Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Letter To The Unknowns of My Diabetes Past

This is the 2nd day of Diabetes Blog Week, created by Karen over at Bitter-Sweet Diabetes. Today's prompt is Letter Writing Day, where we are supposed to write a real or fictional letter somehow connected to diabetes - to an endo, an actual meter or pump company, or maybe a letter from one's adult self to the D-Child you were. Whomever the letter's recipient may be, this is the day to tell that person how you're feeling.

At first, I'd seriously pondered writing a letter from my current Adult Type 1 self to my younger self. But that theme seemed like it might be a common one, and mine might lean more toward the serious end. Plus, there's that country song Letter To Me that already goes there. So, I opted for another choice. That led me to this:

Letter To The Unknown Guys & Gals of My Diabetes Past. Those strangers who, at one time or another, briefly came into my world and made an impression. Now, this multi-point letter is a collection of thoughts to those who weren't around long enough to exchange names or retain details on for more than a brief time.

Dear...

Second-Grade Substitute Teacher Who Didn't Believe:
I'm sorry that I tried to punch you in the nose that one day you were filling in for my regular, more understanding teacher. When you wouldn't let me eat a morning snack in class, and then the little curly haired red-head fellow student of mine warned you that I wasn't lying about needing to eat, you should have listened. He got into an argument with you, but in the meantime I laid my head down on the desk and tried to sleep. When you wouldn't let things be, two of my classmates ran out of class against the teacher's wishes to fetch help. Back at the desk, I freaked out from the Low blood sugar and started yelling before other classmates had to hold me down and stop me from trying to hit you. Those two help-seeking classmates got in trouble and, had you been reasonable, my mom wouldn't have had to get involved and fight to get them out of trouble because of your stupidity. I'm glad it worked out in the end, though I don't recall ever seeing you again. Hope the teaching career worked out. At least that helped teach the school that all subs needed to be told about my diabetes and allow me to eat in class.

Manager Who Stormed the Bathroom Stall and Tried to Toss Me from the Restaurant:
No, I wasn't trying to shoot up with drugs behind the stall door that wasn't locked. That was simply not an accurate report from the other person who happened to see me in there holding a syringe and pulling my shirt up to inject the partially-cloudy liquid into my body. Though I'm sure that might sometimes have been the case with other teenagers you'd encountered in the mid-90s, that wasn't what I was up to. But rather than believing my explanation, you accused me of lying and proclaimed you'd call the cops and have me locked up. I'm perfectly fine with the fact that you were proven wrong by someone else working that day, and that I never went back to your establishment again. In fact, it was pretty enjoyable convincing others that a boycott of your business was a perfectly acceptable response.

Nice Late-Night Diner Waitress:
You are very nice and I appreciate all you did for me back in the 90s. Not only did you reliably refill my coffee cup while there at any hour, but you had no issue with ALWAYS making sure that my soda was in fact sugar-free and that, from time to time, you brought me many glasses of orange juice and didn't charge me for them. I wish all waitresses were like you.

Anti-Charity Guy In College Who Only Contributes to 'Worthy' Causes:
Dude, you suck. I was a philanthropy-embracing college student trying to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and you were an asshole. It would have been fine if you couldn't or didn't want to contribute to my particular charity. But to say that you only contribute to 'worthy' causes, that was simply uncalled for. I don't wish many people ill in this world, but I might actually hope that you were diagnosed with diabetes at some point since then. How worthy is that cause now, dipshit?

Face-making Couple at Nearby Panera Bread Table:
It was a Sunday afternoon, and my wife and I were out for a simple sandwich at a place offering free Internet access. We were minding our own business, and being a Type 1 diabetic who must take insulin before eating, it became necessary to test my blood sugar before scarfing down that meal. Yet when I displayed my blood meter and poked my finger, and then drew up some insulin in my syringe (thanks to multi-daily injections), you decided to toss some frowns and frustrated faces in our direction. Like we were invading your turf and doing something so unholy you couldn't believe it. Reflecting on this now, I wish I would have stood up and approached you and started waving my arms at you while chanting "Satin is my friend." Enough to make you really uncomfortable. Instead, I smiled and that seemed to annoy you. There were more looks before you eventually got up and left. Good riddance.

Random Golf Mate #4:
I remember that day a few years ago, when we were standing next to each at a golf tee. You and your pal had been matched up with a friend and I, and so our pair of twosomes became a foursome. We were standing near one of the tees waiting to begin that hole. You glanced down and caught a glimpse of the insulin pump at my waist. "Is that an insulin pump?" you asked. "Yes, it is," I said flatly, then turned and walked away. Nothing more said about it from then on. I'm sorry for being an asshat. Diabetes wasn't what I wanted to talk about that day, I just wanted to play some golf rather than making small-talk about diabetes. You could've been a fellow Person With Diabetes. Or maybe someone with a personal D-Connection. It could have been a life-changing friendship in the works there. But I blew you off. That was uncalled for and not how I should have responded. Sorry about that.

Insulin Pumping Lady At Church:
One Sunday morning, my wife pointed me to you on the opposite end of the sanctuary. That was a communion weekend and we were still sitting in our pew in the middle of an aisle. You were walking away from the front of the room back to your seat, and I could see a Minimed pump attached to your side. Scaling back my excitement, I decided not to jump to my feet and leap over the pew and rush toward you waving my arms and brandishing my own pump for a "pump bump." Instead, I sat and watched you go find your seat. We weren't able to find you afterward, and our pastor didn't know who you might be. I never looked you up after that. I'd like to meet and say hello, but don't want you to think I'm some crazy person. Maybe we'll get that chance some day.

Insurance Guys And Girls on Other End of Telephone
Zombies are usually smarter than you. Most of you. Some of you seem to have common sense, but those telephone encounters are few and far between. I don't understand why you can't understand simple sentences, or insist on screwing up orders that my doctor has clearly directed you to fill. You are not my doctor and don't have the ability to make medical decisions for me. You're screwing with my health and life, and it's unfair and ridiculous. If I ask you a basic question based on what is ON FILE, you should have the ability to look at the screen in front of you and get the answer. Stop being a moron. And when I ask for a supervisor, I'd rather not repeat myself at least three times before you finally direct me to one. If you can't follow these simple commands, find a new freaking job. It's not rocket science.

To everyone else, I hope that whatever brief encounters we've had through the years have enabled you to grow as a person and learn from the situation. If it was pleasant through my eyes, I hope it was the same for you. If not, I hope you've had the opportunity to get some perspective and balance out your asshattery with real person friendliness. Regardless, thanks for making my D-Life what it is.

Sincerely,

That One Diabetic Guy Who You Probably Don't Remember

30 comments:

Reyna said...

Mike, I teared up and laughed through the letter "snippets". Your experiences are many. Thank you for sharing them. When I encounter adversity on Joe's behalf, I won't feel so alone. I also appreciated the part where you apologized about not talking about your pump to the guy on the golf course. I feel like that some days...people wanna talk and talk about "D" and how Joe is...AND...I don't. I do it, but I am "shorter" in my explanations than I ought to be.

Have a great day.

meanderings said...

Those are all fine letters. Waitresses (and waiters) who "get it" are wonderful!

Quinn said...

That was awesome.

HVS said...

it's interesting the people who make it into our D-chronicles..the good and the bad.(I'm sure that the asinine-acting individuals are like that,24/7 and ditto for the D-Angels)

Lora said...

I had to laughing about the second grade sub... you seriously tried to hit him?? I know its not funny, but it kind of is.

The manager... what an ass! As is the anti-charity guy and his "worthiness".

Lovin the waitress :)

Hate it when ppl stare. As I mom, I feel I have the right to give judgemental stare crazy ppl my squinty eyed dirty look.

Insurance... Um, no comment!

I am glad you didn't scare the lady in church to death and I am sure the golf guy forgives you.

