Etiquette Hell

Hostesses With The Mostest => Entertaining and Hospitality => Topic started by: TurtleDove on March 04, 2013, 01:50:14 PM

Title: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: TurtleDove on March 04, 2013, 01:50:14 PM
I attended a baby shower this past weekend that was chock-full of awkward etiquette blunders, but one was particularly shocking to me and others I spoke with.  The shower (which was for a second child, but I digress - the first baby died tragically about a year ago so I think she might get a pass) was thrown by a friend of the MTB at the friend's house.  The mother of the MTB is quite obese and has diabetes, apparently the kind you must inject insulin for.  Rather than do her injection in the bathroom or bedroom, the mother opted to lift her shirt and expose nearly a foot and a half of flesh all around her waistline (both below and above her belly button) and inject herself right in the middle of the room where the party was happening.  It was really shocking to me.  I thought she was taking her entire shirt off and putting her hands down her pants into her private areas before I realized she was injecting insulin.  I know the way she handled this was not appropriate, but what do people think would have been? The MTB and her sister, as well as everyone else who mentioned to me they saw this, were mortified.

The way I see it, the mother had several options, including going into a bathroom or bedroom or even simply not exposing so much skin in order to inject the insulin.  I truly cannot fathom why she felt the need to expose so much flesh, aside from she is a known attention hog (and she did various other inappropriate attention seeking things during the shower). 

What is generally considered appropriate to do when needing to inject while a guest at someone else's home?
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: camlan on March 04, 2013, 02:14:54 PM
In part, it depends on what is being used to inject the insulin.

There are insulin pens, where you dial the dosage and press a button to inject the insulin. I've seen these used quite discreetly in public, say under the edge of a table in a restaurant. If you didn't know what the person was doing, you'd have no clue. However, if you have to lift or move a garment in such a way as to expose large amounts of skin, it would be best to move to a more private room--bedroom, bathroom, even an unoccupied hallway would work.

If the person is using a syringe, they need a space to put the bottle of insulin and the syringe, in order to fill the syringe. While a public bathroom might not be the best place, the bathroom in a private home would be ideal for both filling the syringe and injecting the insulin.

If you need to expose as much skin as the person in the OP did, you need to move away from the main group. It's not so much about injecting the insulin at that point as it is about grownups not removing clothing in public. I don't care if she was injecting insulin, scratching an itch or showing a tattoo, lifting her shirt that much was uncalled for.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: EllenS on March 04, 2013, 02:21:05 PM
My mom was insulin-dependent using vials and syringes, and she would inject herself at the breakfast table if it was only family present.  Of course, we're talking about a situation where everyone is in their pajamas.  She would never have injected herself in front of other people - basically in any situation where she would wear day clothes, she would excuse herself to a private space.

My SIL is also insulin dependent and uses either a pump or a pen.  She will inject herself whenever needed, but that equipment does not require much in the way of shifting clothes and as pp mentioned, you'd never know what she was doing and you certainly can't see exposed flesh.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: RebeccainGA on March 04, 2013, 02:21:41 PM
I've never seen anyone do this, except my sister, who is hardly the model of couth. Her best friend was a type I diabetic from birth, and even with that, I have MAYBE seen her inject herself a dozen times over my lifetime, and she was practically my second sister for years, spending all her time at our house.

I have to test for blood sugar (on a medication that can cause fluctuations) and I do it somewhere private if at all possible - my cube, the bathroom, my car - and if I have to do it somewhere more public (like at dinner out somewhere) then I try to use a body part I can see easily (like my forearms, if possible) and keep everything as close to hidden as possible.

If I was injecting insulin, I'd be doing it in the bathroom, or if I couldn't for some reason, at least being as discreet as possible (lifting as little clothing as possible, and turning my back to the room so I had some visual privacy). It sounds like this woman was just not cognicent of where she was, or just didn't care. Definitely rude, though,  unless it was a true emergency.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: Hillia on March 04, 2013, 02:25:46 PM
My mom was insulin dependent and so am I, both of us using vials and syringes (pens are awesome, but even with insurance cost about 6x the cost of vials and syringes).  It takes a little space to fill a syringe, but to do the injection requires exposing only a tiny bit of skin.  I agree that the best approach is to use the bathroom or even the kitchen or a quiet corner of the main room.  It does not have to be a huge production unless you want it to be.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: TurtleDove on March 04, 2013, 02:29:38 PM
It does not have to be a huge production unless you want it to be.

