In the weeks prior to August 22, 1987, I was spending time in Florida with my Mom, Dad, and older brother. We were staying at my aunt’s house with my two older cousins in West Palm Beach. I was five. I think we went to Disney that year. I somewhat remember a family photograph that shows my brother and I eating blue cotton candy at SeaWorld and I have to assume that it was this taken during this particular trip.
What I know for sure is that I was sick. I remember wetting the bed EVERY night and how upset everyone was that they had to change the sheets each night. I remember the trip to the doctor’s office and the diagnosis-I had the flu. And as for the bed-wetting: his advice was to give me nothing to drink after dinner.
I remember looking up at the cabinets that held the glasses that were out of my reach and wondering how I could get one. And if I couldn’t get a glass, then how could I get water from the automatic dispenser on the refrigerator? I was desperately dehydrated. I remember that I would sneak into the bathroom, run the cold water over a facecloth and suck the water out. They couldn’t figure out how I was still wetting the bed and I wasn’t about to tell them my secret!
On August 22, 1987, we were home from Florida and my mother brought me to see my pediatrician. I was still sick. I remember sitting in the chair to have my blood sugar tested. The doctor, however, was already sure of my diagnosis, having been able to smell ketones. The blood test confirmed his suspicions and changed my life forever.
The next week was spent in the pediatric ward of the hospital. I remember the Styrofoam cup that the nurse placed over my IV. I know now it was to keep me from pulling it out, but at the time I was told it was the house that my IV lived in (or something equally as juvenile). I remember hiding under the hospital bed in an effort to dodge my evening shot. I remember playing Tic-Tac-Toe in the playroom, the stuffed animals I received as gifts and visitors who came, the jello and the night that my Mother and Grandmother dutifully and lovingly separated the meat and potatoes from the corn and peas, so that I would eat dinner.
What I don’t remember is life before diabetes. It's been 20 years of ups and downs, of normal everyday living coupled with the demands of a broken pancreas. Here's to 20 more years--Bring it on!