Insulin pens and Restaurants

By re1ndeer Latest Reply 2011-06-17 13:23:46 -0500
Started 2011-01-28 14:49:06 -0600

What do you do, when you go into a restaurant for a meal and you must take an insulin shot.

I normally go to the restroom and give myself my shot then come back to the table to eat.

What do you do?

62 replies

sewinggranny 2011-06-17 13:02:31 -0500 Report

I am so glad I found this conversation it was one of the reasons I did not take my insulin I did not want to go into a nasty bathroom to do it!! Most of the time I now do mine before I go in to eat. If you got desperate there is usually packets of sugar on the table. I have 15 minutes and usually I have food, coffee with cream or if not I try to keep some crackers in my purse. I have given my shots at the table but I am a little self conscious about that so I do it most time before I go in to eat. I do mine most of the time in my stomach or arm when I try to do my leg blood usually spurts out like a fountain so I do not do my legs anymore. Also I test my sugar while hubby is driving to where we are eating and so that works well for me. I have the humalog and lantrus pens so that makes it a little easier also.

willow55 2011-02-06 17:41:23 -0600 Report

I also wiill go to the bathroom but now I give myself the shot in the car before I go into the restaurant. My problem is when I am at work and have to do the whole nine yards- testing then giving myself the injection. I work with younger men and women and they are the ones asking all the questions. Sometimes I feel it's just not worth it.

QueenJeanne 2011-06-17 13:16:43 -0500 Report

Willow, how are you? You and I are in the same motorboat. I work with younger men and women, but I answer the questions and tell them not to be like I was when I was their ages. Exercise, eat a balanced diet full of fruits and veggies, play hard and love life because this can happen to you. It's not fun, but I have to do this so I can stay alive and well. It is worth it because you are a wonderful individual and there are people out there who love you and want you to stay on the planet. I also have to use the insulin pens, but I just inject myself in a kitchen or another room and walk right out. I also inject myself before I go into the restaurant so that I know I have taken my meds and can enjoy the rest of the evening with friends and family. Stop being self-conscience about having diabetes. It will not go away unless you do what you are suppose to. So do it and live life. Life is too darn fun to worry about what we as diabetics have to do to live on the planet earth.

Anonymous 2011-02-02 21:38:31 -0600 Report

25 years years years ago I would not have gone into a restraunt with my meter
& syringe. Now I plop down, stick the closest finger or forearm that's handy &
don't pay the people at the next tables any attention. Once in a blue moon,
somebody will inquire & as long as they are polite, I'll answer any & all questions.
We aren't different or outcast's. It just takes us an extra 30 seconds to get
ready to eat.

chimpanda 2011-02-02 11:37:08 -0600 Report

I've been taking insulin ever since I was diagnosed 21 years ago. At a restraunt I typically just do everything at the table since it's hard for me to balance my meter and pen caps on my lap in the bathroom which I personally find a little gross. There are people who stare sometimes but I try not to let it bother me because what they think of me doesn't matter.

Once when I was in highschool I was at a cheerleading competition all day and needed to take my shots. I did go in the bathroom which was very crowded so I sat on the floor in the corner and got out my needles. One lady in there looked at me as I did this and when I injected her jaw opened and had a look of disgust on her face. I was fet up with her ignorance. I looked right back at her and asked her what she was looking at? I said, "it's not like I'm shooting up drugs in here!" Maybe it wasn't necessary for me to do that but I was in no mood to deal with people's ignorance when it comes to something I have to do to keep myself healthy.

QueenJeanne 2011-06-17 13:23:46 -0500 Report

When you take your shots in the restroom/bathroom don't go into the nasty stall to shot yourself. If you are at Bob Evans or Outback Steakhouse use the sink area. That way you wash your hands and can get the job completed and it sanitary. I always wipe down the sink areas in restaurants anyway because some women are just plain sloppy and I cannot stand all that water getting on my clothes, so I wipe the counter down, wash my hands and stick myself.

re1ndeer 2011-02-02 11:42:11 -0600 Report

Good for you, most people don't understand diabetes. A lot of people are scared of the needles and syringes (most now have pens). Because they think of shots they may have to take, like the flu, etc.

