Silly Self-Conscious Moment?

My family and I were recently at one of the YMCA’s in the area.

My wife and I were walking around the track. It’s up on the second level and goes around both the basketball gym on one half and then the kids recreation area on the other half. It’s a good setup because when we’re up on the track we can see the exits of the kids recreation area and actually see the kids for half of the trip around the track.

The kids recreation area is pretty cool. It’s a big room with some short basketball hoops and balls, then a big section of padded floor (what I picture gymnasts using?) and a bunch of big cushy gym mats. The floor is kind of springy, so the kids usually build a big pile of the gym mats, then back up and take off! They run and jump into the pile of mats. It’s a blast!

They are doing a lot of construction at this YMCA (which, I guess, justifies why they keep raising the rates). Because of this construction they temporarily moved a group of stationary bikes into the kids rec room.

There was a guy riding one of these bikes when we were there. This guy was pretty intense. A late middle-aged man. Thin, not an ounce of fat on him, and though his muscles were not big, they were just flippin’ ripped. You know, where you can see the strands of muscles along his shoulders. He looked to be in great shape, and judging by the way he was attacking that poor stationary bike, he worked hard to get there and even harder to stay there.

Every time we went around that part of the track this dude was looking at us. It was quite uncomfortable. I kept joking with my wife that he was checking her out, and she kept joking with me that he was checking ME out… It was weird, either way.

After we had walked for a while I started feeling funny. Sometimes when you are exercising it’s hard to tell if you are feeling funny from exercise, or if it is a low. I checked my blood sugar, and even though I reduced my breakfast bolus, I was low. And still had a boatload of insulin on board from breakfast. Doesn’t it always seem like a boatload of insulin on board if you’re low (and not enough when you’re high)?

An old tube of glucose tabs pictured next to a new tube.I didn’t think that all of my breakfast had digested, but I couldn’t just wait for it. I had to treat the low. I had a full tube of glucose tablets in my pocket, that is 40g of carbs. If you can believe it, according to how much insulin I had on board, that wouldn’t cut it. It might have given whatever undigested breakfast time to catch up, but I also wasn’t done exercising. I didn’t want to risk being low again in a bit. So I check my wallet. It was a great day – I had a five-dollar bill and a ten-dollar bill.

While my wife kept walking I went looking for the vending machines. I had my mind set on a nice cold bottle of OJ or apple juice. But because of the construction there was only one vending machine in the building, and it was a snack machine (not a drink machine). It also would not accept a fiver. I begged the women at the front desk for change, and got some one-dollar bills. Back to the vending machine for a bag of skittles. After I got my fix I started chowing down and went back to the entrance to the gym.

Those parents out there will understand that I didn’t want to let the kiddos see me with a bag of candy when I didn’t have any for them. So I stayed near the door to the gym while I ate my skittles and waited for my blood sugar to come up. A slight sweat on my head and a wet spot in the middle of my shirt. Breathing hard. I was tearing those skittles up. Cramming more into my mouth at one time than my teeth and tongue could manage. Damn low bg.

Out of the corner of my eye I see spinner dude, heading right for the door. The one I’m standing in. Great. The irrational part of my mind (read: majority) starts running wild.

I can only imagine what he’s thinking. “Look at that fatass. He was just up there trying to work it off, and now he’s here eating candy faster than his mouth can handle it. Pitiful.”

I stepped to the side and avoided even looking in his direction as he passed by.

The moment stuck in my head. He didn’t know I didn’t have a choice. I had to do it.

As irrational as it may be, even with the health club fitness nut mentality that some people have, it doesn’t mean he was thinking that.

Even if he was – who cares? It was literally all in my head. But that’s how my head works sometimes. Especially when I’m low.

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. Patient Success Manager, USA for mySugr (All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent the position of my employer).

Diagnosed in April of 1980, I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. Read more…