This was great to read this morning :)

Nikki of Our Diabetic Warrior said...

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us! The teacher story made me laugh even though it wasn't a funny matter. I was picturing all of the "rebeling" kids running frantically around trying to get help for you. Woohoo to them!

Great Post!!!!

diabetesgirl said...

Great letters! Loved them all. It is amazing how many ppl leave impressions (good or not so good) in our lives...

Amy said...

I think I could have written just about any of these letters too. Actually, I'm starting up a letter writing day on my blog...lots of snarky letters to write to random people. Thanks for the entertainment...I needed a break from the tears!

Heidi / D-Tales said...

One of the best letters I've read so far! Loved it!

The part about the substitute teacher hit home, because my son is now in the second grade and subs scare the heck out of me! I hate it when the teacher is absent. I have a letter for subs, hitting the necessary highlights of D, but never know whether the letter is actually read. Sigh...

Awesome post, Mike!

Kate said...

Great letters! Well done.

Trev said...

Thanks for all the letters to folks past. It amazes me how people can be sooo freakin dumb! But it is those amazing, generous, selfless, people who balance it all out! Cheers my friend, and thanks for all your words of encouragement.

Vivian said...

Absolutely adored this post!!!

Sysy said...

LOVE THIS! Very creative and unique :)

The DL said...

This is brilliant!! Seriously loved it. I loved every minute!!

Wendy said...

AWESOME POST!

I loved reading about these random encounters in your life. Thanks for the glimpse into you past :)

BRAVO :)

Kelly Booth said...

Great letters. I am glad that your mother got your friends out of trouble.

Liz said...

Great post Mike! I loved the one where your mother got the boys who helped you out of trouble. Yeah for moms who stop at nothing to right rights!!
I loved it!

Alexis Nicole said...

Definitely one of my favorite posts of the day!! I laughed, I cried and I totally got it.

Awesome concept. Thank you sharing with us!!

Mike said...

These are brilliant brilliant brilliant!! I'm finding it so hard to get round many posts each day this week, but I'm SO glad I read yours.

Mike

Sarah said...

Right. On. ;)

Un-Apologetic Diabetic said...

This was THE BEST LETTER I've read so far (and I read a lot!)! I wanted to comment at every letter your wrote, but I'll spare you the four-page comment.

To sum up - I LOVE the idea of a pump bump (gotta get me a pump and a willing participant).

I DESPISE the substitute teacher, the manager, the Anti-Charity guy and the couple at Panera. I figure - Hey, I gotta do this, you don't have to watch - when I whip out my syringes and meter in public. Wonderful post Mike!

Jen said...

What a great approach to this prompt, I love it!

Joanne said...

What a great idea! Loved reading about all the people you've encountered... even if some of them were asshats.

Victoria said...

I must admit this my be my favorite post so far. LOL. I've been through nearly everything you mentioned in some variation. Seriously, it's uncanny. Thanks for the smile and laughs with this post Mike!!

Michelle said...

Great letters! I love hearing about these sorts of experiences...both the positive and negative...so nice when someone else "gets it"

Nicole said...

OK you win in creativity!! great letter(s) and I loved to hear the excitement you felt when you saw that lady and her pump. Lately I have noticed Cara's face lighting up when she comes into contact with other Type 1's.

Jess said...

mike, this is fabulous! i love all your letters! it's amazing what we remember about people we barely know. thanks for sharing!

EDONAdesigns said...

Love the letters! Totally understand each of the situations. I think we've all been in ones that can relate. I also like the balance of could have's and asshats...! Well done.

The Chocolate Cheerio said...

Mike- I LOVED this!!! I laughed out loud several times. Great post!

Melissa said...

Great post Mike! One thing that struck me about the rude people in your stories is the rush to judgement rather than an effort to understand. I think this is something that unfortunately happens all to often in everyday life. I know I've been guilty of it at times and this is a reminder to seek first to understand. Thanks for sharing these!