Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Invisible Man (Woman)

Here's another "Your Voice" post from my good friend Sherry. She is such a blessing and has a beautiful way with words. I've been holding onto this post for a while, but I thought that it was perfect for Diabetes Awareness Month considering the insight it gives into having a low while in public. For each person it can be different, but I've had the same scary feelings that Sherry speaks about in her post.

For now Sherry doesn't blog. Instead, I let her post here whenever she feels like she has something to day. However, I think I'll eventually turn her to the "dark side" just might take a little while. ;) You can find Sherry on facebook.

I sometimes wonder if I am made of plastic. Not visible to the human eye. Sometimes this is frustrating.

Here’s the scene….I’m in the local mall, scurrying around preparing for our upcoming wedding. (our 25th anniversary wedding…happening in a mere two weeks, but that is another story.) The ring bearers need matching shirts. My husband needs a pink necktie and my son needs a yellow one, but I won’t know what shade of yellow until I see the dress the bridesmaid has. I call her on my cell phone, but she doesn’t answer. Ties are in abundance in these big stores, but try looking for a certain color and you have a challenge that is daunting! But I digress….

I’m bustling about the department store, pushing my youngest son in his wheelchair. He and his chair together weigh more than I do…plus we have the usual profusion of diaper bags, purses, feeding supplies, packages, etc. hanging off the back of the chair.

Giving up temporarily on finding the right colors of ties, I meander over to the little boys section. I’m delighted to find matching shirts, snatch them up and pray they will fit, and proceed to the checkout. There are several people ahead of me, and the computers are acting up, providing quite a tizzy among the workers. All of a sudden, I realize I feel low. Odd, since it’s only 11:30 a.m. I brush off the feeling and continue waiting. A few minutes later, I realize I probably should see what is going on in the blood sugar department. I slink off behind a rack of clothes since I don’t want to do the finger poking and bleeding routine in front of the innocent children wandering around. After all, this is the children’s clothing department. My meter confirms a saucy little 55, but I feel about 25. Glucose tablets come out amid the curious stares of the children, wondering why this lady is sitting on the floor eating candy. No one above age 12 notices the lady sitting on the floor.

After getting up and paying for the shirts, I make my way to the food court on the opposite end of the mall. The road looks terribly long to me. I finally can’t push or walk anymore so I sit down. My little 9 year old son, in his wheelchair, sits beside me. He is only about 10 months old mentally, but he reaches out his one usable limb, his right arm, and tries to touch me. I pull his chair closer and lay my head on his chest. He proceeds to hold me tight and rub my back. It feels wonderful to be touched. I don’t know how long we sat this way, but when I opened my eyes, I realized there is an ice cream stand right in front of me. Two middle aged ladies are working there, chatting and staring at me. They say not a word to me.

I finally feel like I can walk so I proceed to the food court and try to purchase some food. This requires more thought patterns than I currently have in my brain, and I discover that I left my change purse back in the children’s department. Fortunately I have some money in my purse and purchase food, but by now I can’t remember how to eat it.

As I sit there amid dozens of people, I lay my head on the table beside the food. I know the food will help me, but only if it enters my body. I can’t seem to remember how to put it in my mouth. Once again, I figure I must be made of plastic. No one sees me. No one thinks it’s odd that a lady is lying on the table, not eating the food in front of her. I remember feeling very lost… a little child in a crowd with no one to guide me. I feel vulnerable and sad. I wonder why no one cares.

Relating this story to my husband later that evening, he says that he thinks people are afraid to get involved. Afraid to help someone in need because of a lawsuit. I tell him, “How can someone get a lawsuit for giving a person food?” He says people just don’t know, they don’t understand Type 1. Right.

Guess I’ll just continue to be plastic. Invisible. Or maybe ladies lying in the floor at the mall eating candy are commonplace. I’ll have to look next time I’m there shopping. Maybe I just missed them because I was low.


kim said...

it is amazing to me that no one bothered to help a woman who clearly needed assistance. i have been in your shoes and it just baffles me that people look, but wont get involved. perhaps because of being diabetic and knowing how that is, i would not hesitate to offer help if it looked like someone needed it.

Meri said...

This story breaks my heart. I'm so sorry you felt invisible on that day. Were they waiting for you to pass out before they helped you?

I agree with your husband though. Poeple just have no idea. How can they help with a condition that has so many misconceptions? Somehow, the word needs to get out there!

Thanks Cara for posting this. It is a very real possibility for so many!

shannon said...

thanks for sharing this story. it was so upsetting to read, i can only imagine how difficult it was to live it. i hope the people who saw you but didn't do anything with think of that next time and hopefully help the next person in need.