Thanks for the explanations, everyone.  For a second I thought, "well, maybe she does have to show that much flesh and just thought it was too much effort to get off the couch and go somewhere private" but knowing that even had she stayed right where she was she definitely could have done the whole thing WAY more discretely brings me the conclusion that she wanted attention on herself. 
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: Margo on March 04, 2013, 02:30:34 PM
I agree, this was rude. My aunt's ex husband is an insulin dependent diabetic. If he was a guest somewhere he would usually use the bathroom, or ask if it was OK for him to go into a different room. In his own home, when only family were present, he would usually use the downstairs WC but might not always bother to shut/lock the door (it was a *very* small room, so this was practical, not exhibitionist)

There are obviously situations where it might be necessary to inject in public, but it's polite to be as discreet about it as you can.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: Cat-Fu on March 04, 2013, 02:31:00 PM
TBH it sounds like in this case the issue was not insulin at all, but the GMTB's need for attention for whatever reason.

Generally speaking, though, I don't see anything wrong with injecting insulin at the table/in someone else's home.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: amylouky on March 04, 2013, 02:35:46 PM
I think she wanted everyone to see what she was doing and feel sorry for her/give her attention.
I'm not on insulin any more but I used to be, and there is absolutely no reason that you need to expose more than an inch or two of flesh to give yourself an injection. Actually, I've injected through my clothes before, so you really don't need to expose anything.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: Carotte on March 04, 2013, 02:36:39 PM
While a guest, ask to be excused and shown the bathroom, if it's occupied and it's urgent, ask the host if there's a place you could use or go to the kitchen/hallway where there's no one. If you can't, try to be discreet, no need to go on at lenghth about what you are doing but a few words could be good if someone around doesn't know you have to or what you are doing.

If you are the host, same thing. Although it's your home a good host wouldn't want to shock her guest..
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: Betelnut on March 04, 2013, 02:38:37 PM
I'm just wondering if the mother had been fit (flat stomach), would it have bothered you so much?  It sounds like the fact she exposed her fat belly was particularly offensive to you.

Her behavior was wrong but I don't think her obesity should be the issue.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: Moray on March 04, 2013, 02:43:32 PM
TBH it sounds like in this case the issue was not insulin at all, but the GMTB's need for attention for whatever reason.

Generally speaking, though, I don't see anything wrong with injecting insulin at the table/in someone else's home.

Exactly. It's not a production unless you make it one.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: EllenS on March 04, 2013, 02:52:59 PM
It's interesting how similar this discussion is to the discussion of public breastfeeding, in relation to issues of public exposure, privacy, and attention seekign (or lack thereof)
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: Shakira on March 04, 2013, 02:53:19 PM
I'm just wondering if the mother had been fit (flat stomach), would it have bothered you so much?  It sounds like the fact she exposed her fat belly was particularly offensive to you.

Her behavior was wrong but I don't think her obesity should be the issue.

I didn't read it that way. I thought she was describing the reasoning behind the diabetes. As in, she is obese and therefore is diabetic. She didn't reference her weight anywhere else in the post.

OP, she definitely should not have had to expose more than a couple inches to inject herself. Definitely attention-seeking.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: TurtleDove on March 04, 2013, 02:55:02 PM
I'm just wondering if the mother had been fit (flat stomach), would it have bothered you so much?  It sounds like the fact she exposed her fat belly was particularly offensive to you.

Her behavior was wrong but I don't think her obesity should be the issue.

No, I mentioned her size because it really was a significant amount of flesh all around her body.  I would have been just as offended if she were smaller, but may not have noticed because she wouldn't have been shifting her flesh so much to get her pants down to her pubic bone and her top up to her armpits.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: EllenS on March 04, 2013, 02:58:29 PM
Pubic bone to armpits?  Body type aside, that is uneccessary.  Even in her pajamas, my mom never pulled her shirt up past her belly button.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: Moray on March 04, 2013, 03:02:11 PM
I'm just wondering if the mother had been fit (flat stomach), would it have bothered you so much?  It sounds like the fact she exposed her fat belly was particularly offensive to you.

Her behavior was wrong but I don't think her obesity should be the issue.

I didn't read it that way. I thought she was describing the reasoning behind the diabetes. As in, she is obese and therefore is diabetic. She didn't reference her weight anywhere else in the post.

OP, she definitely should not have had to expose more than a couple inches to inject herself. Definitely attention-seeking.

Side note: There are a whole bunch of different factors that determine whether someone develops diabetes.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: TurtleDove on March 04, 2013, 03:06:45 PM
Pubic bone to armpits?  Body type aside, that is uneccessary.  Even in her pajamas, my mom never pulled her shirt up past her belly button.

