Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Stare If You Dare

I was at 7-Eleven getting a sugar free mango Slurpee. As I stood in line I had the odd feeling someone was staring at me. I turned and noticed the man next to me was staring at my pump tubing. Normally I keep all the tubing carefully tucked under my clothes. But, I've noticed that my pump tubing is magnetically attracted to door knobs. It has a way of sneaking out from under my shirt when I move. That's what happened in the store.

The man had a puzzled look on his face, as if he was trying to figure out what the plastic tube was for. So much for diabetes being invisible. My MG is usually invisible, too. Except for when it attacks leg muscles and makes walking hard. Then I use a walker or a powerchair. Of the two I prefer the powerchair. Using a walker seems to invite rude comments. "My grandmother has the same walker you do," has to be the worst.
I don't like being stared at. I have a few strategies that help. Saying, "Hello," may be the easiest one. Smiling like I'm on stage and doing the Miss America wave is another. When I'm in a bad mood, I have said, "Take a picture it lasts longer." And, "If you stare long enough I might do a trick."

Still, I believe staring comes from a place of curiosity rather than a desire to be rude. Humans are curious by nature, drawn to things we haven't seen before. Noticing the unusual can save your life if there happens to be a cobra in your room. The man next to me in the store was trying to figure out what on earth that plastic tube was for. I had a moment where I could have pulled out my pump and explained it to him. Or, I could have paid for my Slurpee and left. I chose to leave.

When it comes to dealing with diabetes and MG some of my medical needs are obvious, but that does not make them any less private. I am entitled to a private life, just like everyone else. Even when my pump tubing is sticking out from under my shirt and searching for the nearest doorknob.

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I am not a doctor. I do not have a medical degree. Nothing on this site qualifies as medical advice. These are lessons I'm learning at the University of Catastrophe. What I find to be correct answers in my classes may not be the right answers for you.

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