Thanks for your reply.

rebl 2011-02-01 14:49:15 -0600 Report

I cannot imagine anyone going into a filthy restroom to take insulent. I have always done it at the table. I have never had anyone object in my hearing. If they did, I would ignore them.

TrevorH 2011-02-01 14:10:07 -0600 Report

I test, I carb count(or at least guesstimate what I'm going to devour) then I pull up the shirt, dial up the pen and wham! It's done. I have found that in 28 years of dealing with the big D, most people don't care, it's like adolesents, they have the perception everyone is noticing their every move but in reality, no one really cares. Check out my blog where I talk about everything from alcohol and diabetes, to manageing my two type one kids.

Oh, now I have a pump, so it is a little easier, then the pen.


melissa5786 2011-02-01 10:13:58 -0600 Report

Normally I'll test my BG at the table and if I need a shot I'll excuse myself and go into the restroom. I've had a bad experience at a restaurant when it came to taking out my needle and giving myself my insulin. I haven't returned to that restaurant and I filed a complaint about the waitress who said something to me.

I don't see a problem with giving yourself your shot at the table. It's medicine. I understand it makes some people uncomfortable, but it's how we live and we shouldn't be ashamed of it.

I take my shots in front of friends, family and strangers. But, ever since I had an incident I feel like people are staring and judging me when I take it in a crowded restaurant. If there are only a few patrons I see no need to get up from the table as long as the people I'm with are okay with needles. And I always ask before I break out the kit.

re1ndeer 2011-02-01 13:21:46 -0600 Report

I felt like you do about one week ago. I still will tell them that if your squeemish look away, because I need to take my medicine. Some will say use the restroom, and now I say if you don't like what I'm doing, don't watch me.

Thanks for you reply.

CMoe 2011-01-31 17:25:49 -0600 Report

I have had to take insulin shots for 27 years and can take a shot in under 5 seconds with people never noticing at my own table. I also have a little bag that I have that contains my checker. It sits up with a 90 degree angle that works to block it mostly from the rest of the world and it takes less than 3 seconds to test. It is a medicine to save your life no one let alone yourself should feel you need to leave the table. I see more skin on people sitting at other tables than an diabetic needs to take a quick shot!

re1ndeer 2011-01-31 18:53:13 -0600 Report

Thanks for you reply. I've realized that I'm my own person and I need to do, what I need to do where ever I am.

CaliKo 2011-01-31 17:34:57 -0600 Report

Excellent points. I've never noticed anyone giving themselves a shot, and I'm sure it happens sometimes close by.

roshy 2011-01-30 17:10:52 -0600 Report

for the most part i test and inject at the table!!! i think its to awkward to get up and find the restroom , an to be honest most of the time im too hungry to get up and look for it!!

But with friends that i know have a fear around needles i will up and leave!! i think its out of consideration!! i once had a 6 ft 4 man colapse infront of me when he saw my needle!! so if im injecting around new people i never met im sure to ask them that they dont have a phobia around needles or blood! just to make sure that doesnt happen again!!

GabbyPA 2011-01-31 10:25:21 -0600 Report

Wow, I guess I have never seen people so afraid of needles. I mean, I know many of us don't like them, but that is pretty incredible. I never thought of that either.

re1ndeer 2011-01-30 18:22:52 -0600 Report

Thanks for you response, I always use to go into the restroom, but, as of today, I'm now doing it at the table. I inform the people who are with me if they are sqeemish to look away.

mlb2292 2011-01-30 12:46:17 -0600 Report

I usually try to give myself a shot in the car before going into the restaurant. If I am not going to be traveling in a car and know that there is a chance that I will be eating, I carry a bag with my sugar checker and my insulin pens. I take my shot at the table. I have gotten past the stares and comments. I am really suprised at the amount of people that have questions and interest about diabetes.

