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Things Could Be Worse
June 25th, sick. June 26th, sick. June 27th, sick. June 28th, sick. June 29th, sick. June 30th, sick yet again. July 1st, doctors. After that, hospital. Then, downhill. Downhill on a rollercoaster. The rollercoaster with highs and lows, spikes and turns.
Drowsy, sleepy, constantly thirsty, got my parents worried. I was sleeping through out the whole day, losing weight, and not eating. So there I was, 7 years old, sitting in the doctors office. The room with the happy dog paintings, the matching wallpaper, and the desk with the smiling pictures of children. So happy, but was I? The doctor examined me, weighed me, and asked my mother about a million questions, so it seemed, about the way I was acting and feeling in the past few weeks. Then the nurse took a finger prick. And yes, I cried. What now seems like nothing, was the biggest fear of my life then. 10 minutes later the nurse and the doctor were discussing a serious matter, right outside the door. The doctor wanted to speak with my mom one on one, so I went to the waiting room with the nurse to watch a movie. It was 101 Dalmatians, I remember perfectly. After several minutes, I was called back into the room; on the way there I heard sniffles. I didn’t really think much of it; it was simply a doctor’s office so that was normal. But, when I reached the door to the room, the sniffles were louder. The door opened and I saw my mother crying with the doctors holding her hand. This alarmed me because my mom barely ever cries. I then took from this something was wrong. I didn’t have the normal strep throat, or flu, I realized this was serious. I then started to cry. In a second I was in her lap giving her a hug. I was scared. The doctor then told my mom to tell me. Tell me what? , Was the big question.
“ Squirt”, my mom said with a smoky, scratchy voice, “ We, We need to, um… take
you to the hospital.”
“NO,NO,NO!!!!!” I screamed with my stubborn little girl attitude. “ I’m not going.”
“ Taylor you have to go, I’m sorry,” the doctor said.
Suddenly the sniffles got louder, the tears came rushing down my face harder, and my mind wet sprinting. In complete shock is a better word. Still crawled up in a little ball in my Mom’s lap, I felt a tear drop onto my face, Mom’s tear. . I knew we were both in shock. My Mom felt how nervous I was. I was only 7. We both knew that this was serious, but we couldn’t reassure our selves that everything would be okay. We just couldn’t.
Although both of us were crying, we left. We hopped in the car, and went to the hospital. When I arrived, I was placed onto a bed, and rolled into a room. Suddenly, a sharp pain was sent through my arm, it was a blood test. Iv’s then sent the same pain through me, while tears tumbled down my face like heavy rain on a sidewalk. The word for this moment of my life was terrified.
The nurse later came into the room; I was coloring at the time. My parents were called out into the hallway, they came back into the room with tears in their eyes. My Dad was holding my Mom’s hand tightly. They were in pain, just as much pain as me.
“ Squirt,” they whispered, there was a silence between both of them,
“ You have diabetes.”
I immediately started to cry. I had no idea what this was, but it sounded bad, just sounded bad. And it was too overwhelming. All of this news in one day was enough to put me over the edge.
For the next 5 days I stayed in the hospital. I couldn’t eat, nor drink. I was miserable. Wires were hooked up to me, doctors came in and out of the room, my parents were frightened, and quite overwhelmed. They often had to go to meetings and learn about diabetes, how to control it, and even what it really was. I was getting these sharp pricks in my arms and finger through out the day, shots each morning and night, and I didn’t know why. I’m sure my parents knew, but it was still a mystery to me.
I can remember the way the doctor explained diabetes to me. He said that my body could no longer do what everybody else’s can. This is why I need to make sure there is enough sugar in my body at all times, but of course not too much. I was told to make this possible I had to take shots, and prick my arms and fingers several times a day. Now that one finger prick at the doctor’s office, which I cried through, had been multiplied to several times a day. This to me seemed like the end of the world. What could possibly go worse?
A few days later, when I had returned home from the hospital, I felt weird. I weighed 15 pounds less, I was very weak, and I looked at it, as I was a new person. I felt like I stood out, but in a bad way. I was the only one of my friends to take shots every day, the only one to prick their finger.
In September after I had been diagnosed, I started second grade. I had to go to the nurse everyday at least 2 times. I felt like this was as bad as it could get. I had to eat a snack everyday when nobody else was, and although I had many friends, I felt like an outcast. It always seemed like I was so very different do to the fact of my diabetes.
