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The Kindness of Strangers Amazes Me

Just when I think the average Joe is out for himself, something happens that surprises me. I’ve been extremely ill the last couple of days. It all started after the Joplin Writers’ Guild meeting last Thursday. I was standing outside talking to one our guests when I suddenly felt over-heated, light-headed, and had tunnel vision. I knew immediately that my blood sugar had dropped dangerously low.

I explained to the gentleman that I didn’t feel well and needed to sit down for a moment. I remember him asking me where I was going to sit. I’m sure he didn’t expect me to plop down on the sidewalk in front of the library, which is exactly what I did.

I found myself surrounded by people. The man’s wife, who is a diabetic like me, leaped into action. She asked me questions and rounded up some candy to bring my blood sugar back up to normal. She kept saying I needed orange juice, which was true, but I certainly wasn’t going to ask anyone to go buy some for me. The gentleman procured some water from a lady who had been driving by and stopped to see if she could help.

I’m ashamed to say that I don’t remember any names of the people I met that night. Two of my fellow JGW members rendered assistance, but I can’t remember the names of anyone else who was kind enough to help me. I know most of them introduced themselves. One of those people was a librarian, and I do remember the first thing she said to me. “Do you require medical assistance?” She was such a nice lady.

What I had is called a hypoglycemic episode, which means my blood sugar dropped too low. I’m usually prepared for something like this, but I didn’t have a thing with me this time. The people who stopped to help me took care of that, though. I was offered all kinds of things to eat. One of our members produced graham crackers, a granola bar, and I think several other things that belonged to her grandchildren from her backseat. I knew the three pieces of candy I ate would raise my blood sugar, and I didn’t want to push things.

The candy leveled me out enough that I was able to make it home that night. I thought sitting on the sidewalk with my heart pounding and sweating like a racehorse had been bad. Little did I know that my strife had just begun.

It turns out that I had a nasty virus, which was messing with my blood sugar. I don’t know what it was because I didn’t have the strength to go to the doctor. I had zero appetite yesterday and no strength or energy. I fought dizziness and light-headedness most of the day. I had to take a break in the middle of my shower. I actually had to lie on my bathroom floor to build up the energy to continue. After my shower, I had to rest before I had the energy to throw on the first thing within reach. I spent most of my day on the couch dozing and lumbering to the bathroom for unpleasantness.

Through the magic of Facebook, I found out a friend of mine was experiencing the same thing yesterday. I haven’t seen her in a few weeks, so I don’t think we gave the bug to each other. Another friend told me that there’s a particularly nasty virus going around.

I’m feeling much better today. I still don’t have much of an appetite, but I have managed to eat an egg and a slice of toast today. As my body slowly returns to normal, I’m struck by the number of people who stopped to see if they could help some random stranger sitting on the library sidewalk. I’m not sure how many people were there, but it was quite a crowd.

If you are one of the people who stopped to help me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Kindness and compassion aren’t dead. You proved that to me. Thank you!

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