Usually I don't talk about being sick anymore. Or not a whole lot. In the beginning, of course, I talked about it incessantly. It's rather astonishing that my family didn't strangle me then. But it gets old quickly, and as our grandmother says: 'It's of no use.'
Those of you who have visited with me for a while know that I have hypoglycemia. Meaning my body produces too much insuline and I need to pay close attention to regular food and to what I eat, too. It's nothing bad, it's just a bit of a pain in the rear end sometimes because it requires some planing ahead, which I've grown accustomed to, over the years of course.
Only sometimes I have too many other things in mind and forget to eat. Or I can't run (running keeps blood sugar stable) or I'm stressed or all of the above, plus a case of pure idiocy and then, well then things get to be really interesting. Sometimes.
Like Monday last week when I was at the post office and didn't understand what the post lady was asking me. She figured out I was not the one to decide anything right then and there and took over the situation in a heartbeat. Bless her.
On Tuesday I had a conversation with a colleague...And I can't really remember if I was being coherent. Probably not.
And on Wednesday I finally ended up standing in the middle of the street crying.
(Mom, if you're reading this, I'm fine now.)
Because my brain thought we were close to catastrophe, because everything seemed absolutely hopeless and because for five minutes I was really angry. Not at myself, whose fault it certainly was that I was unwell, but at everything and everybody. You must understand that I'm never angry, never ever, to really appreciate the situation. I'm put off at the most. But I'm not angry.
For five minutes then I was steaming mad; had there been a door I'd certainly have slammed it. Because for five minutes I wanted to be completely healthy. For five minutes I wanted all the passers by to stop staring at me and for someone to stop and ask if I was ok. They never do, you know? Nobody ever asks. They're all scared.
But my grandmother is right: It's of no use. Being angry doesn't help, either. And wishing for something that will never happen only makes you sad.
By pure chance I had a very interesting conversation with somebody just hours later. The friend in question told me about a friend of his who is chronically ill. Much more ill than I am. He wanted to help her and gave her advice on how to change her situation.
She got really mad and he didn't understand why.
But of course she got mad. She's been ill for years. She has constructed much of what she is as a person around an illness. Taking it away would leave her without one of the red threads that leads through her life. That was the first thought that came to me - because I know. Because it suddenly hit me that if I was completely healthy all of a sudden, well hell, what would I think about? There would be so much spare time all of a sudden. So much emptiness in my head. And one of the things that defines me (if only to myself) would be gone.
So I guess I'd better think about the good things hypoglicemia brings with it, huh? Regular meals, the need to be attentive to my body (epic fail on that one), and - AND - I have the best excuse to eat more icecream? Sometimes at least.
But I hope that my own situation may be a reminder too. To you and to me. If you see somebody who's unwell, ask them if they're ok. They will most likely send you on your way, as would I. But it might make them feel better. Certainly, when I'm sick I'm white as a sheet, I shake as a leaf and sometimes I cry, but I'm not wielding a spoon and a lighter, no pipe, no powder, no nothing. I have a tiny computer that measures blood sugar, it's clinical white for a reason, and it makes forlorn peeps once in a while, in a friendly sort of way. There's nothing to be afraid of.