Tonight as I headed out for my afternoon run, I encountered something simple and powerful. A smell. It was the scent from some trees that breezed by me as I ran.
It was an odd smell, a little unpleasant even. It was certainly recognizable though. It some how sparked my brain to reminisce about the tree outside of my dorm room in college. We closed that window many a night in order to avoid that peculiar smell.
That wasn't the only memory either. The strangest flashback to the floor common room, where we were having a daquiri party before a concert. Then I recall Amy, a very witty, pretty girl who lived on our floor. She hung out with us a lot, but it wasn't until that night that I saw her pull out a black vinyl case, a bottle of insulin and a syringe. She didn't measure her glucose, she just filled the syringe with insulin in the room and gave her self a hip shot. I remember being amazed that after all that time I had known her, I didn't know she was diabetic. I also remember thinking the syringe was really small. Then nothing, I never asked her about it, or even gave it a second thought until tonight.
Now I'm dwelling on it a little. I know the fact that she was so matter of fact about it made it easy to dismiss. Even after I was diagnosed, I could think of no one, no encounter, no sense of every being touched by the disease until tonight. Now I wonder how it affected her back then. I wonder if I should have enquired about it or if it would have been prying and innappropriate. I can't believe I didn't even remember it, until something as simple as a smell reminded me. I am now on the other side of the coin, but it made me rethink the role of friends of PWDs. To acknowledge or not.
I wonder what she is doing now. I think about the fact, that back then, I never would have imagined that I would have this in common with her. I was so clueless, and somehow that distrurbs me. I was like so many people today who walk around among us, completely oblivious of the hardships of people living with chronic disease. It is all too clear how silent and sneaky this disease is. You may only catch a glimpse of it by spying someone with the paraphenalia or see it's effects in a complication.
Now I know and now I remember... all thanks to a simple scent in the air.