GabbyPA 2011-01-31 10:26:03 -0600 Report

If you do it in the car and the food is long in coming, what do you do to prevent a low before a meal?

mlb2292 2011-01-31 17:54:24 -0600 Report

If I feel my sugars starting to drop I will ask my waitress or waiter if I can get either some crackers or ask them if I could get some regular pop.

BandonBob 2011-01-31 11:35:46 -0600 Report

Not being on insulin but perhaps looking at it in the future I have a question. How long does one have between taking the shot and eating?

kdroberts 2011-02-01 11:43:46 -0600 Report

It depends on the type of insulin you take. Some you don't need to eat at all, some you need to take it 30 or so minutes before eating and some you can take anywhere between 10-15 minutes before and 10-15 after eating.

roshy 2011-02-01 11:32:54 -0600 Report

i guess it depends on what insulin you use!! im using novorapid and my health nurse advised me to eat in 15 to 30 minutes!! but it depends on your sugar iswell!!! if the're high i could wait longer before eating!!

mlb2292 2011-01-31 17:56:28 -0600 Report

The specialist that I see for my diabetes says that you usually need to eat within a 30 minute time frame after taking a shot. I am not sure how much actual time you have to eat after taking a shot.

re1ndeer 2011-01-30 14:38:12 -0600 Report

I finally took my shot today along testing my BS, at the table, and I didn't care what anyone thought.

grammybear 2
grammybear 2 2011-01-30 07:59:40 -0600 Report

i give my shot right at table no one even notices my grandchildren are so use to me taking a shot that they will remind me in case they did not see me take one.

re1ndeer 2011-01-30 08:17:04 -0600 Report

Thanks for your response. It's great that your granchildren care enough about you, to remind you to take your shot.

alanbossman 2011-01-29 14:03:00 -0600 Report

I give myself a shot right at the table like Kd said if you just act normal nobody pays much attention to what you are doing. And if they do tough we all have to do these shots before we eat.

re1ndeer 2011-01-29 16:37:26 -0600 Report

Thank you for your response, I have decided that it was too much of a hassle to go to the restroom, so from now on I'm going to do it at the table.

Doc 720
Doc 720 2011-01-29 07:27:08 -0600 Report

Y'all gotta check out my discussion from 2 Dec 2010 ( I think the discussion post will hit a harmonic chord here. Might even make some laugh.

However, it does relate some very [Extremely] important information to think about when "Shooting-up" in a public pooper.

Shooting in the car is unacceptable; especially when you may have a 20-60 minute wait.

re1ndeer 2011-01-29 07:38:09 -0600 Report

Just read your discussion, I really liked it, in a way it was kind of funny. I have decided I'm going to inject my insulin at the table. Thanks.

Aaron1977 2011-01-29 06:41:36 -0600 Report

Man-up and do it at the table. LOL! Easy for me to say now - but there was a time when I was very self-conscious about my type 1. I'm past that now and I don't really care what others think. But to be honest - it took a while for me to get past being self-conscious (years).

If you are that concerned - you may want to consider getting an insulin pump. It's very easy to give yourself a "shot" without anyone noticing.

BTW - I usually don't give myself insulin at a table - I try to shoot up at least 30 minutes prior to eating. That usually gives me the best timing of effects of food to insulin.

re1ndeer 2011-01-29 07:14:11 -0600 Report

Thank you, I just feel un-easy that everyone is staring at me.

Doc 720
Doc 720 2011-01-29 07:33:45 -0600 Report

Let them stare, and if they say something, take that time to educate them. If they are unwilling to listen pick up their plate and invite them to the bathroom. They can eat in there while you take your shot. If they deem it clean enough for you to shoot, it is definitely clean enough to eat!