A few months had past after I had started second grade, and I had already had many doctors check ups at the Yale Medical Group. This is where we would discuss my diabetes. One visit in probably March, my parents and I were introduced to the insulin pump. This was a little box that you can hook up to your body to program in every time you need insulin in stead of the shots. We were actually very interested. I wasn’t very fond of the fact that this was something I was going to have to wear around, but the doctors said it would really help my diabetes. So we ordered a blue pump, and went back to Yale after about a month to hook the pump up.
The next day I went back to school. This was very weird. I was wearing something around my waist that no other kid wore. I know that all the kids were aware of my diabetes, and that this was something I needed, but I just didn’t like it. I thought this was embarrassing.
After the next month I found out that my mom had signed me up for a Diabetes Day Camp with other diabetics. She had a friend whose child went there, and she thought I should give it a shot. She knew that I had felt somewhat alone; I didn’t know anyone else with diabetes. I simply thought that I was the only one.
So there I was, driving up to camp. The 45-minute drive felt pretty long. I remember how my stomach was turning and I was a bit worried. What I was worried about I'm not sure. Then we pulled in.
“Taylor, we are here!” My mother stated.
“We Are?” I replied.
The tight knot in my small little body suddenly pulled tighter. My legs started to tingle. The feeling was rare, yet normal at the same time. I was nervous because I wasn’t sure what to make of a camp with all diabetics. I had never met another diabetic before, and I wasn’t sure what to expect from camp. I had attended many other camps with other kids in the past, but nothing like this camp, so it seemed. I thought that these children at the camp wouldn’t be normal because I wasn’t. Or was I? I am pretty sure the answer was yes, but in my mind I wasn’t normal because I was “different”.
Suddenly the car door I was propped up against opened. It startled me from my deep daydream.
“Squirt come on, lets go in!” my mother stated.
“Do I have to?” I asked.
“Yes, It will be fun!” my mother stated. “I promise I will stay as long as you need me to. I wont leave your side until you tell me it is okay.”
Those words from my mother gave me support and courage to get out of the car and meet all the other diabetics in the camp. When I stepped out of the car that was quite a few feet off of the ground, I felt my legs shake a little and I then had to tighten up to secure my balance. Then, I grabbed my mother’s hand, and slowly walked towards the entrance. I heard music playing softly, kids voices, and laughter. We then crept up to the front stairs. I saw many faces with smiles; I felt that this might not be so bad. I opened the door, walked in. Suddenly, I saw many other children with pumps just like me! Children were pricking their fingers and arms like I did everyday. I was amazed to see how they did stuff just like me. For the first time since I was diagnosed, I didn’t feel like “the only one”. I walked with my mom to get settled into my group. The counselors were happy. They welcomed me into the group. There were also 3 other campers in the group. They all had the same color pump as me. Blue my absolute favorite. . I felt as if I wasn’t different at all. I felt like I had not been lonely. Once everyone introduced themselves, I ran over to my mom. I gave her a kiss on the cheek and said softly,
“You can go now.”
My mother then with a tear in her eye walked out of the camp building. I knew she was proud. After only 20 minutes, I had found friends, and I had felt comfortable.
The rest of the camp day I played outdoor sports with everybody. My favorite game was Dr. Dodgeball. I remember how we also did water fun which was an activity in which you get into your bathing suit and do activities that involve water to help cool off your hot body. Arts and Crafts along with many other activities took place at camp too. We also tested our blood sugars regularly, and took care of the medical needs through out the day. I wasn’t the only kid going to the nurse, which made me feel perfect. That day when my mother pulled up to pick me up, I smiled. I knew that camp was the place for me and that diabetes wasn’t the worst thing in my life, and so did my mom. She had this look across her face, it was indescribable. For the first time in the past year, she felt like I was myself again. Although she didn’t speak in words, she spoke it in heart. You could feel her happiness and joy inside of her.
“Mom,” I said strongly when I hopped into the car.
“Yes, Squirt” she replied.
“Can I go back tomorrow?”
“Of, Course!” “Did you enjoy your day?” she asked.
“YES! YES! "YES!” “I LOVE CAMP!”
My mother and I both knew that day that diabetes was something I could control. I finally didn’t feel like a new Taylor. I was the old Taylor from before I was diagnosed. And still today I am helping at this camp along with the 3 original girls who were in my group my first year at camp. I have come to realize that things aren’t always as bad as they seem. You just need to learn how to cope and deal with your obstacles.