my boss keeps drawing her blood in front of me

A reader writes:

I started a new job yesterday, and so far it seems to be going well. It’s a very small office, only three people including me, but I’m getting along with my coworkers and acclimating. There’s only one thing that’s really bugging me, and I have no idea how to approach it tactfully.

My boss (the executive director) has type I diabetes. Sometimes in the middle of a discussion, she’ll take out her lancet and check her blood sugar. She’ll do it without pausing in the conversation and it seems quite routine and natural for her. Unfortunately, I have a bit of a problem with blood and needles, and I get extremely uncomfortable when she does this, even if I look away. Is there any way I can diplomatically ask her to wait until after our conversations to check her blood sugar or (if she needs to check on a specific schedule) to give me a warning so I can leave the office for 30 seconds? Or would it be too disruptive for me to leave in the middle of a conversation?

Is it reasonable for you to just look away when she does it, and to just explain that you get queasy around blood and needles?

My (admittedly limited) understanding of diabetes is that when people need to check their blood sugar, they often need to check it right then — and that waiting until a meeting is over wouldn’t be practical or possibly even safe. It’s also probably already a hassle for her (and managing diabetes in general is a challenge) so ideally you’d want to find a solution that doesn’t make it more of a pain for her.

I suspect the best approach would be to be matter-of-fact and maybe a little self-deprecating about it: “I have a crazy fear of blood and needles, so please don’t mind me looking away while you do that,” said in an upbeat tone.

If looking away isn’t going to be enough and you really need to leave the room, then just be direct — “Hey, I know this is ridiculous, but I’m insanely queasy around blood and needles. I know you need to test when you need to test, so I’m going to pop out quickly if that’s okay.” (Of course, you may not really think it’s ridiculous, but I think phrasing it that way is your best bet for making it a non-issue. If the two of you can joke about it, it becomes way less awkward.)

What ideas do others have?

You can read an update to this post here.

{ 59 comments… read them below }

  1. Carrie*

    I agree. Make it your problem, not your bosses problem. Type 1 diabetes can be very challenging to manage. Kudos to your boss for keeping on top of it. For her it’s as normal as someone else blowing their nose or applying chapstick during a meeting. So make it your issue and suggest a solution that puts the burden on you. One more thought: You may get used to it after awhile. I struggled with this when my friends young daughter was diagnosed. Not only did I get used to it, but I was able to check the child’s blood myself when she was in my care. So maybe it will start to feel less awful to you over time.

  2. Kyle*

    While I agree with the advice provided so far, don’t be so quick to reduce the OP’s concern to simple fear. If I ‘m exposed to someone who’s bleeding I have a serious physical reaction. It’s may not seem logical (and it really annoys me) but it’s real. Some people can’t stand on a ladder, some can’t ride in an elevator… this is similar. I’ve read stats that 10% of people can react in a similar way.

    I just wanted to chime in to offer the OP Support. I’m sure this is something that person will be happy to work with you on, but if it’s not it’s OK to push a bit harder for some accommodation.

    1. Tristan Phillips*

      You’re having psychological reaction that manifests itself physically. If you were having a truly physiological reaction someone could perform the same action without your knowledge and you would have the same physical reaction. Sorry to be pedantic about it, but it is an important distinction that leads to different solutions.

      As a devout needlephobe where even the thought of needle drawing blood makes me pause I’d still own the problem as the issue is mine and not the person with Type 1 diabetes. Explain to your boss that you “squick” at the sight of needles and blood and will happily leave the room/turn around/whatever so long as you get a brief warning.

      1. Julie*

        I’d still own the problem as the issue is mine and not the person with Type 1 diabetes.

        Absolutely. I never considered doing otherwise.

  3. Julie O'Malley*

    As long as there’s not the least hint of “OMG, how could you do that in public!?” in your tone, I don’t think it will be a big deal. (And I didn’t get that from the question.)

    If you’re both reasonable people, the boss will likely be as eager to not offend you as you are to not stop her from doing what she needs to do.

    1. Anonymous*

      By the way, will all due respect,why SHOULD you do it in the public? There are certain things that… we just don’t do. And sorry, the supervisor could go to the washroom and do the test first and then talk to you. We don’t have to be subdued to all the things humans would do, just because they can. Unless you’re on disability, but then that.. has to be discussed.