I am not big enough and am broken enough that I could not beat my way out of a wet paper sack; HOWEVER, you can make your point, most folks subtlety, but there is always that one you have to publicly humiliate.

VickieF 2011-01-29 02:18:16 -0600 Report

This is a subject that I had never thought about. I mean I have only been on insulin for almost a month now and the N/P and I are still trying to get the dosage right. Thank you all it is Food for Thought. Pun intended. :)

vgarrison 2011-01-29 00:43:32 -0600 Report

Ok time for my true story…lol

One day I was at a restaurant and went into the bathroom to give myself my shot (I have to use a vial and syringe). Apparently while I was in there someone saw me (I too will not go into the stall, I do it at the sink)…well that person called the police to say that there was someone in the bathroom doing drugs. About 15 minutes later, while I was eating (with my entire family) the police showed up and asked me to answer a few questions…they told me what had happened and asked if they could search my purse…I just burst out laughing and showed them my tattoo that says diabetic…they understood right away what had happened and "allowed" me to go back to my table…I had lost my appitite by that time. We ended up leaving soon after than, and to this day I don't know who it was that called them.

I still take my shots at the sink in the bathroom and will probably always take my shot at the sink…

I am not bitter about the experience, but I don't judge things or people on a quick glance like I used to…

Blessed Be

Aaron1977 2011-01-29 06:33:09 -0600 Report

Wow - great idea with the tattoo about being diabetic. I had never thought of that before. I'd been thinking about getting a tattoo of something and this is better than wearing a med alert bracelet.

re1ndeer 2011-01-29 06:04:13 -0600 Report

Thanks for your response. It some ways your story is a reality to some people who would rather not take insulin because of the stigma.

kdroberts 2011-01-29 06:33:38 -0600 Report

Put it this way, people will only notice you doing it if it looks out of place or you look uncomfortable. In the past I've been sitting it standing next to people talking to them and they haven't noticed me injecting. I've also injected on planes, at baseball, football, basketball and soccer stadium, at halftime when I've been playing sports and various other very public places. No one has ever said anything so far and its been 2.5 years.

re1ndeer 2011-01-29 07:17:09 -0600 Report

Thank you for your reply, my problem seems to be when I have to dial up the insulin untils I need, thats when I get stares from people. That's why I go to the restroom.

0tina0 2011-01-28 22:47:02 -0600 Report

The thought of going to the bathroom for my shot makes me cringe…I do it at the table right through my pants into my belly! No one ever knows…my husband sometimes questions me about if I took it or not. I have one grandson that is really afraid of needles and he has never noticed.

re1ndeer 2011-01-28 22:55:11 -0600 Report

Aren't you afraid that you may pass bacteria on the needle as you press it through your pants? I use the restroom because it is easier for me I take the pen out of my purse and proceed to inject myself, in whatever location I'm doing that day on my body.

0tina0 2011-01-28 23:22:07 -0600 Report

Well I've done it for 2 years without any problems…and yes I might pass bacteria on the needle…but when I was in nursing school we cultured different areas of public restrooms and it was awful…so I have a phobia about restrooms. I don't even use them unless I absolutely have to. I am a strange person…I guess I should have said that already…LOL

re1ndeer 2011-01-28 23:25:58 -0600 Report

Thanks for your response, I was just worried you might get ill. But, as a nurse you know what you are doing.

0tina0 2011-01-28 23:29:30 -0600 Report

I have been a nurse for 25 years..but I would never tell anyone else to do what I do…but I figure that since I use a new needle every time…and it is super sharp that is better than flying stuff in a restroom…just my wierd reasoning… I guess sometimes it would be better if I don't feel so free with my opinions…How sweet you are for asking tho… thats why I love this site.

CaliKo 2011-01-28 15:13:19 -0600 Report

I read an article about this topic this very morning in the new Forecast magazine. The article is online, too, at: