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My Days At Joslin This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I don't think that there has ever been a day on which I felt so small and confused as the one in April of 1989 when I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. My doctor told me that I would have to spend a week at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. I was very afraid of what diabetes was, and I didn't know why it was so important that I go to the hospital immediately. I had been playing with my friends an hour before and felt fine. But, my parents dragged me into the car away from home for a whole week.

The first night was the worst. The doctors asked me hundreds of questions, and gave me dozens of blood tests, then ordered me to bed. But the bed was stiff and the nurses forced me to drink liquids every five seconds so I wouldn't dehydrate.

There were a lot of things on my mind. I was very confused about the situation because I still felt okay, but lots of doctors were telling me things I just couldn't digest at that moment. I felt trapped in the hospital prison and that there was no way to escape the situation. I was afraid that when I left the hospital, I would not be able to lead a normal life. The fact that one out of six hundred kids has diabetes, and I had to be the one, got me very angry. All these thoughts made me tired and so I dozed off for ten minutes until another nurse wanted a blood sugar test.

Life that week was rough, but I got used to it. The artificial scrambled eggs for breakfast weren't very appealing, but at least the cooks were friendly and helpful. When I decided to play racquetball in the gym, my doctor sent an exercise specialist who told me lots of things that I didn't care to know about exercise. I had to go to many classes at the hospital that were very boring. After only a few days at the hospital, I already knew more than most adults in the classes. There were only two other kids at the hospital. They weren't very friendly and neither of them wanted to take care of their diabetes which is probably why they were there.

As the week went by, I seemed to cope better with my predicament. I had learned a lot about my disease and it didn't seem as overwhelming anymore. I was lucky to have many caring friends visit me or write me letters. I got ahead on homework for school, and I memorized the morning TV schedule. My parents were very comforting and supportive throughout the week, as they still are today. I was glad that they were also learning things about diabetes so they could help me.

The day that I went home, I was very happy and relieved. Not only was I happy just to get out of the hospital, but also because I had learned how to deal with a problem I would have my whole life, so it would not take over my life. When I got home, I was amazed to hear how many of my friends either are or knew someone who is a diabetic. I was proud of the fact that although I had seemed to be trapped in such a terrible situation, it had actually turned out okay. Most important, I learned that diabetes doesn't create prison bars to restrain me in any way. Regardless of my diabetes, I can do or be anything I want! n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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