Sugar, Oh Honey Honey

Today took an odd turn. Picture it: McDonald’s, 2017, 6:30 PM. I’m sitting in the drive thru, having placed my order some 20 minutes prior. It was clearly a busy night at the restaurant, and I was 7 cars back from the first window where you pay (for those unfamiliar with this setup, many drive through restaurants in the U.S. have a two window system. You order at the speaker, you pull up to the first window and pay, then you pull up to the second window and receive your order. It’s supposed to streamline the ordering process).

At the very least, it was looking like another 15-20 minutes before I would be seeing the first window. I had picked up the ingredients for my dinner earlier, having chosen to make myself a salad (by the way, I’m a vegetarian again. This time for good), but my parents wanted McDonald’s, which is fine, and so I took a “quick” trip down the road to get them what they wanted.

Well, I hadn’t planned on making it a 3 hour tour, nor did I factor in the problem of our McDonald’s having generally slow service (not bad, just slow).

Anyway, I’ve been sitting in the car for the past 20 minutes, listening to my jogging music compilation CD (which I never get to use while I’m jogging because that implies I actually have time to go jogging *sigh*), when I start to get that cold, prickly feeling on the back of my neck. I remembered at that point that I had not yet eaten (my salad fixings were sitting on our kitchen counter at home), and it wasn’t more than a few moments after that, my forehead started to break out in perspiration.

For those of you who aren’t diabetic, let me fill you in: one of the signs of dropping blood glucose (the sugar in your blood) is to break out in a sweat, often on the forehead. It can manifest itself in many ways, but for me the forehead is where it starts.

So my forehead breaks out in a sweat, and shortly thereafter my body starts to feel sluggish, and I realize that I am going to be in trouble soon if the line doesn’t move. I figure I have at least 10 minutes before I’m in trouble, and so I do a really dumb thing and attempt to hold out, in the hopes that the line will move and I can get a sweet tea at the window, which would quickly bring my blood sugar up to safe levels.

Well, guess what? 10 minutes comes and goes, and my car hasn’t moved five inches. That’s right, nothing is moving. I realize that I’m most definitely in danger, as my fingers start to get cold. At the same time, my hands start shaking, and I begin to feel this cold core of weakness in my chest. That is a bad sign, and I decide I cannot wait in this stupid line anymore, and I pull out (I hate being that guy), and drive over to the parking entrance, and go inside, because this is an emergency, and I have to get sugar into my bloodstream pronto.

Well, guess what? There’s about 20 people in line, and the guy in front of me complains aloud that he’s been waiting for 10 minutes in that same spot. Holy shit, folks, I’m in trouble. So I do something I hate more than anything else in the world of etiquette, and that is, I bypass the lines entirely, and stand by the register, off to the side. This is made easier because a handful of people, in apparent exasperation, leave at that moment, and then it’s me and one other guy. He decides he wants to switch to the other line, so thank Sagan for small miracles.

I walk up to the cashier, and I tell her calmly that I would like a small sweet tea, please, and that my blood sugar is dropping. Thank goodness, she doesn’t ask questions, she just walks over to the fountain, pours me a large sweet tea, and tells me it’s free. I thank her, and then tell her I have an order from the drive thru, and that I had yet to pay for it, because I had to come inside because of my low blood sugar. She said she understood, and went to fetch the details on that order.

Now, here’s the sweetest thing: this adorable blond woman behind the counter looks at me, smiles, and asks me if I would like a cookie. She says “I’m a diabetic, too, and I know what that feels like.” If I weren’t panicking from the rapidly dropping blood sugar, I would have probably kissed her right there. That being said, I just smiled, told her I appreciated it, but that the sweet tea would be plenty, which it would. Part of me feels I should have accepted the cookie. Regardless, I haven’t forgotten that adorable face. I kind of want to go back there and see if I can find out who it is.

Anyway, for those of you who do not know, McDonald’s sweet tea has 21g of sugar for a medium serving. I drank the large cup over the course of 10 minutes, and by the time I was done, I was still shaking. It would be an additional 15 minutes before I was steady enough to feel confident about waiting for the rest of my order. I cut it way too damned close. I’m fairly certain if I would have waited 5 more minutes, I would have passed out.

As for the order, it ended up taking an additional half an hour waiting inside for them to finally take care of mine. The average wait time for every single one was between 20 and 45 minutes. My best guess was they were low on staff, but I couldn’t be sure. Regardless, while other people complained, loudly, and some left in a huff, you weren’t going to hear a single complaint from me.

I wish I would have read the name tag of that sweet woman. I want to give her a hug, because she knew. She knew what I was feeling, and she was reaching out to help, without even being asked, and that felt so good, you have no idea how good that felt. So wherever you are, whomever you are, you’ve made a lifelong friend. ♥

Also, next time, I’m bringing my messenger bag. I usually carry it and I keep medicines and candy in it, but this was supposed to be a quick jaunt down the road. I won’t make that mistake again.

John

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