I’ve never thought of discrimination as something that I would personally encounter. Anything weird or different about me is fairly easy to conceal. I’m not dogged for my race, I don’t discuss religion with anyone who doesn’t know me because I know anyone of a disagreeing religion can judge based on differences, and the only time being a woman seems to bite me in the butt is because even though cooking is considered a woman’s job, the culinary field is largely dominated by men (don’t ask, I don’t get it either).
I have to say, I never thought an “invisible” disease would make me feel discriminated against. But the more I see and that I personally encounter, the more I believe that people like us ARE being mistreated and misunderstood. The man on the train that they thought was intoxicated during a bout of hypoglycemia and escorted off of the train, the recent problems of one of our own site members and the mishandling of him and his insulin pump for a random drug test (at a hospital, no less!), and my own embarrassment of trying to get through airport security during a recent trip.
I understand that airports are more strict that ever with their security measures. This is a good thing. It helps to protect us. It is, however, really uncomfortable for me to be pulled aside by security so that they can pat me down, empty my bags, and test my hands, pump surface, and belongings for…whatever it is that they do. It made me feel like crud that I pack up my tiny little bottles of liquids in a ziplock baggie, don’t even bring nail clippers or a razor in my bag, and bring a letter from my doctor with me and I still get patted down and scanned all over by the wand (even though I didn’t set off the metal dectors) and have to re-pack my things after they’ve taken them all out. It just doesn’t feel fair that I’m an automatic search to them because I have an illness for which I need a medical device attatched to me at all times. It’s not that I feel violated or harassed really (security was actually very nice to me and I really felt like they were sorry they had to put me through it). It just seems that I have enough problems to deal with without adding pat down at security to the list. I don’t even like to fly. To me it just sort of seems as silly as taking an old man’s cane and checking it to make sure he can’t press a button to turn it into a spiked club or assuming every person who lost their hair due to chemo is a neo-nazi.
I guess I just wish people understood better. When I used shots people thought I was a heiroin addict (or if I said I just had a shot, they thought I was drinking), when I’m low, people assume I’m just a snob because I get mean, and now on the pump, apartently I’m a security threat. I’m just a normal person trying to live a normal life. I just happen to need a little outside help to do it.