How many times over the last 23 years have I gotten low with strangers? Last week I went to my grammar class at 5:45pm. The class is 3 hours and so I gave a small shot and ate a quick dinner around 5:15pm, much earlier than normal because I didn’t really have another choice. My normal routine is to feed the kids’ dinner and then Dale and I eat around 7pm every night. I rushed out the door to school and we sat and listened to the professor for over an hour. I had sugar in my bag, Skittles and grapes in case I got low and as the class went on, I started to feel funny. It was difficult to follow the lecture and I could slowly feel myself slipping away but I didn’t want to pull out my One Touch, it was the first night of class and I was sitting in the front row! So I waited, and hoped the professor would call for a break.
Finally, at 7pm, our professor said we could take a break and I stood up to find the bathroom. I followed another student I knew and she tried to talk to me and I couldn’t say anything, I just followed her and kept quiet. When she went into the stall, I tested my blood sugar and was 50! Ugh. I had to hurry back to the classroom to dig out my candy and in the meantime, my classmates started talking to me and I tried to follow what they were saying and come up with intelligible answers but I knew I wasn’t making any sense at all. I was slow to come back and by the time I did, the professor was ready to resume the lecture and by then it was too late to tap my classmates on the back and say, “Hey, by the way, sorry if I was being weird just now, I’m diabetic and my blood sugar was low.” I didn’t say anything; I just let it go and hoped they didn’t think I was weird.
On my way home I wondered how many times I’d been in this situation. I wondered how many people I’d met along the way who had caught me in a bad moment. I knew it shouldn’t matter what other people thought of me, especially strangers who I would never see again (I dropped that class!) but the part that bothered me the most was that I cared at all, that I felt like I needed to apologize for my behavior, that the way I acted, wasn’t me.
There is a photo of me and Dale with some friends on the beach before we were married. It was a cold fall day and we were wearing jackets and hats and in the picture, I am wearing sunglasses. Dale hates the picture because he remembers that day. “That was the day you were low,” he said the last time I was flipping through the album. It’s a beautiful photo, the beach stretches out behind us at low tide and the sky is a gray blue with wispy white clouds. Dale tells me he remembers how my eyes looked that day; my pupils were big and distant as if I wasn’t really there. He’s not asking me to apologize but I feel like telling him, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, it wasn’t me.”
But if it wasn’t me, who was it, and where was I?