I was sent an email where I read a question to the columnist ‘Miss Manners’. I read this in the San Jose Mercury News but she is syndicated throughout the U.S.. A man traveled a lot and wanted to know the ‘proper etiquette’ where he should check his blood sugar. Miss Manners (One Judith Martin) answered the following:
The Headline in the San Jose Mercury News:
Miss Manners: Do diabetic testing in private
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. Miss Manners does not object to a pill taken at dinner, so long as it is not accompanied by a dissertation on your cholesterol.
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 others.
You may choose to tell children that it is a medical procedure, or ignore them and let their parents do that. Miss Manners would hope that any parents present would also resolve to teach their children to be more discreet with their curiosity.
Here is how I answered Miss Manners:
Dear Miss Manners,
In reply to your advice on what ‘Miss Manners’ thinks is proper etiquette what should and should not be done in a public place, say a restaurant (airplane-or whatever), pertaining to diabetes testing I say the following: Until you have walked a mile in my shoes do not give advice on what it is like.
Until you have finally settled a child in a high-chair, another in his seat, and another in a booster chair when one child needs to have their blood sugar checked before they eat; do not give advice on what is correct.
Until you fully understand that insulin dosing whenever it is needed (and not just in an emergency), is based upon what a glucose reading is; and there is a table full of children needed to be tended to, do not tell me where it is proper to do something of which you have no idea.
It’s very easy to sit and judge something you do not know. If you had a child with diabetes, you would not feel this way and your answer would surely be reflected differently. Nothing is uglier than when ignorance speaks as an authority. Your column, if followed, would send the diabetes community back decades in public misunderstanding. Next time, educate yourself before answering and ask a few who know.
Shame on you.
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’
My answer was also sent to Miss Manners email. Kindly reply on this site if you have something to say.
Here is the newspaper article in its entirety:
Click here to read both the question and answer in the San Jose Mercury News in its entirety.