It was in 5th grade when everything changed. I was sleeping in class, I drank too much water, and my mouth always felt dry, of course I’d felt odd but I thought I could soldier on. It could’ve been because I was growing, or maybe I was just thirsty. Those assumptions could’ve been right but I was completely wrong, soon everything came crashing down, everyday it would get worse and worse, and everyday I would assure myself that I would tell my mom but it never happened. I was scared, I didn’t want anything to be wrong with me..I didn’t want to go to the doctor or get blood tests or anything, I thought that I’d be able to manage and that everything would just vanish.
It was the first day of school, everyone was friendly and energetic in the gym. I sat down next to the vent waiting for my friends. As I waited, I twiddled with my backpack, I’d gotten some new keychains to hook onto my backpack, one was from Sweden, which was glittery red and gold, the other one was a rubber one that said Philadelphia. After a while my friends came and we waited for class to start.
As I entered the new world of fifth grade, I was determined to be the best student I could possibly be, and for a while I wasn’t doing very bad. I got some A’s and B’s and I was proud, until everything changed. The symptoms were slow at first, so I didn’t worry about it. Right when people were getting into the school year, I was falling behind.
One day, it seemed like an ordinary day. I stepped out into the sun and smiled.
“Bye, thank you!” I said to the bus driver.
As I started walking home I was hit with thirst, hunger, and an urge to go to the bathroom. Thankfully my house was a block away and I could quickly get home. I finally arrived home and dropped my backpack on the ground. My throat felt so dry and weird, I thought that if I didn’t drink water, my throat would feel better, however that quickly ended and I was soon drinking a whole bunch of water. After that I decided to eat a sandwich, I was still hungry after that, I tried to control it but I had to eat more, I fished a whole box of crackers out of the pantry and ate it, I’d lost control over what I was eating. Soon, there were only a few crackers left, I was astonished, this was all so new to me. I still told myself that I was just growing and everything would be ok.
“Mom I’m home!” I called one day after school. It seemed like school had dragged on like a heavy old blanket but finally I was home. Without knowing I made my way towards to sofa, and soon I was asleep. I’d completely forgotten about my homework and faked tons of excuses for not doing them. I’d always done my homework unless something serious was happening but not knowing what was happening to me an excuse wouldn’t be able to cut it. Days went by and I was still falling asleep out of school and in school.
The glasses kept getting filled, getting empty, getting filled and getting empty. I was so thirsty and I knew this wasn’t like me. After having tacos for dinner one night I was still hungry, and after having pesto and pasta I was still hungry. My mom was confused, it isn’t exactly normal to eat two dinners..
“I don’t know what’s wrong with her, she’s been getting thinner…”
“…it’s like the air got sucked out of her cheeks.”
I heard tiny snippets of mom’s phone call, I knew it was about me but I refused to believe it. She soon hung up the phone and sighed.
“I’m going out for a little bit, ok sweetie?” she kissed my cheek, “make sure to put the alarm on!”
As I sat there I was so tired, but luckily we’d had spring break and no homework weighed me down. In a flash mom came back with a Rite Aid bag, that confused me. Why would she go to Rite Aid?
She took a box out, it said Accu Check on it. What could this possibly be? She took it out and read the instructions, everything was so silent that you could hear a pin drop, she took out an instruction sheet and a weird device. She took a strip out and used something to prick my finger. I didn’t flinch and for a second it felt normal to me.
We looked at the device and a countdown started…5…4…3…2…1…and then it read HI.
“What does HI mean?” I asked nervously.
“I’m not sure…” My mom scratched her head and looked on the instructions. It said that HI meant that my blood sugar was over 400. She then looked at me with wide eyes, “Cat get in the car, we’re going to the emergency room.” She told my dad and we were in the car.
My hands were sweaty, I was confused, I had absolutely no idea what a “blood sugar” was but I obeyed.
The car ride was silent, while they were being calm I was freaking out about dying. I thought this was my last day and that 10 years was enough. I then decided to be calmer, if I was to I would die, and if I was to live I would live.
We soon arrived at the emergency room and I was scared…something just told me that something very serious was going on with me but I wasn’t sure. I was shaking, my hands were sweaty and that thirsty sensation crept up again like a black cat. I glanced at all of the people sitting, one group was playing on a DS another group was solemn and quiet, another group a man had a bloody arm. I’d never been to an emergency room and wondered what everyone was doing there. Once I got my hands on a bottle of water I’d already drunk half. After sitting for about 5 minutes, we entered a room where a nice lady sat, I remember she had brown hair but that’s all I remembered. She smiled at me and said, “sit down sweetie.” It was hard to really speak because my mouth was so dry from not having water so I just nodded. Once again she pricked me and blood came out. This time the needle felt like burden, my hand was stinging and it wouldn’t stop bleeding. The meter read high again…
“She possibly could have type 1 diabetes.” the nurse said. My only knowledge of diabetes was the stereotypical non-diabetic one…you had to be fat to have diabetes. I’m guessing she saw my confused face, “and said it’s ok sweetie, you can still eat cupcakes, in fact you can eat anything, just be sure to take insulin. My son has diabetes and he’s doing ok. Don’t worry.”
I then decided at that moment that diabetes wouldn’t get to me. I finally felt like I had something more to deal with and there was more of a spice in my life.
I walked down the hall and laid on a hospital bed, they put IV’s on both sides of my veins. On a hospital wall was a tv playing an animal show. I looked at my mom and realized that I should’ve told her I wasn’t feeling well but she was too busy talking to the doctor. I guess Animal Planet was the only thing that would listen to me.
I then had to switch to another hospital bed, I didn’t realize how weak I was, all of this suffering I hadn’t completely realized, I felt guilty that I could’ve been harmed and I hadn’t took action.
The nurses wheeled me through the long hall and I was in the emergency truck…and then I was asleep. My slumber was shortly disturbed by a nurse tapping me on the shoulder. It was time to go to the hospital. By my side my mom smiled at me and held my hand. I’d never been to a hospital, like my mom says there was never anything with me, I rarely got sick or anything.
The nurses greeted me like I was an old friend and instantly I became comfortable around them. It was like one of those hospital movies except I was the main character…at least in my hospital room.
I was so happy when I was able to sleep, I was so exhausted and overwhelmed. Would I be ok? Unfortunately, I was awaken by beeping and doctors and nurses, for 3 days I was never left alone at night in the ICU.
Everyday I would try to write but it seemed like everyday writing had gradually distanced.
On my third hospital day, a nurse came in and gave me paint and a box. Lately I’d been getting more advanced with drawing and brought my sketchbook everywhere. I grinned, this should be fun, I thought. I looked at the colors, the colors ranged from the cool to warm colors. I decided to paint it blue with a purple and pink ombre touch. The only thing was that I couldn’t connect with any of the things I loved. I knew that I enjoyed it but it just didn’t feel the same.
Later on that night my mom and I settled on the hospital bay window. At this time I realized that she was also scared. She smiled and rubbed my back. We looked through the diabetes book and realized that this was my life and I’d have to deal with it.
The last two days were spent in a sunny hospital watching movies brought from visitors.
“Let’s go for a walk,” my dad said.
Although I’d lost of balance and my legs were as stiff as sticks I knew that he wouldn’t take no for an answer, besides I hadn’t walked in a week. We walked down the halls and enjoyed the view, there was a playground outside which I wanted to go on but never did.
After a week, I was ready to leave the hospital and although I knew that diabetes would be a challenge I later realized that FINALLY, finally I had something to take care of, it is a big pain, literally, but I’m ok. I’m just fine.