Since I heard the news last week, I told myself I wasn’t going to write about it. Over and over again, the brain in my head whispered thoughts to me. “No, no, no,” it said! Yet, here I am sitting at my desk where those same thoughts are speaking silently aloud to me.
Invisible memories traveling from my mind down the length of my arm. Long fingers resting with air-filled tips atop printed letters. A familiar keyboard speckled in dust. Tap, tap, tap. Jumbled words appear on a screen of white. What will I write?
About a week ago, another child ‘close to home’ was admitted to St. Louis Children’s Hospital with the forever diagnosis of insulin dependent diabetes (T1D), an epidemic in Chronic Conditions. I write, “close to home,” because this sweet, young girl is the daughter of my son’s co-worker at the National Weather Service.
A small office, everyone works hard to ensure the safety of the general public by tracking weather patterns and providing them forecasts ahead of danger. Although men and women work in shifts, they are tight, like a family. Nimbus, my son’s diabetic alert dog is always by his side. Each time a co-worker opens the door, a moist black nose of the darkest night sniffs the air, making sure the scent walking in belongs with the ‘others.’
Upon hearing of the child’s T1D, diagnosis, I sighed before unconsciously biting my lip. Eyes brimmed with glassy tears. One or two spilled out. Later, I washed dried salt from my cheek.
It doesn’t matter how many years have passed since I first heard the word, diabetes. Whenever I think of that moment, the feeling is still here within me. Deep down in the pit of my stomach. A spring that never unsprang reminding me of a “Slinky” that was never removed from its original box.
I know how this mother felt when she received her daughter’s diagnosis. The word probably came out of the doctor’s mouth sounding like it was in slow motion or under water. Muffled, garbled and not understood. In a split second, her family’s life was changed forever….
Overwhelmed, exhaustion finally set in. Suddenly, this mother was the newest member of a club she NEVER planned to join. Yet, there in a pastel, painted cement block room was an IV pole saving her daughter’s life with the magical powers of insulin. Drip, drip, drip. Thank God. Yes, Thank GOD….
There is nothing good I can say about diabetes. Absolutely nothing. For those who follow my blog you know I try to stay positive. I believe there is a reason for everything. We may not understand it at the time, but eventually we discover it.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, will provide Emma with a book that I wrote over twenty years ago entitled, Rufus Comes Home. She will receive it free together with a cuddly stuffed teddy bear like every newly diagnosed child in their “Bag of Hope.”
Here is the irony. Emma will read a book written by the mother of one of her father’s co-worker’s. It was written shortly after her father’s ‘co-worker’ was diagnosed with diabetes when he was a young child….just like little Emma. Hopefully, the story will help her and her family cope while giving them some sense of peace during this most difficult time.
I am not promoting the book. Fourteen years ago I sold my tiny publishing company together with rights to all of my titles. I no longer receive royalties. Regardless, it truly warms my heart to know that this particular story is still helping children many years after being written.
If there is a ‘reason’ for my son, Jayson developing diabetes, certainly it was to inspire others through the books I wrote. They never would have helped another without him blazing the first trail. I thank you in my heart forever, my son.
What will Emma’s “reason” be? Perhaps one day she will entertain us as a beautiful ballerina or sing upon a stage? Maybe she’ll become President or wear a Miss America crown upon her lovely head? She’ll help another family or go on a Mission far across the great blue sea… She might become a doctor or a scientist working with a microscope? In spite of living with diabetes, Emma can capture wishes while living all of her dreams.
I’m still hoping there will no longer be a need for any of the books I wrote on Chronic Conditions. Someday in the distant future…. How wonderful that would be!
No more Emma’s. No more, Jayson’s. My own wish you see…my every day dream…my evening pillow prayer.
A Few Statistics on T1D (insulin dependent)
As many as 3 million Americans may have T1D
15,000 Children and 15,000 Adults are diagnosed each year
80 people in the US are diagnosed EVERY day
Each year, T1D costs our health care system nearly 15 BILLION dollars.
There is NO way to prevent the onset of T1D. It’s thought to be triggered by a combination of environmental and heredity factors.
Insulin is not a cure, it’s Life Support
Symptoms of T1D
Frequent thirst and urination
Drowsiness or lethargy
Increase in appetite
Sudden loss of weight
Sugar found in a urine sample
Fruity odor on breath
Heavy or labored breathing
Unconsciousness, seizure, or stupor. Call 911 Immediately!!