Thursday, May 21, 2009

Judgment

Illustration from The Diabetic Plan - When Your Blood Glucose Is Too High or Too Low webpage

How do I write this without coming off as preachy? I'm not sure, so I'm just going to write it.

I spent the day in Manhattan. I started off with an interview with a recruiting agency and then kicked around the city until it was time for a networking event in the evening. I didn't get back to Philadelphia until it was almost 11pm.

When I made it to the platform, I saw a man sitting down on the platform rather than on the benches. It was sort of odd. I initially thought that maybe he was drunk. It's common to see middle-aged or older men on the Seoul subway or trains drunk and on their way home after a night out with the folks from work. We definitely see drunk people on public transit in the States too. The train was set to arrive in a few minutes, and I noticed the man was having trouble getting up. I also noticed that the benches on the platform were full.

My first instinct was to help him. However, I had to think about it. What if he was drunk?

Good for me, my positive side kicked in because the competing thought was "what if the man is diabetic like me and just has low blood sugar?" There have been a couple of times where I've had very bad insulin reactions or hypoglycemia to the point that I was almost unconscious and people have thought I was drunk or sleepy rather than in the middle of a medical emergency.

I asked the man if he needed a hand getting up. Sure enough, he was sober and he did. He then explained that he had a really bad knee. Doctors have given him various explanations, but the bottom line is he has trouble with it. I explained that being diabetic, I've had people assume I was drunk when actually I needed help. Of course, people were looking. I made sure to say it loud enough so that the people around us to could hear. I do think the point must be made: appearances are often deceiving.

The man was really thankful that I helped him. The train approached and as we went to get on, he went out of his way to shake my hand and to thank me again.

It felt good. I learned. It was just reinforcement to think it through when I start to act on a negative assumption. I also hope the people around me learned that point too.

Okay, g'night.

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