I don't react to every moronic thing that is said about diabetes, because if I did - this blog would be one constant rebuttal.
The other night during the DSMA Twitter chat I kept seeing people referencing Miss Manners in a less than flattering way. When I looked into the hubbub I found that she had given, what I considered to be, thoughtless and damaging advice to a reader that described himself as an "Insulin dependent diabetic".
It was too late in the evening to commit my thoughts to a blog so I waited until the next day. When I finished writing and was about to post my thoughts, I realized something.
This is one of those things. It's a bubble issue. That is, people who live inside of the diabetes bubble will be rightfully angered, they'll speak out, demand change, and then - nothing will happen. Why? Not because the incident doesn't warrant, not because our message isn't well delivered - but because we are mainly talking to each other. It's the proverbial choir being preached to.
I found Judith Martin's (Miss Manners) advice (Her complete remarks are below) to be particularly reprehensible and more than a diabetes issue - Maybe you will too. So, I contacted my Huffington Post editor* to see if there was interest in the piece. My hope was that they would like it and help it to find a broader audience. Lots of people blog on HuffPost but their writing is often limited to being seen by their community and social media circle. I think we all want these types of stories to find the mainstream, at least that's what I hope for. I want diabetes to be taken seriously and given it's space on a national stage. Not the stories that get sensationalized, but real stories about how the disease effects you.
I'll eventually post the article here for posterity but for now please head over to Huffington Post and give it a read, if you're of like-mind - share share share. The more Facebook 'likes', shares and comments that HuffPost sees, they more they get behind the story in their social media channels and when they do, stories find a life of their own. That's the game, like it or not, if we want to get these stories to a place where they will impact larges groups then IMO, we need to suit up and play.
Direct link to the story
Link to my Huffington Post story archive
* I am not compensated for my writing on Huffington Post in anyway. They do provide an Amazon link to my book, 'Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal' but no one clicks on it. Even if they did, no one is getting rich writing a book. Hell, no one is making enough to pay their electric bill writing a book... except for that Harry Potter lady and a few others.
This is the complete text (link included) from the Miss Manners article found on Washington Post and other outlets.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a businessman who frequently flies both domestically and internationally. I also happen to be an insulin-dependent diabetic.
I currently do my glucose testing in my seat. It does involve using a lancet device to get a drop of blood to test, but is fairly unobtrusive. Of course, all lancets, alcohol preps and test strips are stored in my test kit for proper disposal later.
Am I being rude to perform this test next to a stranger? Injections I perform privately in the plane’s lavatory. In the airport, I use the counter by the wash basin, since most water closets have no room for insulin vials and other supplies.
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?
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 chose 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.