My gym oversees the supermarket carpark, which is right near the beach. Being 41 degrees celsius yesterday, beachgoers flooded the carpark. From the treadmill upstairs, I watched a young couple park in a disabled spot, took their time grabbing all their beach gear and walk towards the beach. They were parked there for at least 45 minutes. I don’t know if they had a disability permit but I was peeved that they took the spot away from someone who may have genuinely needed it with their grocery shopping. But I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Not everyone’s illness is visible and diabetes is a perfect example of that.
Diabetes is an invisible illness because people can’t see what we go through most of the time. A high blood sugar reading leaves us with a nasty headache, feeling incredibly thirsty and peeing like a fire hydrant. A low blood sugar sees us eating lollies to bring our numbers up, perhaps acting a bit odd and spaced out. After a high or low, we feel exhausted and drained. To someone who has no clue about diabetes, they probably wouldn’t see anything concerning with these actions.
For people with diabetes, we crave independence and hate to be treated any differently from friends with a functioning pancreas. We often try to hide anything that makes us stand out. If we choose not to tell people we have diabetes, they would be none the wiser.
Even for those we choose to share our diabetes with, not everyone understands the ongoing battle we fight. The tears of frustration from unpredictable sugars, the pain from dodgy sites or lack of acknowledgement for the work we put into looking after ourselves.
Everyone is fighting their own battles. The driver may have had a disability permit for all I know. And it would be hypocritical to judge their “level of disability” based on what I see. But if they didn’t have a permit, well I guess they should be given one as lack of common decency is a chronic condition with no cure.