A while ago I blogged about people staring at me when I wear my O2. I've learnt to avoid eye contact and just get on with my business, However recently I've had quite a few interactions with people as a result of the O2. About 3 weeks ago a lady in Clearwater Mall came looking for me after I left the bathroom and said that she wanted to pray for me... and I let her, after briefly explaining my health situation. I've also had a guy on the golf cart at the hospital (that transports people to the parking garage etc) pray for me. And an Uber driver. Obviously a lot of people pray for me in general but not normally strangers.
This past week a teenage girl at Cotton On walked up to me and just said "I just want you to know that I really hope you have a great day". That was very sweet and sincere of her. Last week Thursday I went to Woolies to buy groceries, then picked up take-out, followed by the pharmacy. At each one of those stops something O2 related happened... At Woolies the employees know me by now, and I get comments like "I didn't see you last week", or "where is your husband?". At the take out place the guy recognised me and said "I remember you, you were here a while back with 3 friends, you sat outside!". I'm pretty sure he only remembered be because of the oxygen, but I could be wrong.
At the pharmacy the cashier asked me why I needed O2... Didn't feel like explaining the whole rejection thing so just said "I have Cystic Fibrosis". To my surprise she replied "Yes I know about that, One Republic did a cool song about it or something (cue: pic below). I hope 2017 is your year". I have had people stop me in the mall asking where I got my portable O2 from, as they know someone who is on oxygen but cannot leave the house. Some people have asked me if I smoked, because they knew someone who smoked and ended up wearing O2 before they died. About 2 months ago the barista at our local coffee place pointed at my nasal cannula and asked if it hurts... I replied "No, it just helps me breathe better". So she said "No - I mean in here..." pointing to her heart. I didn't expect that one. She continued saying "It must be really hard to be sick, and you're so young". I just nodded and said I'm OK. Didn't really know what else to say! These are just some examples I could think of now, but there are quite a few more!
I've realised 2 things from this...
a) People notice when you are different, and it has given me new respect for people with other physical disabilities, especially ones that will never improve. It's hard to stand out of the crowd and not being able to just run a quick errand without being noticed because you're physically different. At least I am hopefully only "temporarily" disabled, but being in a wheelchair or on crutches or anything that makes you look different permanently must be really bad. It's not nice when people feel sorry for you or treat you differently. Sometimes you just want to fly beneath the radar.
b) Secondly, most people are really nice. People who we overlook in our daily life because we are too busy, deserve more friendliness. Chris has always been very good at chatting to strangers and making small talk but I'm not. When you the bad side of humanity in the news so much it's been refreshing to see the caring side of everyday people. So be friendly and show some kindness to the people you often live past in everyday life.