Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It’s My Body, and I’ll Eat If I Want To

The woman shifted restlessly, reaching to loosen her seatbelt and cursing to herself when she remembered that it was as loose as it could get. Why did these airplanes always have such short seatbelts?

She glanced at her watch. At least another hour before they landed. She hated flying. Sitting in first class barely made it tolerable.

She picked up a magazine, but as she was browsing through the pages, she began to feel lightheaded. It had been three months since she’d been diagnosed with diabetes, and she was still learning how to manage it. She’d last eaten just before going to the gate, so . . . hmmm. She needed some carbs now. And some protein to keep her blood sugar from spiking and then plummeting. Smiling for the first time since she’d boarded the plane, she reached into her purse for a small package of Hershey’s Kisses and pressed a button to call a flight attendant.

“What can I do for you?” asked the young woman who appeared almost instantly.

“I’d like some peanuts”

“I’m sorry—we don’t give out peanuts any more. So many people are allergic these days.”

I’m not.”

“Yes, ma’am, but someone near you might be. And some people are so highly allergic that just the scent can cause a reaction.”

“Listen to me, young lady.” The woman sat up straighter “I have diabetes, and I need some protein. So you just bring me some peanuts this minute.”

“I can bring you some milk. Milk is a good source of protein.”

“I’m lactose intolerant.”

“Let me see if there are other options.”

“I am not feeling well, and I want peanuts right now!”

By now other people had noticed the exchange. “Wonder how she developed diabetes?” the man across the aisle muttered to his wife, rolling his eyes.

The woman, her face becoming flushed, ignored those around her. “My blood sugar is dropping even as we speak, and I need those peanuts!”

The flight attendant was wringing her hands. “Ma’am, if someone has an allergy, the scent of peanuts could cause a reaction, maybe even a strong reaction. People can even die from the allergy. Maybe—“

“I don’t care about someone else’s allergy! I care about my body. Don’t I have a right to control what’s going on with my own body?”

“Of course, ma’am. But what about the rights of someone who might be harmed? Maybe I can find a piece of chicken or—“

“I don’t like chicken. I want peanuts!”

“Excuse me, ladies. Is there a problem?”

The woman looked past the flight attendant to see a tall young man. “This girl won’t bring me any peanuts.”

“I apologize, ma’am. I’ll have some for you in just a moment.”


The man quelled his junior flight attendant with a look. “Take a break”

The woman sighed, relaxing as she opened a Hershey’s kiss. It hadn’t even completely melted in her mouth before the man was back, carrying a silver tray that held a crystal dish, a wine glass, and a small bottle of champagne. “Please allow me, ma’am.” With a smile he set the crystal dish, full of peanuts, in front of her. “May I pour you a glass of champagne?”

“Yes, thank you.” The woman watched him pour as she reached into the dish. Peanuts were the perfect complement to chocolate.

The seat two rows up and across the aisle began to shake. People looked in that direction as they heard a gasping sound. A girl fell from that seat, clutching her throat. The junior flight attendant rushed to her side and tried to loosen her clothing. “Somebody see if she has an epi pen!” she yelled. A man went through her bag but found nothing. The girl was convulsing, her face turning blue.

The woman glanced out the window as she took another peanut. She was feeling much better now.

1 comment:

  1. Dr. Guffey, are you trying to tell us that you killed someone with a peanut? That's absolutely horrid, and yet the Army will try to contract you for killing someone without touching them. Lol.

    With stories like this, Spanish II should be interesting.