About a month and a half ago, my feminine ego was kicked in the teeth. I had just got on Skytrain. It was during rush hour and it was busy, not a seat to be had. I grabbed hold of the bar nearest the door and pulled out my cell phone, as so many of us socially inept souls tend to do. The woman in one of the priority seats, designated for seniors or those with disabilities, sprang up and tapped me on the arm.
“You can have my seat,” she offered.
I smiled and said no, no I was fine.
It was then that I realized I was wearing a dress with an empire waist.
No, I am fine, I said, my face flushing.
I have not worn that dress since.
Fast forward to today and I wish I was wearing that dress.
Again, I was on the skytrain. Again, it was rush hour, and it was busy, not a seat to be had, barely a space for my feet.
It was the first time I have ever used my diabetes to gain a seat.
I didn’t want to do it.
I battled the inner demons within me. I didn’t know 100 per cent if I needed the seat. I didn’t know if it was claustrophobia combined with the humidity causing the feelings inside me, or if it was Dear Diabetes gaining the upper hand.
I had been fighting low blood sugars all afternoon. It was the first real day of classes. I had a super early start, which I had been trying to prepare for over the last week, but can you ever really prepare when you have your lovely little frienemy Dear Diabetes constantly throwing you monkey wrenches???
The last class of the day was super hot and humid, the bus home had no air circulation, by the time I got on Skytrain, I had already food medicated two lows, surely they couldn’t still be low.
Oh yeah, they could.
I was dripping in sweat. My hands were shaking as though I were in the final throes of Parkinson’s (no disrespect). Yet, I’m sure to others I looked fine.
Unless I were on the floor, shaking uncontrollably, this is an invisible disease.
I bent down to face the lady sitting in the seat for seniors, or those with disabilities, and said:
“Excuse me, would you mind if I sat here for a few minutes, I’m having a bit of a medical situation?”
I do not practice religion, but I would just like to say: bless her.
She did not give me a dirty look. She did not question me. She did not ask what was wrong. She got up quite efficiently, and as another woman was about to take the seat, she said, no, this woman needs this seat, and she helped me sit down.
I tested my blood sugars. They were 2.7. This was an hour and a half after I had eaten a Larabar without insulin. This was a half hour after I had stuffed my face full of Werther’s without insulin. I downed a handful of dried apricots and sat feeling guilty.
I shouldn’t have felt guilty.
I have a disease that is considered a disability. I was nearly rendered incapable of standing. I needed to sit. I needed to eat. But, in my mind, those around me did not see a disability.
Dear Diabetes wears the invisibility cloak day in and day out.
Note: my blood sugars continued down the dark rabbit hole of lows. By the time I got home, I was nauseous and could barely eat dinner. I drank orange juice and vomited it back up again. I was bent over in pain, my stomach a giant, solid rock. My head aching. I tried the quick sugar route, I tried the healthy route, but by 8 p.m., after 5 hours of constant lows, I said to hell with it.
I ate the last of my son’s Dairy Queen birthday cake with a topping of strawberry Breyer’s ice cream.
Eat that Dear Diabetes!