By Meagan Esler
It was a snowy and chaotic day at work as we sold Christmas items out of the windows at the charity shop that I manage. There were lots of customers, some waiting in line long before the store opened. Some of them quarreled, some smiled with glee as they got their items. I ate extra carbs before the frenzy knowing that my blood sugar likes to drop during the worst of times.
I made it through the morning with decent blood sugars, stopping several times to snack since lunch would be late that day. I ordered pizza for the volunteers and my assistant. I was unable to eat it since I was avoiding gluten while trying to rule out a gluten allergy as a possible issue for me. I had been strictly avoiding gluten for months and didn’t want to give in to temptation. I felt my blood sugars dropping, the familiar headache, the shaking hands, so I tested my blood sugar. Yep, I was going low.
A volunteer was chattering, and I was having a little trouble following what she was saying. I grabbed the last gluten-free pumpkin spice donut that I had squirreled away in the freezer for “one of those days.” I figured they were seasonal and that I wouldn’t see another one of the little gems before next autumn. These pumpkin pie spice donuts were a newfound favorite of mine and not something I regularly indulge in, but they only had 16 carbs and a delicious glaze that I was looking forward to. I put it in the microwave for a few seconds. When I went to eat it, it somehow rolled off the plate and onto the floor. I must have wailed “NO!” quite loudly because my volunteer stopped chattering and said “Oh, maybe you can still eat it?” Umm, that isn’t happening. I love those donuts like crazy, but I’m not eating off the floor. I started to freak out. The volunteer pointed at the other food in the kitchen, saying, “Don’t worry, there is plenty of food.” I began to tear up telling her “I can’t eat any of it! I’m low, and I can’t eat gluten!” I was out of the juice boxes I usually keep in the fridge. I stood there about to cry for a moment. I just didn’t know what to do.
In a panic I searched the freezer, thankfully finding another gluten-free option that would help raise my sugars pretty quickly. It wasn’t what I wanted, and I’m finicky when I’m low, but I knew I had to eat it. I felt better a short time later and felt like a bit of an idiot. I should have had better emergency low options at the shop. I felt silly for almost crying over a donut.
The next day, the volunteer that witnessed my donut meltdown brought me several boxes of the gluten-free pumpkin spice donuts. She had searched the stores to find one with them still in stock. She knew I didn’t get many indulgent options, and she wanted me to feel comforted. I did feel comforted, but it wasn’t just because of the donuts. It was because someone cared. Someone wanted to comfort me while I deal with all my crazy health issues and that made me emotional. Maybe it isn’t such a bad thing to get all emotional, especially if you are all choked up because of the kindness shown by others. I am unbelievably thankful to have her as a volunteer and good friend. I’m also unbelievably thankful I didn’t have to eat the flour donut.