dinner out- wish the floor would open up and swallow me

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dinner out- wish the floor would open up and swallow me

Postby Moneypenny » Tue Apr 21, 2009 6:04 pm

Hi everyone,

I just needed to share what happened to me last night and to see what you think.

I was at a 5.30pm work dinner at a table with 4 others. One of the guests was our Australian agent and the rest were colleagues of mine including my boss. The restaurant was one of those hard to really work out what's on the menu that is suitable to eat types- some dishes had no carbs, others I didn't even know what the things were!

I scanned the menu and chose a chicken mushroom risotto dish knowing I'd be fine and I'd skip the breads when they were brought to the table as I didn't want to over do the carbs. (At the moment I don't have a carb/insulin ratio as I've been really unstable).

The breads were cleared away and I took that as my cue to have my domperidone tablet for my gastroparesis thinking it might be about 1/2 an hour before the main arrived. (My timing was good!)

Here's what happened- boss at other end of the table yells out oh KB (my work nick name) is that your contraceptive you're taking? Me...takes seep breath, scrambling thinking of what to say I replied no that's my meds to help make my tummy work . (Good answer I thought, non commital got rid of the comment nicely without too much fuss).

As time went on I grabbed my meter, tested on my edge of lap out of sight and put insulin pen on the table next to my knife . Colleague directly across from me says...you know what I think that looks like KB- she picked it up and then put it down and smiled. (I'm thinking okay it's a pen- doh !). And she comes out with.... a vibrator.

Talk about embarrassing, disgusted and wanting the ground to open up and swallow me up I had no idea what to say. I was mortified.

I was sitting next to our agent who had no idea I have diabetes and as far as I was concerned didn't need to know and here I was being made fun of my medical conditions twice in a dinner.

So deep breath no 2 and desperately scrambling of what to say I smiled and said that's my insulin which I need before my meal. From there my boss then announced to everyone how pleased she was for me that I was trialing for two weeks two less doses a day. (I have been on 7 mdi's so trialing 5 at the moment which is nice!) The conversation then went on at a level I could handle as our agent didn't know anything about type 1 so I found myself explaining what happened to me pre -diagnosis and the fundamental differences between type one and two- along with comments from the boss.

Honestly I felt uneasy and that this was so unnecessary and inappropriate and actually unprofessional. Diabetes did not need to be the topic of conversation at the dinner and I certainly didn't want to be talking about it with these women (one who was a stranger).

The problem is that my boss has made a big announcement about me needing to shoot up at every meal I've been at with her. I have worked with my boss for over 10 years & we don't get the opportunity to dine out often. She would be mortified if she knew how I hated being taunted like that so I do think I need to talk to her about it some time. It wasn't her that said about my pen looking like a vibrator though.

Any ideas how I could handle it and any thoughts on how inappropriate this all was? I guess maybe they felt relaxed around me but I would have to put this down as one of my worst diabetic (un-hypo) moments in the 25 years I've had D.

Looking forward to hearing what you think.
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Postby agt1950 » Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:16 pm

Hi MoneyPenny,

I'm a diabetic or person with diabetes melitus. This means that I take tablets and have to inject insulin every mow and again. I also have to test my BGL every now and again. I've accepted that this is what I have to do. I do try to be discrete, but do not go out of my way to hide the fact I have diabetes, and have to do these things every now and again. I couldn't care less who knows that I have diabetes. If they are uncomfortable with MY diabetes that's THEIR problem, not mine.
Like I said, I've accepted it and moved on, what they do or don't do is up to them.

Cheers

Allan
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Postby artemis » Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:25 pm

Moneypenny, sounds like you handled it well, but your colleagues need to have a reality check. It's simply not good manners to put you in a position where you feel ill at ease, especially when a stranger is present. Perhaps a chat with your boss is in order saying that you'd appreciate it if no comments were made. It's part of your life that you need to handle in your own way, and would she (and others) please not draw attention to it.

It could have been worse. I once had a massive hypo at an office dinner (my DH's office) because the food took so long to arrive.

As a fellow gp sufferer, perhaps you could take the domperidone before you get to the restaurant. I find that it makes very little difference whether I take it one hour before eating or 10 minutes before. Maybe that's just me.
Jane
Infundo ergo sum.
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Postby Jen (nli) » Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:26 pm

Hi Monneypenny,

I was pretty disgusted by their behaviour actually! The thing is - if the boss starts saying those sort of inappropriate things (and I do think its highly unprofessional and inappropriate for any colleague to shout out "is that your contraceptive pill you're taking?" at a work dinner) - then you can bet employees will follow (hence the vibrator comment later on). Your employer has set the scene - and everyone will find themselves following that. Your boss has power - and she's pretty darn oblivious to how to use that power in a professional way!

