Should This Guy Check His Blood Sugar In Private to Appease a Coworker?

Managing chronic medical issues can quickly turn into a full time job. When your illness is something that isn’t fleeting, it becomes a part of your daily routine – one that you keep, faithfully, because the alternative is serious complications, or even death.

For people living with diabetes that means regularly checking their blood sugar, and though there have been massive advances that make that easier, the majority of them still involve a small amount of blood.

I (24M) enjoy my job and have two coworkers, Megan (25F) and our new coworker James (23M) who just started. The three of us each have our own office space, but because we have to frequently collaborate on work throughout the day we are often at each other’s desks.

I am a type 1 diabetic, I give insulin and check my blood sugar throughout the day as needed. I give insulin through a pump so that’s not an issue. Checking my blood sugar involves pricking my finger to draw a drop of blood, the blood gets sucked up into a test strip that is connected to a glucose meter, and the meter displays the reading. The whole process takes like 10 seconds.

He explained that her officemates are often at his desk and vice versa. One of them, a young man, nearly passed out when accidentally catching him checking his blood sugar.

He explained he has a phobia serious enough to require therapy and called OP “freaky.”

I was checking my blood sugar in my office right when James walked over. Immediately, his face went white, he looked like he was about to puke or faint or maybe both. I was like, dude are you okay? He told me that he has a major blood and needle phobia and gets therapy for it. I explained what I was doing and why it was necessary and he said it’s “freaky” that I have to MAKE myself bleed multiple times a day.

When he said he never wants to accidentally see that again, OP offered the compromise of warning him if he’s coming over at a bad time (for him).

He said that’s not going to work, because he’ll still imagine what OP is doing in his mind.

I know.

He told me he never wants to accidentally walk in on me checking my blood sugar again because he could pass out. I said that if I’m checking my blood sugar and hear him coming over I can call out a warning like “give me a sec!”. He said that won’t work, just knowing that I’m doing that just before he comes over is enough to freak him out, and that he would be stressed that I might not hear him walking over.

His compromise was he check his blood sugar in the bathroom, and refused to budge even when OP explained that a) he didn’t want to and b) it’s unsanitary.

As a second option, he asked whether OP could do it at set times – OP explained that wouldn’t always work because he has to manage based on his symptoms.

He told me I should check it in the bathroom from now on. I told him that I don’t think I should have to do that and it’s unsanitary. He said another option was if I only check my blood sugar at certain times, say 9am, 12pm before eating lunch, and 4pm, that way he’d know when to avoid me. I said these things can’t always be predicted, I’ll need to check if I feel my blood sugar going high or low.

He believes his phobia needs to be accommodated along with OP’s diabetes, and threatened to go to HR if he fails to “compromise” on a solution.

He said he understands that I have diabetes but that he also has a special need (his blood phobia) that needs to be accommodated and that he doesn’t want to have to avoid me at work and only talk to Megan for fear he might see me checking again. He said he’ll talk to HR about this and that he’ll tell them that I refused to compromise with him.

Now OP is wondering if she should get the jump on the conversation with HR.

He also clarified that he has an actual office, with a door, so his coworker has to actually come into his space to see what’s going on.

That was last Thursday before the holidays, tomorrow I’m thinking of going to talk to HR before James does, but first I need to know that I’m in the right here. So AITA for not being more accommodating of James’ blood/needle phobia and checking my blood sugar as needed at my desk.

To clarify something, James cannot see me test my blood sugar unless he is literally standing in my doorway. It’s not a communal-style workplace. I do not test in common areas, only in my office.

What did Reddit tell her to do? Read on!

Basically, OP is NTA (Not The A$$hole) and his coworker is going to the extremes in expecting others to work around his issue

Image Credit: Reddit

And maybe the coworker would like to spring for an expensive, bloodless solution?

Image Credit: Reddit

This person went with NAH (No A$$holes Here) and offered some additional solutions that wouldn’t have to involve HR.

Image Credit: Reddit

This person was also sympathetic to the coworkers phobic, and thought there was probably a way they could resolve.

Image Credit: Reddit

But this is the bottom line.

Image Credit: Reddit

He posted an update later stating that both he and the coworker spoke with HR, who helped them come up with a solution that was only kind of working.

Then the coworker quit, partially because he couldn’t work with someone who has diabetes.

Good luck to him; that’s all I can say.

What are your thoughts on this one? Share with us in the comments!