Today I went to IKEA to pick up a small bookshelf and some extra hooks for a peg board I got there a few months ago. Sounds like a quick and easy errand, right? Except it’s IKEA. Anyone who’s ever been there knows: it’s a maze, and it’s nearly impossible to get out of there fast.
I had stopped for lunch on my way there, which means I had recently taken insulin. Because I planned to go on a hike with Lucy as soon as I got home from my “quick errand”, I took a little less than I usually do at lunchtime. Anyway, it’s always a guessing game and every day, needs change for reasons we can measure and understand (i.e. how many carbs we are consuming, how much insulin we are taking, how active we are immediately afterward) and there’s also all the mysterious elements we don’t understand, can’t measure, and really don’t even know about that play into things as well. Trust me, it’s complicated.
I felt like I was walking around and around, not really getting anywhere. But that’s sort of how I always feel at IKEA, don’t you? Those arrows on the floor started to feel very frustrating. I felt like surely, I must be getting near the end of the road. Eventually, I found the hooks I was looking for. But as I looked at the package, my brain felt so muddled. How many hooks were actually in there? And were they the same shape? And how many was I suppose to get? And why the hell was my vision tripping me up so hard?
Just then, I heard the ambulance sound my Dexcom app makes as a warning when I’m having “urgent low blood sugar”. Ah ha! That explains the big mental struggle I was having.
I reached into my purse for my preferred method of quick sugar to raise my blood sugar- Mentos! But I only had about 6 left in the package. “That’s probably enough to get me out of this,” I thought. But I also realized my brain was just failing me, so really… what did I know? What if it wasn’t enough?
I tried thinking rationally. I thought I could always buy some candy or a Coke there, but then, with that confusing maze, how could I find it quickly. Could I just ask a nearby stranger if they happened to have any sugar they could give me? OH. NO.
I was getting dizzier and more confused by the second. And I was having little black spots in my vision that I sometimes get when my glucose level drops severely low. There was nothing left for me to do, so I just sat down in the middle of the aisle.
And within just a minute or two, a girl appeared out of no where, and leaned down and said, “Do you need help? Are you okay?”
Honestly, I’m not exactly sure what was said between us, but it went something like this.
Her, again, because I think I was just staring and not responding to her first questions: “Really, anything you need. I can get you water, or food, or just whatever. Just let me know how I can help you. I work here. We have a care team for stuff like this and I can get them to give you whatever help you need.”
Me: “Well… I’m not ok. But I think I will be. I’m sorry. Maybe it would help if I could get some quick sugar- like juice.”
I felt stupid and embarrassed, but also desperate and grateful she showed up when she did.
She walked away for a minute, and then came right back to let me know she had told them (the “care team”) where she was so they could come to us. She sat with me as I kept apologizing and telling her that I thought I was already feeling much better. She said, “Hey, this is no big deal. I’m more than happy to help you. This is just BEING HUMAN.” She told me her grandfather had diabetes so she remembers him having trouble like I was, when she first noticed me. I had asked her how she noticed I was struggling and she said, “Well, I don’t normally see anyone plop down in the middle of the store- usually not even kids, unless something’s really wrong.” Who knew that was the universal SOS cry?!
As soon as the two care team people showed up with some orange juice, I was just overcome with emotion. I think I was scared, freaked out, and as a bonus, my brain was just really struggling to come out of it’s deep fog. And I found myself not only on the floor, drinking oj with 3 IKEA employees around me, but then all of the sudden, crying. And truthfully, I was just crying because I was thinking how sometimes, being human is such a fragile, and also nice thing. I was reminded that that’s really what we as humans are all about. Helping each other when we suffer the proverbial fall.
It’s not that big of a deal.
But GOD, do I appreciate it.