A question that would have horrified me 15-20 years ago actually had me quite appreciative to answer today.
It started with a trip to the Service Canada office this morning, where I had to go and change my last name on my Social Insurance Number. Seems I neglected to do so after Big Ring and I got married three years ago, but supposedly needed to do in order to apply for maternity leave EI. (I say supposedly because after waiting at the office f.o.r.e.v.e.r., and complaining about it on Facebook, I found out from several friends of mine that they too didn’t bother changing their names and had no problems obtaining maternity leave EI! What the?).
On the 10-minute walk back to work, a young man, called out to me from behind:
YM: “Excuse me ma’am (ouch!), I don’t mean to be a bother but what’s that thing in your arm?
Princess: It’s an insulin pump for my diabetes.
YM: Wow! That’s cool!
He didn’t give me a look of pity, didn’t tell me about his dog who had diabetes, or a friend of a friend who went blind and had her feet amputated because of diabetes. Nope, YM was far too fascinated with my mobile pancreas, and seemingly wanted to know more. But at the nudge of his girlfriend, he said, “er, right, sorry for being rude…” Not at all.
Like I said, an exchange like this would have horrified me years ago. I didn’t want to be the obvious diabetic. I was ashamed of my disease. I didn’t want others to think differently of me. And I was terrified of it too, of the nightmarish stories that so many feel it necessary to share as soon as they hear any mention of diabetes. But now, while I would 100 per cent rather not have this disease, I’m pretty proud of the person I’ve become with this disease. And if I can show even just one person that diabetes is not a death sentence, then hells yeah, I’m gonna wear my pump out in the open, I’m gonna test my blood sugars anywhere I please, and I’m gonna answer any questions that come my way.
But take note all you fear mongers out there: If you do decide to opt for the look of pity as you share deathly diabetes stories with me, well then, I might just kick you in the knees 😉
If you need a refresher on diabetes etiquette, check out my post from last summer: Etiquette 101.
Going public was first published on Aug. 16, 2012.