The Day My Life Changed

May 1, 2011
By , orono, MN
“Ding-Dong” sounds the bell after my tenth hour class concludes, signally the start of MEA break. Jumping up the steep marble stairs to the mezzanine, I gaze upon the ocean of students bursting out of the glass school doors into a world of freedom. Feeling the excitement of my classmates, I join them and run out the doors and rush into my exciting break plans that I already have eagerly set up the night before. Little do I know that this will be one break that will change my life forever in a way that I never could have imagined.

Two days of the crisp fall break pass stocked full with activity and time spent with friends. On Saturday morning to my brother, sister and my surprise, our parents tell us we will be staying at Grand View Lodge for the weekend. After a mostly sleep filled ride up we arrive. After settling into our cabin at around six, we decide to go swimming! Once we all begin to get hungry, we dry off and decide to eat at the restaurant at the Lodge. At our cabin, when we are drying ourselves off, I begin to feel sick to my stomach. Hoping it will pass, I decide not to share this with my family, thinking that it will just ruin the night of fun. After the grueling walk to the restaurant, I feel sicker so I decide to just order water and a salad. But before I can take a bite, I have to bolt outside without an explanation to my family and begin to vomit as soon as the cold air touches my face.

Earlier in the week, I had been experiencing symptoms of diabetes so my parents now think it best for me to be seen by a doctor. At the hospital, a nurse pricks my finger and informs my dad and I that I have a blood sugar level of 780. An average blood sugar level if you don’t have diabetes is 100. After the doctor's recognition that I am critically high, I begin giving numerous vials of blood for tests as well as have an IV inserted to help flush some of the sugar out of my blood stream. It is there sitting in that bed when I first realize that this new thing, this disease called diabetes, could effect me for the rest of my life.

Sitting in that generic white room I begin to think about my future and how it may be effected by this disease that I recently learned about just a few weeks earlier. Still wondering what that word even means: diabetes, diabetes, diabetes. The word chases through my head followed closely by forever, forever, forever. I have only been in the hospital twice in my life prior to this attack and both were for things that would eventually heal or in other words “go away”. This, however, is never going away and I just can not wrap my mind around that concept. My staring off into space is disrupted by the heavy wooden door of the hospital room opening energetically by the young doctor and nurse that are caring for me. “The blood tests are back and all of your other blood levels seem pretty good,” was the doctors first comment. “Except your blood sugar level as you know is 780 and that just doesn’t happen to normal people without diabetes.” Silence falls in the hospital room. Tears creep intro my eyes and a large lump forms deep within my throat. I decide to look down to hide my face refusing to break the silence. “So there’s no other possible explanations? He has diabetes?” My father’s question breaks the silence. The young doctor tries to show his sympathy as well as confirming yes by closing his eyes, looking down and nodding slowly. To this my jaw begins to tremble and the doctor leaves the room. Step, step,step. My father has walked over to give me a hug. Over twenty seconds pass without a word. I cannot even try to hug back I am so baffled by what has just happened. We wait in that hospital room for several minutes discussing how I should try to keep my “What is, is. What’s next?” type of attitude because there is nothing I can do about it. I’m not saying that I just got over it in an instant. I am still almost distraught the rest of the night as well as the following day thinking the most I have ever thought about my future in my life and about what new disadvantages I will have and how I am going to deal with them.

Having the nurse wheel me out of my hospital room as I sit helplessly in my bed tops my awesome night off with a cherry. She brings me into the mammoth sized elevator and then into what seems like the nocturnal hospital wing. Here I am seen by a diabetic specialist. She explains all of the specifics of diabetes, answers all my questions, as well as gives the order to inject insulin. “It’s just one extra thing your going to have to do,” says the doctor. “Just think of it as brushing your teeth more, injecting insulin,” the doctor says in a reassuring tone. “Yeah, now that you have explained it more clearly I feel a lot better about it,” I say truthfully feeling better. “Is there any chance I can get something to eat?, ha-ha,” I ask embarrassingly. “Sorry, but we’re not gonna be able to get you anything until your blood sugar level lowers.” says the doctor. “Ok, that’s fine,” I quickly add not wanting to sound rude. That night, I have to wake up every two hours to check my blood sugar level and to inject insulin. Each hour waking up and forgetting everything, then being reminded by looking down and seeing the IV in my arm as I look around the dark hospital room. There is a horrible feeling of false hope that creeps into my body every two hours of the night.

