There are times – frequently – that I really don’t want to have to speak or think about diabetes. But it comes up. Often in the most unlikely places.
Other times, I hope it won’t, but it does.
Such as going through security at airports. As we left Vienna to travel to London, I was stopped after I set off alarms (again). I had already taken off my boots, my necklaces and my bangles, but I was still making the alarm sound.
I was taken to a curtained-off room for a search and when I produced my pump was shocked to hear the lovely woman from security tell me she’d never seen one before. ‘Never?’ I asked. ‘Never,’ she confirmed.
Same thing happened as we headed Amsterdam. More alarms, more searches, more pat downs and a special little swab for my pump.
So far, it was three for three – Dubai, Vienna and now London.
When we landed in the UK and got to the end of the customs queue, we had a most friendly customs agent chat to us about the reason for our stay. ‘Well, I’m doing some work. And I’ve come from a conference in Vienna.’ ‘What do you do?’ He asked. ‘I work for a diabetes organisation in Australia and I’ll be spending some time with diabetes people here. The conference was a diabetes conference.’ And he was off, sharing the he used to work for a health insurance fund and diabetes is a really, really big problem and why don’t people look after themselves and even when you tell people what could happen to them if they don’t start looking after themselves they ignore you and then they get complications and then……’
And then I decided to not listen anymore, smiled blankly and waited for a new stamp to appear in my passport. Because UK Passport Control is not where I look to have a discussion about diabetes.
A visit to the chemist to buy cough mixture came with the question, ‘Do you have diabetes.’ I wish I could lie and just say no, because when I said yes, there was then a big discussion about the sugar free mixture and having to ask the pharmacist ‘can diabetics take this?’
And then there are the times when it is just a pain in the bum and whilst trying to enjoy a stroll, we have to stop so I can replenish my glucose stores.
A couple of weeks ago in Vienna, I was surrounded by members of the diabetes community – many of whom I am lucky to call my friends. We may live with this condition, but it really isn’t what we talk about when we sit together after the official stuff is over. No, we talk about anything but diabetes for most of the time. It’s actually refreshing!
Because so often, it seems that even when I don’t want to have to think about diabetes, I do.