you know that I am FUMING! I very much wanted to write a response then but I couldn’t see clearly enough through my haze of anger and disappointment to formulate a cohesive and appropriate response. Twenty four hours later, I’m going to give it a try.
First off Miss Manners, no one wishes more than I that managing my diabetes was as easy and unobtrusive to others as taking a pill. Trust me on that one. Getting a drop of my blood from my bruised and calloused fingers 6, 8 even 10 times a day is not something I do for fun. Neither are the multiple daily injections I used to take (NINE shots, EVERY DAY) or the insertion of my insulin pump or continuous glucose monitor. They are something I do to stay alive.
Managing diabetes isn’t fun. Or easy. And by telling your readers that we should go into a bathroom to take care of our failed pancreas (that is by no means our doing by the way) you are telling us we should be ashamed. Well guess what, I’m not.
I’m proud that I understand my body better than most people I know. I’m proud to educate those around me about diabetes and how it effects my everyday life – which it does. Diabetes management consumes so much time. In the seven years since my diagnosis I would guess diabetes management has consumed WEEKS of my life. That is not an overstatement. I’m sure if you spoke with anyone who had diabetes before posting your response you would have known that.
I’m grateful that many of my fellow PWDs used your comment columns to educate and not attack. That’s why I’m proud to belong to a community such as the DOC (Diabetes Online Community). We know anyone not living with this disease or being around it on a regular basis simply doesn’t get it. And that’s OK. We’ll teach you.
What I won’t do? Go into an unsanitary public restroom to manage my condition in order to avoid making someone else uncomfortable. Especially when time is of the essence as it so often can be with diabetes. I’m not even sorry if the sight of MY blood or a needle going into MY skin bothers YOU. When you are responsible for keeping yourself alive, you do what you have to do. Especially with a condition like diabetes where a situation can become an emergency faster than you can blink. You wouldn’t dare tell a breastfeeding mom to go into a public restroom to help others avoid discomfort, please remember that before offering the same suggestion to other people for whom it does not make sense.
So Miss Manners, I beg of you; next time you have a reader ask a question about how to respond to someone with a medical condition may I suggest you do some research on said condition before answering in such a way that you not only appear insensitive and ignorant but also alienate MILLIONS of people in our country who struggle with a disease that can be tempestuous at best.
An aside to the commenter who said that I can explain to her children why I’m doing “weird things to my body”, happily. Because obviously you aren’t open minded to realize people are fighting battles every day that you can’t even begin to comprehend. I’m happy to help your children open their minds and expand their horizons because clearly you are not. These “weird things” I’m doing to my body, it’s keeping me alive. I don’t like it any more than you – trust me – but a diabetic’s got to do what a diabetic’s got to do. And what a diabetic doesn’t have to do? Ever? Is apologize for taking the best care of themselves they can – whatever that happens to mean.