  4. Hannah*

    All you have to do to test your blood sugar is prick your finger and squeeze a drop of it onto a test strip. I’m in no way saying that the OP is wrong to feel queasy about it, but the title of this post is pretty inaccurate. If someone was actually drawing their own blood that would be horrifying.

    To me, testing blood sugar is less gross than someone blowing their nose in the middle of a conversation, since a smaller and more controlled quantity of bodily fluid is involved. It would probably come off as rude to tell someone their nose blowing is grossing you out, so the OP is pretty lucky she has the “needles make me queasy” excuse. I don’t think anyone would be offended if she just lets her boss know.

  5. Kristin*

    I agree with the OP here- I would have a lot of trouble being in the same room during that, especially during a meeting! I know it’s important to manage diabetes, but aren’t there hygiene-related concerns (for the person having blood drawn/the other people in the room) with drawing blood in a public space like that?

    I honestly don’t know much about how it’s done, but I do know that seeing, thinking, and simply reading about needles/drawing blood makes my arms tingle in a very uncomfortable way. Some people really do have physical reactions to this sort of thing.

    1. Julie O'Malley*

      A testing “lancet” has no visible needle, and there’s no syringe or anything. From what I understand, it’s just a tiny point that pricks the fingertip and causes a small drop of blood to squeeze out –nothing that could splash or contaminate anyone. That drop of blood is immediately absorbed and tested. The whole process could probably be performed with the hands in the lap, below desk level, so no one can see it.

      The issue is more of a psychological skeeve-out than a potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

      1. Kristin*

        Thanks for clarifying! That doesn’t sound as bad. I would think that someone might be able to get used to that, or at least be able to look away.

  6. a. brown*

    The OP seems to have gotten through a few meetings so far without vomiting on the conference table, so hopefully looking away will do the trick. People with Diabetes have enough trouble already without having to hide from people.

  7. Anonymous*

    Kristin, it’s a pinprick, and I bet it’s a lot less hazardous to your health than being around someone with a cold.

    Everyone has someone that makes them uncomfortable. I myself am particularly grossed out by women who flip their long hair around or play with it in public. Just, eeww. Some things we just have to learn to deal with, or become hermits.

    1. Kristin*

      Yeah, it doesn’t sound as bad as I initially thought. My knowledge of diabetes treatment comes from the Babysitters Club books about Stacey. I’m pretty sure it’s evolved a lot since the mid-80s. :)

      But then again, just reading this post and these comments make me a little uncomfortable (I’ve never liked needles, but when I was 17, I was in the hospital for 3 days and had to have my blood tested every 3 hours, and it was traumatizing for me. I don’t even get flu shots because needles make so so uncomfortable).

      I agree with the person who said it could be likened to breastfeeding/pumping- yes, it’s a medical necessity, but people shouldn’t be expected to have it going on in front of them if it makes them uncomfortable.

      1. Cube Ninja*

        Playing devil’s advocate a little bit here, your analogy isn’t the best one – many states have laws specifically permitting breastfeeding in public areas, so yes, people should be expected to have it going on in front of them. It certainly isn’t the boss’ fault for having diabetes, but I think testing in the middle of a professional conversation in an office environment isn’t what I’d consider appropriate.

  8. J. Kent*

    As someone who suffers from the same problem, I have a LOT of sympathy for you. I would be really upset and frustrated if I started a new job and was confronted with my anxiety problem like that. I don’t think those who don’t experience irrational anxiety can really understand it. For me, it’s very physical—dizziness, nausea, racing heart—and sometimes triggered by things that I don’t even think will bother me. My advice would be to give it a little time, and start thinking about coping strategies. I’ve never really bothered to deal with my anxiety because generally I can just avoid it, but that’s not an option for you anymore. Maybe you could start therapy to learn how to control the anxiety. Taking medication just until you get accustomed to it might be a good option—I recently had surgery and was able to get an IV without totally losing it thanks to some Ativan. Good luck!