Waking up the next morning to start my first day as a diabetic is rough. I slowly open my eyes to find a window full of grey clouds as well as my dad loyally sitting beside me staring nervously. “Well, that was fun,” is my sarcastic comment to my Dad about the previous night. My dad just laughs still looking at me nervously. Without any further conversation I take the T.V. remote and turn on ESPN just like any ordinary Sunday morning. Food, it finally comes. My first meal as a diabetic. I am told that I won’t be put on insulin until the next day so really it is one of my last non-diabetic meals. After finishing breakfast, I eagerly ask one of the nurses how long I will be staying in the hospital. “We have gotten your blood sugar down through the insulin in the IV so you should be able to leave somewhere around twelve.” “Yes!” I think, “Freedom finally!”

Later that day, around eleven, my dad decides to drive my brother and sister home because my mom wants to come and be with me in the hospital. When my dad leaves after a long hug (or more him hugging me and me sitting uncomfortably with an IV in my arm) I sit alone to think. “What will my friends think?” “How will I explain to them this night and what everything is?” “Who else has diabetes?” “Do I know anyone who does?” “How will my mom deal with this?” “Click, click, click, click,” I can hear my mom’s high heels hitting the hard floor walking down the hallway. “Really mom?” I think to myself as she blindly walks right past my room’s wide open door. Turning back around she finally finds me. The moment her eyes met my own she begins to cry. Seeing this I know I am in for another hug, and I am right . She walks straight towards me hugging me and at the same time saying, “How are you?” in a teary voice. I reply with “I’m fine,” trying to keep positive. My mom then sits in the chair my father has just spent his uncomfortable night on just staring at me attempting to hold in all of her emotions. Finally, the nurse clanks the metal handle of the door and skips inside optimistically.

As the nurse explains how the whole diabetes thing works to my mom for the fist time (second time for me) I sort of zone out, tired from last night. Snapping out of it, I glance up to see my moms eyes filling with tears as the nurse hands her two insulin pens. Clarifying when I need to be taking them with the nurse, my mom’s voice begins to tremble even more and I begin to realize just how different this is going to be for her. Apposed to my dad, who already seems to be over it and thinking of how we are going to make changes in our life in order to have a positive attitude about it as always. “Any more questions?” asks the nurse cheerfully. “No, I think we’re good now. Thank you so much for everything,” replies my mom. “Ok, great I think you’re free to go. Then let me just quickly take this IV out and you can go home,” said the nurse. RIP! RIP! She yanks of the tape, then pulls out the long plastic tube for what seems like a lifetime. “Ok ,thanks again!” said my mom. “Yep, good luck at the doctor’s tomorrow. I’m sure you will start to feel much more confident about everything after that,” said the nurse as we walk out. Agreeing with the nurse, my mom and I walk out of the hospital both changed people, and continue to change for the better the more this disease takes its toll (which is not much) on me.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said that “an individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” This quote helps me put everything into perspective. I can sit here in my life feeling sorry for myself for a disease that takes fifteen minutes away from my day and isn’t going away or I can enjoy each day of my life to the fullest and refuse to dwell on the negatives. I now know that there are much bigger problems in the world and it would be a waste of my life to spend my time feeling sorry for myself about such a small individual one. There are people in this world who are fighting every day for their lives but are terminal, who will die in vain if I spend my days not living, but feeling sorry. Throughout this whole experience I have learned that in life you have to make the most of what you are given and even though that might not be a lot for some, it is always enough.





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback