The undignified dinner companion

By | 18 July, 2011
You couldn't afford to eat here either

You couldn’t afford to eat here either

The husband and I went out for lunch over the weekend. We were chatting away, making plans to go and see some friends when I did something which to the eyes of a casual observer, may be classed as unacceptable dinner table behaviour. I stuck my hand down the back of my trousers, rummaged around a bit, pulled it back out, sniffed my fingers and then held my fingers to my husband’s nose for him to do the same.

All of this happened in the middle of our conversation, with barely an acknowledgement from either of us that it had happened.

It was only in the car on the way home that the lightning bolt of horror struck me. What must that have looked like to all the other poor people trying to enjoy their lunch? I fear I may owe them an explanation. This wasn’t uncouth and frankly quite disgusting behaviour in a public place, it was an exercise in medical necessity. Let me explain.

Mid conversation, my CGM alarmed to tell me I was rising quickly and was a 10. I was surprised by this as I was expecting to be around a 5. I remembered that just a couple of hours earlier I’d inserted a new infusion set into my upper right buttock. So I did what any normal diabetic would do, I checked the site. I put my hand down the back of my trousers to check that I had attached the loose end properly to the cannula. I also poked it to see if it hurt, often a sign for me that something isn’t right. Then I did my final test for any site I’m suspicious of. I ran my finger round it and then sniffed my finger to see if I could smell insulin. If I can, it’s generally an indication that something mightn’t be quite right. Unfortunately, after too many years exposed to insulin, I don’t tend to be that sensitive to the smell of it anymore, so I asked the husband if he could smell insulin on my fingers, just to double check.

As it was, the set was attached, there was no smell of insulin and I put the high down to having done nothing much all morning and probably used less energy than usual.

I appear to be able to live quite well with diabetes, but I am concerned that it makes me unwittingly behave in public in ways that, I have to admit, must look a bit strange to an innocent observer trying to enjoy their lunch. I suppose I should look on the bright side and be grateful I didn’t top it off by going hypo and embarrassing myself in the restaurant! Is it just me that’s losing my dignity to diabetes?

Category: Living with diabetes Tags:

About Alison

Diagnosed with Type One in 1983 at the age of four, Alison's been at this for a while now. She uses Humalog in a combined insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring system and any blood glucose meter as long as it takes five seconds or less.

13 thoughts on “The undignified dinner companion

  1. Donald Thomson

    Excellent! My worst diabetic-related dinner moment was striking a particularly juicy bit of finger when blood testing, gently pressing the pad to get a drop of blood and releasing a geyser of blood which squirted right across my wife’s sandwiches. And yet, we’re still together after nearly 15 years . . .

  2. Alison Post author

    @don172 I suppose you were lucky it was your understanding wife who got her lunch splattered. You’d have a lot of apologising to do if you’d have done that to a stranger!

  3. Mike

    @alison Oooooh, canna not wait until we all have some dinner again! Love it..

    @don172 Been there, but sent a blood splatter up the freshly painted white wall.. Other half was not impressed!

  4. Tim

    @mikeinspain – dinner with Alison again? Is that so someone (who shall remain nameless) can have a bad hypo, but ignore well meaning advice to check her BG from the experienced diabetics sitting next to her who clearly see that she’s very low? 😉

  5. Alison Post author

    @Tim You have a choice, I can either do that, or sit and seemingly scratch my bum during the meal. Perhaps I might be best just having room service, less embarassing for all!

  6. Mike

    @tim Yes that would be the un-named person that shall remain nameless… 【ツ】

    @alison Room service on Medtronic, like yer thinking!! ***Sniff*** ***Sniff***

  7. lady up north

    Undignified dinner habits ? Well, I thought I was being very discreet when I injected (with a syringe!) outside the chip shop in town centre on the last Saturday before Christmas many years ago. Two old women walking past obviously disagreed and started talking loudly about “dirty heroin addicts who shouldn’t be allowed in public and certainly shouldn’t be allowed to have children” (I had both my sons with me, one was age 6 and the other was age 2 and in a pushchair).
    Might have been better if I hadn’t been so close to a big poster showing a syringe and advertising drug rehab services I guess lol.

  8. lizz

    Well… dinner habits eh. I frequently find myself ‘coming to’ whilst eating dinner, usually with guests (I suspect that it does happen when guests are not sitting round the dinner table, and I’m just with my family, but I don’t notice as they don’t matter!) and realising I have been scoffing in a very undignified, positively hoggish, maybe even slavering sort of a way, trying to get food in quickly without much coordination etc whilst hypo. At that moment, of course I have no language skills and thus cannot excuse myself, just have to hope they haven’t noticed the noise/falling slimy morsels/dribble etc. But I suspect they have, from the uncomfortable silence, the uneasy inability to meet my eyes, the hands shielding their gaze from my direction… the suggestions of ‘putting some music on’ etc.

  9. Alison Post author

    @ladyupnorth, @lizz, @don172 What a delightful bunch of dinner guests we are. If someone read this and started sending out medical assessment forms to any potential dinner guests to weed out the undignified diabetics I wouldn’t be at all surprised!

  10. katherine cromwell

    I’m afraid to say anyone sitting opposite me at a meal time may wonder what the Hell I’m doing if I’m wearing a dress as my pump will be lodged in my bra. As I don’t have a mini remote to give a bolus I have to bring my pump out and once bolus delivered put it back. I’ve had diabetes to long to care what people may think thankfully all my friends are fine but its the other adjacent tables who look rather astonished.

  11. Hairy Gnome

    I’ve never been lucky enough to have dinner guests that sit there and delve into their bras. Yet another of life’s small pleasures I’ve been denied… (sigh…) 😛


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