  9. Henning Makholm*

    Some facts, for those curious, based on my own experience with using two different blood sugar meters:

    The pointy bit itself is fully enclosed in a spring-loaded pricking device. You touch the device to your fingertip, push the button and the needle jabs quickly out into the skin and then back into its casing. This happens too quickly to see even if you fire the pricker into the air and look specifically for the needle popping out. (Thus, someone queasy about *needles* in particular should have no need to fear — though it is understandable if they haven’t watched the procedure closely enough to notice this).

    After pricking, a bit of blood flows through the cut and accumulates on the skin. You need to wait until about a 1 mm bead of blood has accumulated, which may take several seconds (if you’re unlucky with the prick it may take some massaging of the finger to squeeze enough blood out). A millimeter is not a lot, but certainly enough to be visible, so someone who cannot abide the sight of blood would reasonably want at least to look away for this.

    Next, touch the business end of the blood sugar meter to the blood drop. The blood seeps into the meter by capilary action and starts analyzing it. After 10-15 seconds (depending of model) it displays a numerical result.

    If there is any visible amount of blood left after the meter has taken what it needs, wipe it off with a tissue. The bleeding will generally have stopped by itself at this point; otherwise press another finger against the wound for 3-5 seconds. The skin is *amazingly* quick to heal such a small laceration.

    As for hygiene, unless the patient is deadly ill and shouldn’t be at work under any circumstances, blood is practically sterile in comparison to the bacterial fauna already present on one’s hands from handling, say, money and doorknobs. There is zero possibility of drops of blood being launched into the air. Blowing one’s nose must be a millionfold more likely way to transmit an disease.

  10. Anon*

    Man up (or woman up) and get over your hypersensitivity. And diabetics typically don’t use needles, just tiny lancets that are smaller than a thumbtack so that excuse is out the window. Have some sympathy for the poor girl who has to follow a strict regimen of keeping up with it for her health. Stop being such a wuss.

    1. Anonymous*

      Oh, now, come on! The OP of this thread wasn’t being judgmental or a sissy – merely expressing some discomfort.

  11. Julie*

    Hi everyone. I’m the OP here, so I thought I’d chime in with a couple of responses to the comments already posted above.

    First: I know diabetes is extremely difficult to manage. I have several friends who are diabetic (both type I and type II), and I definitely don’t envy them. The subject of my email was, “How can I ask my manager not to check her blood sugar in front of me?” which has a different — and I hope more understanding — nuance from what AAM used for this post.

    Second: I know and understand that the lancet doesn’t use a long needle or anything, and that the blood involved is quite small.

    Third: I’m horrible with blood. Not to the point of vomiting, but certainly it raises my heartbeat and makes me feel extremely uncomfortable. This is true even of horribly-fake movie blood, like in Monty Python or bad B-rate science fiction movies. Blood or drawing blood gives me a completely involuntary, unwanted reaction. It’s manageable, but only just.

    Fourth: I do look away, and it helps somewhat. It would help more if I could politely step out of the room for a moment. I was looking for a polite way to ask without being rude.

    Thanks very much, Alison, for your great advice, and thanks to everyone for their myriad viewpoints on this issue. (Really: everything from “I feel your pain” to “man up and get over it.”) Clearly I’ve hit a nerve (no pun intended.)

  12. Kimberlee Stiens*

    I agree with AAM, with an additional bit: I really think something like that should have been brought up before you were hired, so you would have the option of taking the job or not based on it.

    I think it would skeeve me out too. And it wouldn’t be a dealbreaker. But it would have been polite of the person to say “I’m a diabetic, so you should know that I’ll often have to test my blood sugar in the middle of coversations and meetings. There isn’t a visible needle, but there will be a small amount of blood. Is this OK for you?” Then you could have had a conversation BEFORE the fact about the best way to handle it.

    To me, its a little like breastfeeding in public. Yeah, I understand you gotta do what you gotta do. But that doesn’t mean you should just whip it out without regard for the feelings of those around you. I’m frankly a bit miffed that the first time she tested herself in front of you (and presumably seeing your reaction!) she didn’t immediately say “Oh! I’m sorry! I have Diabetes and…” See conversation above.

    1. Richard*

      I think it’s somewhat unreasonable to expect a manager to announce their diabetes to a potential employee, in the same way that it wouldn’t be reasonable for an employee to announce this at interview stage just in case somebody at the company has a fear of needles – legal issues aside, it’s rather awkward, and whilst it’s a manageable condition, it’s not something I’d expect to be discussed during an interview by either party.

      This said, I think it would make sense to discuss this with your manager at this point; explain your fear of blood and needles, and approach a method of managing the situation; either by your manager perhaps refraining from testing herself in front of you, or by you leaving the room; given the fact that this is a life-threatening medical condition, this decision should lay entirely with the manager, however, since she is simply carrying out preventative measures to ensure that her condition is under control, as she should.

  13. Anonymous*


    That’s almost like asking someone to disclose in an interview they like to chew on their cuticles during a meeting…

    I understand that this situation must be difficult for someone who suffering from some sort of phobia but most people would stop noticing this three weeks into the job. As someone already pointed out, for someone who has diabetes, checking the blood sugar is probably like applying chapstick – something you don’t really think about. And I would bet there is someone out there who can’t stand to see people applying chapstick… I would not expect someone with diabetis to explain / apologize for it again and again, especially since most people are not bothered by the blood sugar check.

    So I do believe the OP should approach this as mainly her problem, same as if she had a phobia to people chewing cuticles or playing with their hair. At the same time, I think she can reasonably expect to be allowed to leave the room once she explains her problem to her boss.

    That said, breastfeeding in public freaks me out, too…

  14. Anonymous*

    Seriously, if she was slitting her wrists in front of you, I get it, but a little prick of blood, about what a papercut could do to you….? This is slightly insane, and hypersensitive…good luck with the rest of life, I’m sure you’ll see worse!

  15. Kimberlee Stiens*

    @ Anonymous: I disagree that “most” people would stop noticing. I don’t think I’d be bothered by it, but I’d never stop noticing.

    And people with fears/discomforts of needles and blood are waaaaaaay more common than most posters on here seem to think! This isn’t like one anomolous person who would have a problem. And I’m not saying the diabetic is being rude in checking their blood sugar. But there are definitely enough people that would be uncomfortable with that being done in front of them that if it were me, I would talk to new hires about it right away, so there would be no awkwardness for anyone.

    1. Matt J*


      I am one of those people who does not like needles. To the point that I get light headed and feel like I am going to be driving the porcelain bus, but I have to say that saying that the boss should disclose this in the interview and that should actually be a deal breaker is like saying that she should announce that she has a baby and will be feeding the baby sans bottle. There are people who would be uncomfortable with that, but it is natural. A person testing their blood sugar is natural. Quite better than the boss that I had who did not test his blood sugar and passed out once in the middle of the office. I say “Man up and look away. Kudos to the boss for not retreating to the bathroom stall to test her blood”.

  16. Anonymous*

    I’m not afraid of heights or snakes, therefore you’re just being silly or cowardly if you are? That’s not right. Different things bother different people. I’m with AAM – ask the manager politely. If she’s courteous she won’t wish to cause someone discomfort, especially if at worst it means missing 30 seconds of a meeting.

  17. Claire*

    Ask if she can give you a ten-second warning to step out, or puke on the conference room floor. Either one. ;)

  18. FrauTech*

    I’m with the people who say the OP needs to suck it up here. I have irrational fears too so I know all about it. In fact, some affected my workplace behavior. I have an irrational fear of bugs/spiders and we had an infestation last summer. One particular slightly large but completely harmless pest found its way into the bathrooms. I work in male dominated industry, and am female, and there just wasn’t a whole lot of people using my same bathroom and dealing with them. I was afraid to ask for “help” or explain myself because knowing the guys I work with they’d start leaving dead ones on my desk or start catching them and throwing them at me.

    I think you should explain yourself to the boss privately without specifically asking her to do anything and see what she says. Maybe she can give you a few seconds heads up, you look away, and have a set, pleasant and somewhat complex thing you then think about when your turn away to keep your mind off of it. I think it’s great your office culture allows her to deal so openly with her medical issue as she needs to and she might also have suggestions for some way to help you out. My father was afraid of needles and blood and then he got older onset diabetes. So you never know what she had to overcome to be that casual about it as well.

