As part of Diabetes week, one of my previous posts was featured as a guest post on the Diabetes UK Blog earlier in the week, but I felt I should try to put up at least one new adventure here to mark the occasion. My post today is about the unspoken connections I’ve so far made, the inspiration of my post will explain what I mean a little better!
My idea came when we were on a train to the airport at the weekend. We were joined in the quiet coach by a group of water polo players who chatted very loudly, but I was pretty much zoning out until I caught the words “I inject myself”. Tuning back in (imagine a meerkat reaching up ), I managed to piece together a conversation about splitting long-acting insulin into two equal injections and why.
I have to admit, I eaves-dropped the rest of their conversation: I’ve been thinking about splitting my Levemir too, so I found it quite informative. The whole situation made me realise though that implicitly every person with diabetes is connected, and even the times when we make wordless connections between us can be informative, encouraging or comforting. For me, most of the time, it is all I need to get on with my life: hearing a conversation, reading a story, or observing another person from afar. Even though at the time I don’t feel a need to reach out, a connection is still made.
On the train, I thought of chiming in, but I didn’t really think it would be very appropriate, so I quietly observed. It was great to hear someone else initiate their mates into the Diabetes Hall of Knowledge, answer their questions and speak openly about their diagnosis and life with this chronic illness. I’m also not sure the person realised it was the first day of Diabetes Week, but they definitely did their bit for making people more aware.
The situation also reminded me of the time I caught a girl quietly testing her blood glucose at the airport: it was a pretty snazzy meter which made me a little green-eyed, but no one else in the group I was travelling with noticed what the girl was doing. It is almost as if diagnosis initiates you into this secret club of diabetes: code words, hidden finger-pricks, covert injections, revealing scars … This secret society mostly just works on knowing glances and encouraging smiles: unspoken connections between two strangers, who actually if they admit it deep down probably know each other quite well. They get it, but don’t always feel the need to voice this out loud.
I guess the secret society already has a symbol (the blue circle), but maybe it’s time we work on the other key features: an anthem, a secret handshake, or a conspiracy theory? I’m thinking similar to Freemasonry, but less sexist?
I guess I just wanted to say that making a connection does not necessarily have to be obvious: next time you see someone inject in public, give them an encouraging wink… Or if you see a stranger give you a knowing smile when testing your blood sugar, enjoy the feeling of a silent ally: someone who gets you, but also lets you get on in life.
Until next time,
The … Diabetic
a.k.a. the strange eaves-dropping person winking at you!