In a dark jazz club in Melbourne, I had a diabetes ‘moment’ when I least expected it. It was ‘diabetes in the wild’, a term Kerri Sparling uses that perfectly describes these sorts of incidents.
This is a serious club. There’s a sign at the door that reminds you that talking during performances is frowned upon. Patrons are there to listen to the music, not the inane chatter of the person at the next table. A ringing mobile phone could result in public stoning. Well, not quite, but when someone’s phone did ring at this gig, the musician stopped playing until it was silenced.
I was sitting at the bar, watching and enjoying the music. Thanks to a pump line that really (really, really) should have been changed that morning, my BGL was a little high. I knew that I needed to do a correction bolus, so I pulled my pump from my top, pressed a few buttons and waited until I saw the insulin had been delivered.
Out of the corner of my eye, I caught the woman to my right surreptitiously staring at me and then looking at the pump in my hand. She looked away and leant towards her friend and, (breaking the rules of the club), whispered something. Her friend, just as stealthily, looked around her at the moment I was returning the pump to its place in my bra and then whispered something too.
What was the interest? Did they think it was a phone or a charger and were about to tell me off for not concentrating on the music? Were they wondering what the hell I was doing reaching into my top and pulling out a weird device the lit up?
I stopped wondering and went back to listening to the music.
About ten minutes later, I saw out of the corner of my eye, the woman take something from her handbag. It was a BGL meter. I swung my head around (clearly I’m not as cool or good at being covert as she was) and looked at her straight in the eye. I suddenly got flustered and looked away again, so thankful the ‘listening policy’ at the club meant I couldn’t do what I wanted to. Which was start a conversation with her (whether she liked it or not) and would have sounded like ‘YOU-HAVE-DIABETES-TOO-OH-MY-GOD-SO-DO-I-HOW-LONG-HAVE-YOU-HAD-IT-FOR-DO-YOU-WANT-TO-HAVE-A-COFFEE-AFTER-WE-FINISH-HERE-AND-TALK-TALK-TALK-TALK-TALK-TALK’. I would have stopped at some point to take a breath. Probably.
The music kept going and I tried to stare straight ahead, and not look over at her again. (Which, of course, I did. Several times.)
At the end of the gig as I collected my things, I turned to her and we looked at each other. I smiled; she smiled back. Diabetes in the club. I collected my bag and we walked out into the cool Melbourne night.
The Melbourne International Jazz Festival is on now. Here’s the program – there are some great local and international acts playing.