There are two levels to this. One is - its bringing sex into the discussion when its inappropriate and irrelevant. I'd be furious about this point alone if it had been colleagues of mine at a professional dinner. (I'm open to jokes and can be as "blue" and rude as the next person but not when its a professional dinner with a guest!).

Secondly, because its so obviously NOT about sex, its forcing you to explain yourself. You know - we don't have to explain ourselves! Artemis has put it really well - its part of your life that you have to handle in your own way - and it would be good (polite / respectful) if people didn't draw unnecessary attention to it (or poke fun at it). And yes - I think your boss is poking fun of you. Its not funny.

Everyone is different but I'd certainly meet up with my boss (probably first thing the next day) and say "look - I didn't appreciate the comments last night when I took my medication. To say "is that your contraceptive" is not professional, and it forces me to explain myself." - and then talk about what you would like to have happen (maybe for them not to draw attention to your actions?). Talk about the impact it had on you..."I felt really embarrassed for the rest of the dinner - and I think that comment was very insensitive". - blah blah blah...

This reminded me of a situation I found myself in recently at a dinner with people I didn't really know very well. I went to the toilet and when I returned, my 3 year old began to loudly question me on what I did and why - and she kept going - through two courses of eating - she kept asking me these questions!! Much everyone's amusement and my displeasure. The difference is - she is 3. I'm sure your boss is somewhat older and really should realise that some things are not up for public ridicule. God - how would she like it if you shouted out some personal thing about her?

Sorry if I am being a bit sensitive. I just can empathise with the situation and I get angry that some people can be so insensitive. However, if you don't say anything then they will think its perfectly fine for those kind of remarks to continue...
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Postby StaceyP » Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:21 pm

Sorry- but I think if it was such a professional dinner and you didn't want anyone to know you were a diabetic... Then you should of maybe excused yourself and went to the ladies???

I have never been that uncomfortable with my diabetes, it is who I am and I would not put myself in that situation, if I didn't want people to know. I would remove myself, do my thing and then return to the table- No one would ever know.

I do not believe your boss acted in an appropriate way- but again you were the one to put it out there at the dinner table, for someone to comment about. Maybe your boss was just trying to break the ice a bit and explain a bit about what you do.

Sorry if this is not what you wanted to hear but I am very black and white in regards to this and have been in many uncomfortable situations myself over the past 25 years. I just put it down to experience and learn what not to do next time.
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Postby Caraline » Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:52 am

They just sound like an ill mannered bunch of people. I do not see why you feel embarassed. They are the ones who should feel embarrassed. In a social setting you do not have to explain what or why you are taking medication, nor do you need to hide to test or BG or take your insulin.

My response to the whole situatiion would have just been silence & a very chilly stare.
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Postby Kezza » Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:51 pm

StaceyP wrote:Sorry- but I think if it was such a professional dinner and you didn't want anyone to know you were a diabetic... Then you should of maybe excused yourself and went to the ladies???


This is totally not the point. It is not so much that they commented about the diabetes, but that they did it in a totally inappropriate way.

I personally think that your colleagues were completely out of line, and I would be having some words about it. You were totally justified in being embarassed. Is it possible they are trying to make you feel comfortable/accepted in doing D stuff in front of them, and just being way too heavy handed? I've had the 'shooting up' line used by friends multiple times which I take that way. Or opposite, that they are slightly uncomfortable with the injecting and are trying to cover that?

Either way, it's not OK they are making you uncomfortable, definitely if it were me a chat with the boss would be in order.
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Postby deviation72 » Wed Apr 22, 2009 3:31 pm

StaceyP wrote:Sorry- but I think if it was such a professional dinner and you didn't want anyone to know you were a diabetic... Then you should of maybe excused yourself and went to the ladies???


Stacey, it is clear from the original post that her colleagues (apart from the agent) already knew about the diabetes and that she isn't embarrassed by her diabetes at all. It was the sexualised (and frankly stupid) comments that offended Moneypenny. They were terrible comments, and highly inappropriate at a work function.
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Postby yondi » Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:13 pm

Caraline wrote:They just sound like an ill mannered bunch of people. I do not see why you feel embarassed. They are the ones who should feel embarrassed. In a social setting you do not have to explain what or why you are taking medication, nor do you need to hide to test or BG or take your insulin.



I agree
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Postby yondi » Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:28 pm

Caraline wrote:They just sound like an ill mannered bunch of people. I do not see why you feel embarassed. They are the ones who should feel embarrassed. In a social setting you do not have to explain what or why you are taking medication, nor do you need to hide to test or BG or take your insulin.



