I remember the first time I injected in a public place very clearly. This is because it actually wasn’t my choice to do so, but because I was forced to.
Injecting can be uncomfortable or it can be a breeze, sometimes I don’t feel a thing and other times it can be sensitive and sore and leave a mark. It can be awkward to have to fumble with a needle and lift the corner of your top to inject in a public place.
I remember the first time I injected in public because I was in a little cafe in London where they had no customer bathrooms. I would usually nip to the loo to inject my insulin in private, mostly because I felt self conscious and didn’t want to offend anyone else at the sight of a needle. However, after explaining to the waitress that I had to take insulin and could I possibly nip behind their staff door to do my injection, I was told no. Despite my obvious discomfort and my explaining to her all of this, even pleading that she come with me so she would know I wouldn’t steal anything etc., she still refused. So, I whipped out my needle with a new found confidence and injected right in front of her.
To be honest, it wasn’t really that big of a deal. It was at the time for me, because I’d always thought it was more respectful to do it tucked away in private. However, sometimes there are occasions where this just isn’t possible. At an outdoor market, I have to inject with my lunch. At a festival, do you think I’m taking my insulin in a portaloo? (I have done this before and trust me – NEVER again…) Sometimes the bathrooms in places are absolutely revolting, and it just seems awful to have to take insulin bent over in such a squished little smelly room.
The truth is, no one even really notices me doing it. At first I felt self conscious and worried that I would be judged. But now I can comfortably take an insulin injection in a matter of seconds and no one has even batted an eyelid. And who is anyone to judge me anyway? Unless they have to do so themselves, then they don’t understand what it’s like to have to inject insulin into their bodies at certain times and before everything they eat. If you don’t like it, then avert your eyes if you see me taking out my little blue pen.
So, thank you to the waitress in that little cafe in London who didn’t understand the self conscious anxiety of a young teenage, newly diagnosed, diabetic who needed some privacy. I can now easily and confidently inject whenever and wherever I need to.