My Creepy Arm

I met a former co-worker at the Mall of America for lunch today. She also is living with a cancer diagnosis so we had a lot to talk about. I was proud of myself because I spent no $.

I decided to take the train downtown, and just as I was boarding, heard a shrill voice, "yoohoo....Kathy". I knew immediately that it was S, a woman who's lived in my neighborhood for years. We've never had more than a 5 minute conversation on the street, but when I saw her coming my way, I wanted to bolt. I was about halfway through a good book Tales of a Female Nomad but now would be stuck in conversation with S for the entire 40 minute ride. In addition to being a chatterbox, she is a bit daft in the head. At times I've enjoyed her eccentricity, but in very small doses.

There was really no way to avoid sitting next to her. She started taking her purchases out and was going to explain each one. Suddenly, she let out a little scream.
S--Oh my gosh. What happened to your arm?
K--Remember I told you I was on dialysis? Well, this bump is the matured vein graft.
S--Oh you poor thing. ("You poor thing" is one of my least favorite phrases. I am not a "thing". I am a 59 year old woman who has made a remarkable recovery from a complex medical situaion.) How do you stand it?
K--Stand what?
S--Having people stare at your arm. It makes me creeped out just to look at it. Maybe you should wear long-sleeved t-shirts. I think they were on sale at Macy's.
What on earth would you do if a man asked you out?
K--I don't think that situation is likely to arise. (I didn't tell her about Stanley from the Y who wants to go to the Pub and play darts - he is about 80 and walks with 2 canes. I'd probably have to hold him up by his armpits as he took aim.)

We've had short sleeve weather for about a month, and I haven't noticed anybody staring at it. Last weekend we were at my cousin's daughter's graduation party in south Minn and no one said anything. My relatives are pretty blunt.

So, before I could let her ruin my day any further, I simply got off the train at the next stop. They run every 10 minutes, so the time sacrificed was well spent in getting to the next chapter of the book. Some people can't be reasoned with.

Keep calm and carry on.

Hi Kathy ~

I love your story. I have always been a fan of mass transit, but one of the drawbacks is the risk of meeting people whom one does not want to see. I think it was a brilliant move to get off at the next station and take the next train. People have no idea what we go through each day just to be diabetic. Sometimes, I think it is good to be diabetic, because it develops character to a much more advanced state. I have no idea what it takes to endure another affliction. Many, including you, know this routine all too well. I can understand why you have had few words with this particular neighbor. From the encounter that you described, you have an insignificant amount in common. Getting off the train to enjoy your book was a brilliant move. I applaud you for it. Now, as for the guy with two canes at the Y..... ;)

Be well.

Brian Wittman

Kathy, great story, I can relate.i have a port a cath and a scar from an old port a cath and have been rudely asked many times what it is or if it’s a bullet wound and asked how I can where tank tops etc… I live in hot hot fl! Brian, I appreciate the compliment about us being lucky that we are diabetics because I needed that reminder. I’m having a hard time right now and your right, it builds our character and it has made me stronger! Thanks for the reminder!

Where - wear. Compliment - comment. Sorry for my errors!

I liked your story. It reminds me of the time when I was newly diagnosed (just a week or so) and I was coming back home from college. I was waiting for my train, talking on the phone, assuring my mum, repeatedly, that I had taken my shot and my BG was better than usual (nowhere near normal, but it was just the beginning). And people who were eavesdropping on my conversation were looking at me like I was an alien (presumably because of the words "injection", "insulin" and "Don't worry, I won't faint" (more than once), :D
Now I just say it a little loudly to freak those eavesdroppers out :P

Yeah Kathy I am just looking forward to having people make comments like that to me. I'm going to tell them that I was on some kind of space ship and this alien thing attached to my arm and left its egg. It is getting really close to popping open and the little alien popping out.

LOL@brokenpole!! I am dealing with skin issues on the front of my calf and was initially feeling self consious to wear shorts/capris in public then decided to hell with it. If ppl dont like the look of it they can look away.Good for you in shutting her down!!