Invisible Disease

Wandering down the Cairns Esplanade, my camera spied this suitably attired lady enjoying a spot of exercise. Much nicer than Lorna Jane!

My wife’s work means she is Someone. I, as housekeeping spouse, am Noone.

Wherever we go together, she is greeted, her well-being inquired after.

I am invisible.

My usual response when people make a fuss of her: “I’m good too, thanks.”


I’m on an aeroplane hurtling from hither to yon at dizzying height and breakneck speed. The plane is full.

A voice inquires: “Something to eat?”, while a cardboard box lands on my tray table.

Time for the ritual.

I take the phone out of my bag, and scan my sensor. Hmm, sugar’s a bit high.

I unwrap the goodies that is lunch, guess at what’s in it, and do a stab in the dark as to how much insulin I need.

I find my insulin pen and a new needle. I unwrap the needle, and screw it onto the insulin pen. I dial 2 units. I aim the needle toward a spot unoccupied by people. I press the button. A squirt of insulin arcs up, just missing seat 12C on it’s descent.


Nothing like the smell of insulin on a crowded flight.

Slowly I unbutton my shirt. I reach my hand into my pants, and pull out a roll of, well, fat.

I dial 6 units of insulin.

I gently prod the white flab with the point of the needle, looking for a spot without nerves. Usually a blood vessel hides behind a nerve. Don’t want the drama of blood on a full plane with 180 passengers and crew.

The needle finds a spot, and in it goes. I push the button, and count to 10.

Then the reverse happens, unscrew needle, secure and stow pen, store needle in safe place, return all my diabetes sh*t to my manbag, push the aforementioned roll into it’s usual spot, button up my shirt, and tuck it neatly into my pants.

Ready for lunch.

The bloke next to me is hoovering up the contents of his box, oblivious of the medical intervention that took place 20 centimetres from his face.

The hostie chants “Something to eat?”, right behind me.

The lady 35 centimeters to my left across the aisle intently studies her iDevice.

Nobody noticed.

Not a thing. Not the needle, not the squirt, not the naked belly, not the almost blood.

am invisible!👻


About the author Rien

dutch by birth 🇳🇱 | australian by choice 🇦🇺 | type 1 diabetic 💉 | married ❤️⚭ | grandfather 👴🏻 | fujifilm photographer 📷 | boat builder and sailor ⛵️ | seeker no more 🚫📖

All posts by Rien →


  1. We think you are someone Rien.



  2. Me too.



  3. I know you are someone. Love you Babe.



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