I agree
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Postby Trevor » Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:46 pm

Hi Moneypenny
My 2 bobs worth
Get your boss on her own & TELL HER to respect your privacy regarding your medical condition or you may be led toward a harrassment claim !!
I feel for you, being very uncomfortable in this situation especially with a stranger in the group, and feeling like you you have to explain your every move. The comment about the vibrator WAS TOTALLY OUT OF ORDER and the person should be counselled (by your boss ???? ) mabe not lol
hope all is resolved in the positive
Trevor
Live long & well with T1, from another OHBT1D
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Postby Lyle » Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:22 am

You have a crappy boss and that vibrator comment is inexcusable. It was as if they were all having their own hypos... maybe the drinks on an empty stomach?

Sorry about your lousy evening. I too would be upset. I think you handled it as well as could be.
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Postby EmmaC » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:33 am

It sounds like the colleagues are rude and not getting enough if everything they see makes them think of sex?

As we weren't there it's hard to know for sure, perhaps StaceyP might have a point. I have known people to really annoy colleagues because they make such a huge deal out of anything that's wrong with them and go on and on and on about it or made a theatrical production out of taking a puff of asthma medication, so after a while colleagues decide to take the piss in the hope that the person will stop going on about their asthma/food allergies or in this case diabetes.

In other cases though people are just nasty, small minded bitches and pick on anything to try to upset or embarrass.

I think the best thing though is the frosty stare as somebody suggested or even better, when the person made the vibrator comment, you fix them with a disdainful look, raise an eyebrow and say "really" or a slight smirk and say "I"m sure it does". You haven't given them the rise they wanted and they're pretty sure that they've been insulted but in such a vague way they can't retaliate.
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Postby KnightProzac » Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:10 pm

Personally I wouldn't of been even slightly bothered by the comments but if I had been I would of tried to beat them at their own game.

In response to the pill I would of said no actually their special tablets for headaches that I get when people ask me stupid questions.

In response to the vibrator comment I would of said wow I've never seen one like that before. You must be really experienced with them.

After a few responses like that I doubt you'll get many people asking any more uncomfortable questions.
Victims aren't we all
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Postby Moneypenny » Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:43 pm

Hi Everyone

Thanks for your varied replies- Knightprozac if only I had your wit!!

I have decided it's too late for me to do anything now- I was too shocked and angry to do anything at the time and needed to gather my thoughts. What annoyed me the most was the sexual references and the fact I need insulin becoming a topic of conversation at the table- neither of those things needed to happen or were appropriate.

What I will do next time I'm invited to a work meal is ask the boos a favour and that is if she wouldn't mind not mentioning the fact I have diabetes. I think this will work.

I'm not keen to go to the bathroom to test, have meds etc as the hygiene of them can never be guaranteed and some bathrooms are plain awful.

Anyway everyone thanks for your thoughts and support.

Moneypenny
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Postby Jessie L » Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:43 am

I, too, struggle with the embarrassment of being diabetic in public.

The position these people put you in was flat out rude. I would speak to them and explain that ridiculing you makes you feel whatever it does - they should walk a mile in your shoes and imagine how difficult things can be for you and that by acting the way they did they not only make you feel awkward but make themselves look like general bafoons (technical terminology).
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Postby KnightProzac » Tue Apr 28, 2009 4:10 pm

I know what you mean about going to the bathroom to do injections. Not particularly hygienic and it's also difficult to do without some kind of table-like surface. One of my friends complained about my injections a couple of times in restaurants and said I should go to the bathroom to do it. I just told him he was jealous because he couldn't have any.

I always try to be discrete for the sake of other people but bathroom injections feel like too much trouble for me.
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Postby LL Lambo » Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:31 pm

Shocked...totally shocked.

Narrow minded, inappropriate, loud mouthed, did I mention inappropriate?

This is why companies have HR departments. This is why laws are made to protect you against crap like this.

Firstly, I'm sorry to you for having to put up with this; next I would absolutely have the disscussion with your Boss about the fact that you felt somewhat (somewhat? kidding right?) uncomfortable about the conversation and that you would prefer it if she didn't mention what is private information in a public setting.

Good luck.
Lambo

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Postby deviation72 » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:05 pm

KnightProzac wrote:I know what you mean about going to the bathroom to do injections. Not particularly hygienic and it's also difficult to do without some kind of table-like surface. One of my friends complained about my injections a couple of times in restaurants and said I should go to the bathroom to do it. I just told him he was jealous because he couldn't have any.


One of my friends made a stupid cringing face when I injected discreetly under the table the first time we had dinner together after I was diagnosed. I told her to get over it and grow up - she's a grown woman, not a child!

if any of my friends told me to use the bathroom to inject they wouldn't know what hit them...
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Postby Be11ydancer » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:30 pm

Injecting in the bathroom is akin to saying that injecting is something shameful or something that should be hidden. I will not hide to inject for anybody. I don't ask people to go to the bathroom while their pancreas kicks in automatically they shouldn't ask me to go to the bathroom to organsie the same function manually.
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