About Non-Diabetics Frightened by Diabetic Needles


I can sympathize with people who squirm when they see blood coming out of a wound or a needle going into someone.  I am one of those sensitive people that sees blood and has to fight from going a little loopy.  When I was younger I had a particularly hard time getting my blood drawn for lab tests because although I wouldn’t look at my arm and the needle and tubing, I would imagine it.  I would imagine the dark red flowing through the tubing and it would just make me want to pass out or throw up.  Sometimes the nurse would have to put a cotton ball soaked in ammonia under my nose because it looked like I was “going to go” (meaning pass out). 

Non-diabetics out there, if this is you, there is something I plead with you NOT to do.  Don’t cringe when you see your diabetic friend or family member prick their finger or give an injection.  Just look away.  You’re a big girl or boy, now.  No need to start hollering about how you get goose bumps or all tingly when you see us do our “freaky” and oh so necessary things. 

If you have a serious phobia towards blood and needles, tell your diabetic friend in private.  I’m pretty sure they will be respectful of you and do their business away from you or they’ll warn you before they do so you don’t have to witness. 

But, please, please know how hurtful it can be when someone does this:

I was at work a while back when I went to eat lunch with a bunch of friends/co-workers.  I did my usual thing and discreetly gave my insulin shot at the table.  Someone noticed and started pointing and drawing attention to him and myself.  He was sliding under the table and being overly dramatic.  He went on about how he couldn’t watch (yet, he never looked away) and he said (while smiling) that what I was doing was hurting him.  My normal self wanted to smack him.  My exposed and self-conscious, embarrassed self felt hurt.  I wanted to cry.  I wanted to scream at him and say, “NO, the person this really hurts is me, because I do it or die, because the needle goes into ME, and because I have to do it in front of people who may react like YOU and cause an entire restaurant to stare at me.”

And at the very moment I thought I might explode into tears, a male co-worker said loudly to the guy causing the scene, “You’ve gotta be kidding me, hey buddy, I need you to man up.”  The guy who was now laughing started excusing himself, “But, I ..I…” -“No excuses, I don’t want to hear them, you need to just man up”, replied my co-worker.  I shot him a big “THANK YOU” look and we all went back to our lunch. 

Maybe I’m saying too much when I say that I felt this guy stood up for all of us diabetics that day.  It’s funny how many of us at work always found him kind of annoying because he was always so outspoken.  Yet, when saying the right things, these people are treasures.  They have the guts to say something loud, in front of a crowd, and deal with whatever happens as a result.  I appreciate their boldness.

And about the people who are squeemish to what we diabetics have to do…people don’t mean to be disrespectful or hurtful with their actions.  They just aren’t thinking.  Or, they’re just thinking about themselves.  So we just need to explain to them that they’re actions are hurtful and that if they truly have a hard time with what we do, we’ll respect that and do what we can to help them. 

I can admit there needs to exist a mutual respect between those who “can’t handle” needles and those who survive by them.

What do you think?

One thought on “About Non-Diabetics Frightened by Diabetic Needles

  1. Maria Morales

    I think you girls have to be already thinking so much about when to check and give an injection that to add the worry of the surroundings is an extra unnecesary one. I know we try to be thoughtful (like when I had to do it to Ana), but sometimes you might need to act quickly.

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