Saved by a Panda Button or Hypoglycemia at the Zoo

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The Panda Button

Drenched, dazed, and donning a button with a panda picture on it—this is an accurate depiction of my appearance after venturing to Washington, D.C.’s National Zoo this past Friday.

How did I wind up in such a state of disarray? It all starts with my desire to go to the zoo with my boyfriend during my trip to see him. Slowly but surely, we’re making our way around to all the super cool museums and monuments within the nation’s capital and enjoying every experience.

But sometimes, diabetes leaves its mark in times like these. Not in a serious or unpredictable manner; rather, it plays mean little tricks at less convenient times.

This time, it happened towards the end of our zoo excursion. We spent four or five hours on a particularly hot September day wandering around the enormous space. Despite all the walking and the merciless heat, my blood sugars remained relatively stable—much to my relief, considering my CGM was out of commission. This made seeing the animals even more exciting. I wouldn’t have had nearly as much fun if my mind had been preoccupied by a low or a high. We loved the playful elephants, jungle cats, exotic birds, and the other various fauna we encountered (except for the bird-eating spider, yikes).

As we were walking out of the zoo, we realized it would probably be a smart idea to use the restrooms in the visitor’s center before hopping on the Metro to go back home. The moment we stepped into the air-conditioned facilities, it dawned on me that I was totally drenched in sweat…gross! We did our best to stay cool throughout the day, but the fact that I was wearing black in the blistering sun didn’t help my case. But I cared more about fashion over function by choosing to sport my new romper, a funky one-piece garment that baffled my boyfriend. He didn’t quite understand why it was trendy and questioned its practicality (“you have to pull the whole thing down to use the bathroom?!”), points that I thought were moot until I had a hell of a time freeing myself from the frock in the restroom stall. It seemed to cling to my sticky body, and the zippers were refusing to budge. In the middle of this struggle, I realized I was feeling somewhat dazed and disoriented. In tandem with my excessive sweatiness, these were surefire symptoms of a low.

I finally managed to go about my business in the stall, and hurriedly adjusted my romper so I could bust out of there, wash my hands, and test. In my haste, I knocked the zipper that shut the blouse part of my romper off its track. I stood there in disbelief for a few moments. Did I really just make it impossible to zip up my romper, exposing myself to the general public?

Yup, I sure did. So what did I do then? I pinched the front part of my romper together with my fingers to cover myself up and proceeded to wash my hands. I tested, found out that I was low, and pretty much stopped thinking from there. I walked out of the bathroom to my waiting boyfriend, and told him in panicked whispers about my wardrobe malfunction and low blood sugar. He became all business, telling me to go back into the bathroom, address my low, and try once more to fix the zipper. He told me that he would check the gift shop, which was conveniently right there, to see if he could find anything that might help me.

That’s how less than ten minutes later, I was walking out of the visitor’s center with some sugar in my system and a panda button pinning my blouse shut. Thanks to some quick thinking, my crises were averted and now I have a dorky souvenir to prove it.

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Comments (1)

  1. blue-eyes at

    sounds like glucose tabs would be handy to carry around with you in your purse!!!

    54 years with type 1 diabetes.

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