    1. Julie*

      I think it’s great your office culture allows her to deal so openly with her medical issue…

      I should probably re-emphasize that the office is only three people, including me, and she’s the boss. “Office culture” is more or less whatever she says it is.

      That said, your point is well-taken.

  19. Kelly O*

    Full disclosure here – I hate needles. I hate blood. It smells weird, and even though I donate blood as regularly as I can, I have to look the other way to do so.

    I also had gestational diabetes when pregnant with my daughter, and had to check my own blood sugar a minimum of four times a day, and those times were non-negotiable.

    I hated it. I was embarrassed to do it at work because I know it makes others uncomfortable. Heck, it made me uncomfortable. But it was an issue of my health and my daughter’s health versus feeling uncomfortable (both with needing to do this in public and my own personal aversion to needles and blood.)

    I guess I’m concerned with so many people saying you need accommodations made for you feeling queasy around the blood. As others have pointed out, most likely it is a drop of blood we’re talking about here – maybe two or three. The blood is minimal. The lancet is completely concealed in the device that pricks your finger (half the time I had to keep adjusting mine because it wouldn’t even draw properly on the low setting I tried using.) If she’s been doing this for some time, she’s probably way quicker than me, and I could do the whole process in a minute or so, from prick to putting things away.

    I realize to you this is a huge deal and you feel like you need to stop a meeting to step out – have you seriously thought about how that’s going to make you come across in a meeting? I don’t mean to sound cold about this (again, also not liking the needles/blood thing) but your boss is doing her best to maintain normalcy and keep things going without needing special accommodation for her very unavoidable physical condition. I guess I would think holding your breath and looking at your notes for a minute would be less intrusive than making the “look at me” gesture of getting up and leaving.

    Because face it, like it or not people are going to ask “Gosh, why does OP always leave in meetings?” That’s going to be viewed as seriously high-maintenance by a lot of people. Like it or not, that’s one of the things that needs to at least be considered before you go to your boss to discuss your problem with the things she needs to do to, you know, keep her feet attached to her body. Is it really, truly, sincerely worth it? That’s what I would ask myself before I brought it up.

    1. Dataceptionist*

      I also had gestation diabetes a d this response is right along what I was thinking also
      you leaving the room willbecome a problem in the same way her leaving the room and disrupting the meeting would be a problem

  20. KellyK*

    I think that decent bosses will make accommodations for severe phobias. Only a heartless jerk would put someone with a fear of heights on the eighth floor next to a window, for example. So, I like AAM’s suggestion of discussing it with her lightly and making it your issue. I also think that if she doesn’t mind your leaving during meetings, you can do things to minimize disruptions–leave quietly, sit near the door, etc.

  21. The gold digger*

    I am getting queasy just reading about this. I can’t watch people getting shots or blood drawn in the movies. I pass out when my blood is taken. Even a tiny drop from my fingertip for typing because for some reason, they never believe me that I am O negative. I know my own blood type! Why would I lie?

    I have even passed out 15 minutes after the fact:

    Trust me, this is not a choice. I don’t enjoy this.


    If it were my boss drawing blood, I would just tell her that I have a little problem and explain that’s why I would be turning away, although even just knowing it’s going on makes me dizzy. I would just suck it up because what else am I going to do?

    (That said, I am the one who runs to the accident victim, yelling, “Call 911!” Open wounds don’t bother me. Just needles.)

  22. fposte*

    I would say that accommodation for diabetes trumps accommodation for reaction to that accommodation. I don’t think it would be any more appropriate to warn a potential hire of this, as suggested upthread, than warn that you have somebody on oxygen or a PICC line. These are things that exist in the world and turn up lots of places we go, and we’re really not entitled to advance warning about them even if we have physical responses to them.

    Not that I don’t understand involuntary reactions to things–I have a flying phobia myself–but that it’s not the job of the job to avoid eliciting our involuntary reactions. It’s our job to manage them. So I would agree with those saying it’s okay to ask if you can modify your behavior in response to her testing, but it’s not okay for you to ask her to modify her testing.

  23. Adam Brock*

    I’m a type 1 diabetic and often check my bloodsugar in front of my staff or when I’m in 1:1 conversations. I try not to do it in large meetings, or in serious closed door conversations though.