Hence my (and others') shock.  I was trying to come up with some reason why she did it that way and it seems there was no reason other than to draw attention to herself.  It wasn't even on just one side and it was quite a production to get her shirt up and pants down, which is the only reason I mentioned her size at all.  I was across the room, not engaged in conversation with the mother of the MTB, and not facing her, but the commotion and I guess looks on people's faces cause me to turn around and see it. 
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: WillyNilly on March 04, 2013, 03:42:00 PM
I agree the public near-disrobing is the big issue here.  I honestly wouldn't care one bit of someone discreetly injected themselves in front of me, and I would never expect someone to go to a bathroom to do it (just seems un-sterile to me, even though logically probably a living room is no cleaner), but there's no reason to expose several inches, up & down, which due to the way fabric moves means side to side as well.  If you are ever around this woman again and see her start with this process, I think it would be fine to gently approach her and ask she step into another room if she needs to remove so much clothing.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: whatsanenigma on March 04, 2013, 03:55:45 PM
I have been an insulin dependant diabetic for almost 27 years now, and I actually think that the issue of injecting in public is a lot like the issue of breastfeeding in public.  Do it but try to be discreet.  Try your best not to let the nipple or needle show but don't freak out about it.

Personally, if everybody in the immidiate area knows I am diabetic, I will just do it right there at the table, sometimes making the joke "I'm just going to take the drugs now".  If I am in mixed company or around people I don't know well, I won't go so far as to find a bathroom, but I will go to a corner and do it there.  The exception being, if it is one of those rare occasions when I am wearing sleeves that are too tight to push up, and I will actually have to partially take the shirt off. 

And also, I would like to point out that sometimes, being discreet can cause more attention to be brought to yourself than no such attempt.  If you make a big deal out of it, asking really loudly where the host would prefer you to go to inject the insulin, making a big fuss about it, everybody will stare at you and think "poor you", when, especially if you have lots of practice, you can, even with a syringe and bottle, just do it so quickly that no one even really notices until you are done. Believe it or not, I have been in several situations where I was eating a meal with people who knew I was diabetic, and we would all get up to leave the table, and one would say "don't you want to take your insulin?" and I said "I already did", and they were amazed they hadn't noticed.

And I wonder if this lady just didn't have enough practice yet.  Is she recently diabetic? You need a lot more space to work with to make sure you do it right, until you get the hang of it.  Though that does not excuse her behavior, of course.  If she really was so unpracticed that she needed to expose herself, she should have gone into a bathroom or out to her car or something.

As for injecting through clothes, I know some people do it, but I don't, but the only reason is that I don't want to get blood on my clothes.   ;D  Otherwise, I totally would do that.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: mmswm on March 04, 2013, 04:08:23 PM
My 11 year old can inject himself with an old fashioned needle so fast and unobtrusively that even I have a hard time seeing that he's done it.   He's been injecting himself (with varying amounts of help) since he was 3.5, so he's gotten very good at it.  If a child can be discrete, there's no reason an adult can't do so.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: TurtleDove on March 04, 2013, 04:23:05 PM
Is she recently diabetic?

No, she is probably in her late 60s and has been diabetic her whole life, or at least as long as I have been alive (we are related somehow - I refer to her daughters as my cousins, but they aren't exactly that - I think mother of the MTB and my father are second cousins).  Diabetes runs in my father's family, though I am not certain the types.  My father has diabetes but he is quite fit (even at 68 he exercises nearly every day and is pretty spry and trim) and he does not need insulin - he controls his with diet and lifestyle.  I don't know the specifics of the mother of MTB's diabetes and had not really ever thought about her injecting, mostly because I haven't spent much time with her in recent years and it never came up.  Various family members I know have diabetes and various family members do inject insulin, though I haven't ever noticed it, but I don't often see them so that isn't strange. At any rate, given what everyone has said I am relatively certain her behavior was attention seeking. 

As another example of her behavior, she would frequently burst into tears and loudly talk about how painful it is for her that the first baby died.  During the baby shower for the second baby.  In front of the mother of that baby, and various other people who have suffered significant recent losses.  It was just really inappropriate for the event and the people gathered.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: EllenS on March 04, 2013, 04:36:09 PM
As another example of her behavior, she would frequently burst into tears and loudly talk about how painful it is for her that the first baby died.  During the baby shower for the second baby.  In front of the mother of that baby, and various other people who have suffered significant recent losses.  It was just really inappropriate for the event and the people gathered.

Ah, the insulin is a bit of a red herring.  Drama queens will always find fodder for their queenery.

How insensitive.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: snowdragon on March 04, 2013, 05:10:54 PM
I used to work with developmentally disabled adults. many of them were diabetic. One young lady had to test several times a day and inject fairly soon after meals. She needed to do it a table because of other issues....but I never saw skin other than areas that are normally exposed.  She would then pack up all test strips, lancets and needles and cart them home with her "because these days anything that has blood on it makes folks nervous."
 If  she can figure out how to do this with politeness and compassion for those around her, so can everyone else.

Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: newbiePA on March 04, 2013, 06:38:16 PM
20 year type 1 diabetic here.  Insulin has nothing to do with this drama llama.  Prior to my pump, I was the fastest injector this side of the Mississippi.  I didn't care to do it in the bathroom, but I was very discreet.  She was not.  And agree, weight does not cause diabetes, but that's beyond this board.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: CrochetFanatic on March 04, 2013, 07:07:27 PM
I didn't witness this, but a friend told me about getting dirty looks for injecting insulin in public.  I've had no experience with this matter, and having no opinion I just sort of went "uh-huh", not all that phased.  I suggested using the bathroom for it instead of doing it out in the open, and was told "Ew, germs".  That could have been why. 

From what I've seen, it is possible to inject insulin discreetly under the table, and exposing that much of one's body doesn't seem like it should be necessary.  Well, unless for some reason she couldn't reach, but I can't quite figure out...never mind.  Anyway, I agree with everyone who says she was rude to be so indiscreet.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: White Lotus on March 04, 2013, 08:22:04 PM
I have seen people inject through clothing.  Not a problem for me, or, apparently, for them. If a person had to disarrange a lot of clothing (undo belt, unbutton waistband, pull out shirt, etc.) I would find that too much "undressing" for a public space.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: suzieQ on March 04, 2013, 09:11:16 PM
Insulin can be injected into any area of the body that has some fat (but not supposed to be within 2" of the belly button). She didn't need to expose that much of herself. We used to inject DS in the back of the arm when we were in public. Never did it in the bathroom (eewww germs) AND he was a boy, I'm a woman, I had to inject him. Kinda didn't work for us.

Never noticed any dirty looks, but then again, I was busy testing his blood glucose, drawing up the insulin, making sure the air was out of the syringe and injecting him. We did it at the table, but we never ate with other people either.

Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: Winterlight on March 05, 2013, 08:45:37 AM
I have no problem with a second baby shower here- I'm not sure I'd be able to look at the clothes and things collected for the first baby without sobbing.

I think injecting should be done discreetly and in private, because having someone else pass out because of the needle is not a pleasant thing.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: Thipu1 on March 05, 2013, 10:20:52 AM
In my family, we have had a number of insulin-dependent relatives.  Even in the home, I have never seen anything like what the OP described.

  When an injection was called-for, it was always done in a bathroom or a bedroom.  Certainly, it would not be done in a room where a party was taking place. 

There's a big difference between modestly breast-feeding a baby and exposing a large portion of your body for an insulin injection.  It doesn't matter if the lady in question was 'fat' or 'fit'.  An insulin injection does not require that amount of flesh to be exposed. 
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: EmmaJ. on March 06, 2013, 11:52:47 AM
Could it possibly have been a life-or-death emergency and she was simply panicking in an effort to quickly inject the insulin?
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: whatsanenigma on March 06, 2013, 12:56:03 PM
Could it possibly have been a life-or-death emergency and she was simply panicking in an effort to quickly inject the insulin?

Good thought, but I don't think so.  When your blood sugar is too high, you just have effects like dry mouth and being grouchy, and the bad things that happen are only long term.  Unless you get high enough for long enough, then you can go into something called DKA, and in that case you need medical help ASAP-nothing you can inject yourself will fix it.

If it were glucagon, used to treat a low blood sugar, then maybe I could buy it.  Low blood sugar can cause you to pass out or have a seizure-so you need to treat it with oral or injected sugar ASAP.  And people can do strange things when blood sugar is low.  If she were injecting glucagon, I would probably give her a pass.

But just the regular dose of insulin? Not really a reason that you'd have to inject that ASAP, none that I can think of.  Unless she thinks there is-and in that case, she has been very poorly educated about diabetes.
Title: Re: Insulin Etiquette
Post by: Venus193 on March 06, 2013, 01:20:40 PM
In part, it depends on what is being used to inject the insulin.

There are insulin pens, where you dial the dosage and press a button to inject the insulin. I've seen these used quite discreetly in public, say under the edge of a table in a restaurant. If you didn't know what the person was doing, you'd have no clue. However, if you have to lift or move a garment in such a way as to expose large amounts of skin, it would be best to move to a more private room--bedroom, bathroom, even an unoccupied hallway would work.

If the person is using a syringe, they need a space to put the bottle of insulin and the syringe, in order to fill the syringe. While a public bathroom might not be the best place, the bathroom in a private home would be ideal for both filling the syringe and injecting the insulin.

If you need to expose as much skin as the person in the OP did, you need to move away from the main group. It's not so much about injecting the insulin at that point as it is about grownups not removing clothing in public. I don't care if she was injecting insulin, scratching an itch or showing a tattoo, lifting her shirt that much was uncalled for.

This.  I think the person in the lead post is a drama queen who was looking for attention.

I've seen someone inject herself discreetly below a restaurant table while carrying on a conversation with her dinner partner on an unrelated subject; I didn't even notice what injection method she used.  In another person's home it would be no big deal to excuse yourself for a minute or two to go to another room for this task.  If this woman has been diabetic all her life she already knows that.  My guess here is that she was trying to steal attention from the guest of honor.