In the United States, approximately 1.24 million people live with Type 1 diabetes.
Treatment can help, but Type 1 diabetes has no cure.
Type 1 diabetes—once called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes—can develop at any age. Of people living with diabetes in the United States, only 5-10% have Type 1.
People living with Type 1 become adept at testing their blood sugar and administering insulin or sugar as needed. But can someone get too comfortable with their condition?
A young man wondered if his approach was too casual, so he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
“AITA for injecting insulin in public?”
The original poster (OP) explained:
“My (23, male) insulin pump recently failed and while waiting for a replacement, I had to switch back to fingersticks and injecting insulin manually.”
“I was recently at Cracker Barrel and checked my blood sugar and began injecting insulin when an older lady from a nearby table told me that it was disgusting for me to be doing that at the table and that I should go to the bathroom to finish.”
“The actual injection part is very brief and consists of screwing a 5mm needle onto a pen, lifting my shirt slightly to access my stomach, sticking the needle in, and pushing a button.”
“I would just add the small correction to do an injection. I show maybe an inch or two of skin above my pants waistline, far less than, say a girl wearing a crop top.”
“I told her to mind her own business and that if she was uncomfortable, she should consider not watching me inject the medication that literally allows me to eat.”
“She said she was going to ask her waiter to speak to a manager, and I completed the injection before she even returned to her seat.”
“She did not end up speaking to a manager as far as I know; I’m guessing that the fact that I already finished before she had a chance to kind of rendered it moot.”
“So, anyway, AITA?”
“I never even really considered that some would consider this an issue, but maybe I’m missing something?”
The OP added:
“People need to be educated about it—fortunately, most people I meet are curious and accommodating, which is encouraging!”
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hol7
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Some Redditors insisted the OP should have gone to the bathroom to do their injection.
“YTA. Nobody wants to see your naked abdomen in a restaurant. In an emergency, do whatever you need to do.”
“Otherwise, do it in private.”
“And for all those people saying that it’s OK to do in public because it’s necessary, well, so is flossing your teeth or trimming your toenails, but we don’t do those things in public.” ~ catdoctor
“Ya’ll saying they were injecting ‘life saving medication”l’ need to get a damn grip! YES they are YTA!”
“Sitting in a restaurant and doing this is not something people need to see! Go in the restroom, to your car, or anyplace else!
“It’s not like they were having an insulin attack! They could have took 2 minutes to go someplace private!!”
“Come on now! Is all civil decency gone, or is it just ‘all about me’ now? Get over yourself! NO WAY I would sit in public and do this!” ~ Altruistic_Fondant38
But most Redditors felt the OP was not the a**hole,
“A public bathroom would be the last place I would want to have to give myself a shot. Unhygienic and gross.”
“NTA and betting she flips out at moms breastfeeding too.” ~ idowithkozlowski
“Seriously. Public bathrooms are absolutely not good for that, and frankly not for breastfeeding either.”
“I never fed my kids in a bathroom. Anyone who didn’t like it can look away and also f*ck themselves.” ~ oo-mox83
“Absolutely this. I am diabetic, and I OUTRIGHT REFUSE to poke a hole in my body in a public restroom.”
“If you have been injecting yourself for a while, the whole process takes a few seconds.”
“I have given myself injections in my stomach area while wearing a dress at my desk at work (open-plan office) and at restaurant tables. I will NOT inject in a public restroom.”
“Old Lady needs to mind her own damn business.” ~ readsomething1968
“I remember when I started a new school not long after I got diabetes type 1, I was at the school cafeteria to eat and took insulin discreetly at the table.”
“A teacher came to me and told me that another student (that was sitting far away from me) thought it was gross and were afraid to catch something.”
“I asked the teacher if she had told the student that it’s not contagious and I need to do it to be able to eat. Teacher told me that she had but also felt like I should go to the bathroom to take my insulin.”
“This traumatized me to the point that I never ate at school again, not even when I changed to other schools. So for five years I’d rather went hungry daily than ever risking to suffer that humiliation again.” ~ Snt307
“Bathrooms are disgusting. That’s like the worst place to do an injection.” ~ cattermelon34
“NTA…. as a nurse, I say just do it; the lady can get f*cked.” ~ CatchMeIfYouCan09
“NTA. I too am a nurse and approve this message.”
“Disimpacting your own bowels at the the dinner table? Sure, she may have a case there.”
“Self injecting your insulin? No.” ~ Cobblestone-Villain
People pointed out the OP wasn’t using a syringe or vials of insulin.
“With an insulin PEN, no less. That’s about as subtle as you can get.” ~ MustangJackets
“NTA. An insulin pen is easy to use and not very noticable.”
“If you had used an old-fashioned syringe, she would have probably called the cops.” ~ Wild_Set4223
“‘Lady, your right to not be uncomfortable is well and truly trumped by my right to survive’.” ~ jkalchik99
“Honestly, perfect rule to use to determine whether or not you should ‘say something’ when you’re uncomfortable in a situation, if you’re ever having trouble figuring it out, or if it’s just one of those things that’s hard for your brain to instinctively understand.”
“I remember teaching that to my considerably younger siblings when they were super scared of dogs and had problems being around people with service dogs.”
“‘I understand you’re uncomfortable, but that dog is doing something necessary for that human to be able to be alive and go outside. Them being able to be alive and have a life outside the hospital is worth you being a little bit scared, right?’.”
“That plus explaining how service dogs are both VERY well trained and ‘at work’ right now (therefore focused only on their job rather than you or wanting to play), got them to understand that it’s okay to be scared and do what they needed to do to feel safe, like sit far away or find another restaurant or whatever.”
“But that it’s not okay to be mean to the human with the dog or to ask me to ‘make the dog go away’—and my brother was I believe 3 when I had this conversation with him!” ~ zoloftwithdrawals
“I’ve been Type 1 for 35+ years.”
“Back before I got the pump and had to do shots, I had multiple occasions where people yelled at me, accusing me of shooting heroin.”
“Shooting heroin, out of a vial, into my stomach. Idiots.” ~ Gibonius
“I still responded NTA with the image of it being a syringe, but omg I didn’t know insulin pens existed…”
“I guess between my granny who used syringes but died when I was a kid and meeting people with insulin pumps as an adult I completely missed that insulin pens became a thing.”
“If only we could also make insulin more affordable/accessible. Sigh.”
“I hope you get your pump back soon!” ~ ratherpculiar
“The sad thing is that she had to be aware of what it was to notice because it’s so simple now. Her ignorance is really just hate.” ~ ProofEstablishment89
“People are the worst. My kid has a life-threatening allergy… thank god we’ve never had to use it, but what would she want me to do… drag my dying kid into the bathroom to give him an injection, too?”
“My grandfather was Type 1, and I remember he had a little kit and would go upstairs to use it, but that was 40+ years ago and just his preference. Or he didn’t want the grandkids to ask him questions or bump into him while doing it.”
“Lady is probably the type that frowns on breastfeeding in public as well. She can eat a bag of d*cks.” ~ NotAnExpertHowever
The OP shared their appreciation for people’s feedback.
“I won’t deny that I was hoping I wasn’t the a**hole—I think that’s natural.”
“But I was also genuinely curious if most or a significant number of people feel the way that lady did, in which case I would have been the a**hole and probably would rethink the way I administer insulin.”
“I also won’t deny that I am pleased with the support and with the general level of awareness I am seeing about Type 1 in this thread. Thanks for your input!”
For the most part, people had no issue with the OP discretely administering their insulin at a restaurant table.
Those that did suggested an unsanitary alternative.
But their right not to be uncomfortable is well and truly trumped by another person’s right to survive.