    For me, I’d appreciate it if you just said you didn’t like the sight of blood, and that it made you uneasy seeing me check my blood sugar. That way your boss can be conscientious about when she checks it, and do her best to respect your uncomfortableness.

  24. Slaten*

    1. It’s extremely rude of your boss (or anyone) to do this in front of other people! For heavens sake people go to the REST ROOM!

    2. Having said that… you can’t teach people manners so basically you’re just going to have to man up and deal with it. At least until your probation period is over.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t think it’s rude. I think the problem is that she can’t always easily do this in private, because it must be done at specific times, including in the middle of meetings. Given what she’s dealing with, ideally people would accommodate her, rather than asking her to accommodate them.

      1. KellyK*

        I agree. I also think that it would be more disruptive–and less considerate of employees’ time, so ruder– for her to leave in the middle of meetings than for her to just prick her finger while getting on with the task at hand.

    2. Richard*

      Good lord, when was ensuring that a life-threatening medical condition is properly managed considered rude?

  25. BA*

    I too, am a type 1 diabetic, and for the last 20+ years checking my blood sugar levels I have never used a needle. If the writer has witnessed this so often, then he/she must have noticed there is NO needle involved. So much for the exageration. As another writer clarified, the lancing device is very discreet and you don’t see the little lancet. Fine, you have an issue seeing blood…I understand that. Just don’t stare at the bosses finger…won’t that work for you? Just make eye contact and it’ll be over very quickly.

    1. Emily*

      To be fair, the OP wrote this question on the second day at the office. Long enough to feel uncomfortable; not long enough to have examined the procedure closely.

      Full disclosure: I’m so squeamish myself that I have skimmed over most of these comments to avoid any descriptive imagery. Just thinking about the b-l-o-o-d makes my heart pitter-patter in a bad way. I think both the boss and the OP need to exercise discretion in performing the test and responding to the test. Can’t there be a compromise?

  26. Marie*

    I feel the OP’s boss should have given a heads-up regarding this issue – it would have been a classier way of doing it. While I have no fear or discomfort about blood, needles do tend to freak me out.

      1. Marie*

        Some diabetics do use needles, and while I am aware of the urgency of checking blood if one has diabetes, I thinks it’s tacky and rude to routinely do this in front of others.

        1. fposte*

          But this one’s using a lancet. So she’s not using a needle.

          I don’t actually agree with you that the supervisor is being tacky for doing this publicly, and I agree with those who consider it preferable to her having to run off to the bathroom all the time. I *can* see that the OP might have liked to be given a heads-up, but that didn’t happen, and now she needs to deal with the situation as it is. Which it sounds like she’s working out a way to do.

          Basically, I see this as on a par with a dog phobic who’s found out there’s a guide dog in the office. Finding ways for the phobic to work around the problem are reasonable, so long as they’re not curtailing the workflow of the person negotiating the disability.

        2. theresa*

          Perhaps you are confusing checking blood sugar levels (with a lancet) with treatment (with insulin, via a needle). Diabetics can test their blood quickly and discreetly. Although insulin injections are a bit more involved and might best be done in private, I wouldn’t go so far as to call doing either [in public] rude or tacky. Especially in a potentially life threatening situation.

  27. Amy*

    As a Diabetic, I need to check my sugar levels. To see a question like this bothers me. Personally for me, I need to check my sugar levels when it needs to be checked. I also need to give myself insulin as well when it needs to be done. When doing multiple shots a day, you dont always have time to excuse yourself to the bathroom plus half of the bathrooms are not clean enough to take care of yourself. Checking sugar levels takes 2 seconds and no needles are expose. I really wished people knew more about Diabetes (all types) as it is a mainstream disease these days.

    1. Julie*

      Hi Amy,

      As the OP, I thought I’d address this. You’ll note that in my message to Alison, I never said that I wanted my manager to leave the room or use the bathroom. (Though I know others have suggested this in the comments.) My specific request was that either my manager wait until after a meet to check her sugars, or — if this was impossible, as you and others have suggested — to give me warning so that *I* could leave the room.

      I have seen people use their lancets to check blood sugar many times. My manager is not the only diabetic I know. Despite the lack of needles and the very small amount of blood involved, I need to at least look away, and feel more comfortable if I can leave the room entirely. This has absolutely nothing to do with the diabetic, and everything to do with my own irrational discomfort, and I’ve never claimed otherwise.

      I hope this clears things up, at least for my original email that Alison kindly posted.

  28. Anonymous*

    Are you for real? Do people with Down’s Syndrome make you uncomfortable as well, especially if they drool? Do you not let them bag your groceries at the market? A mother shouldn’t be allowed check her diabetic child’s blood sugar in a restaurant, or administer a life-saving shot in case of an allergic reaction, even when her child isn’t BREATHING? Do you think people with disabilities shouldn’t be allowed to work or appear in public? Checking her blood sugar is a NECESSITY and her right to do so is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. If YOU cant handle it, perhaps you should re-think YOUR right to hold a job or appear in public!

  29. Jesse*

    At work, one of my supervisors is always trying to pick a fight with me, today she flipped me off and got in my face so i got back in her face. Our GM came over to us and sent me home but she didnt get in any trouble. What would this situation be considered as? And if i lose my job over it, could i sue?

  30. Anonymous*

    This post reminds of when I was in University and a fellow student checked his blood sugar and injected himself with insulin during class. I almost barfed, as I really, really hate blood and needles too. I didn’t sit by him anymore :P.

  31. Jesica*

    My spouse has type 1 and to be honest your reaction is very offensive….. It’s not like it’s a lot of blood it’s a drop…. And u can’t even see the needle…. I know my husband has no choice when to check his sugar if he is feeling low walking into another room could drop it so low he could pass out…..what you are asking is like asking a cancer patient to wear a wig around u cause bald heads bother you…. It’s a drop of blood…. If one drop of blood bothers you then I guess you can’t even walk into an er or watch tv….

    1. Julie*

      Hi Jesica. OP here. Please note that I wasn’t asking my boss to go to another room, just to give me a heads-up so that I could walk away for 30 seconds or so. I totally understand that when she needs to check her sugars, she needs to do it immediately, and I would never dream of telling her to wait on my account. All I want is to not be in the same room when it happens.

      And, yes, I really can’t deal with the ER and a lot of shows on TV. Any time there’s any sort of needle on a TV show or movie, I close my eyes. I can’t watch doctor-based TV shows. Even super-fake blood like in Monty Python bothers me.

  32. Steph*

    Couldn’t resist revisiting this post and the comments, as it’s an issue that comes up a lot for people with Type 1 diabetes.

    It reminds me of a letter that ran in my college newspaper years ago from a woman who was in a popular political science lecture course. People would shoot her dirty looks when she broke into loud coughing fits. She explained in the letter that it’s because she had cystic fibrosis, and that the painful coughing was much worse for her than it was for them.

    Looking over these comments, I get that some people want others to understand that their reactions to blood or needles are real and troubling to them. But imagine if you were diagnosed with diabetes tomorrow (it could happen to anyone – even you; it’s a disease that knows no needle phobias) and had to inject insulin or test your blood sugar multiple times every day in order to stay in good health and have any chance at a normal life expectancy. Trust us – it’s worse for us than it is for you, so suck it the eff up and try to muster a little empathy and understanding for people struggling with an impossibly challenging chronic condition, the nuances of which are largely invisible to others, making it grossly misunderstood.

    It isn’t always realistic or reasonable to stop what you’re doing and go to a private place to test your blood sugar or inject insulin. Fortunately for you – if you don’t have diabetes – your pancreas and endocrine system are working away happily throughout this meeting and that lunch and that dinner, raising and lowering your blood sugar perfectly as you eat and drink whatever you want. Keeping that blood sugar at such perfect levels protects the small capillaries in your internal organs such as your kidneys and eyes, so thank your pancreas for its service! The human body is a beautiful, amazing machine. Unfortunately, we’ll never be able to perfectly replicate what your body does easily on its own, but we have to try, every day, every hour, every minute. We do all the math – counting carbohydrates, administering correct doses of insulin – that your body does on its own.

    People with type 1 diabetes need to feel less shame about having to take these necessary actions, not more shame. Thanks go to everyone who commented here in support of that goal!

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