Guest Post: Love Story, with a Dia-Twist.
A little back story…
It was December 1999. I had the flu and the world was going to end (Y2K, anyone?) The clock struck midnight and the world continued on just as before but I could not seem to shake my ever draining sickness. I was about to go on long trip from Sunny California to Snowy Massachusetts to visit my Mom and Gram. I stopped by the doctor on my way out the door for a steroid shot to keep my asthma at bay. It wasn’t uncommon for my colds/flu’s to linger so neither of us was too concerned.
My three and a half week trip went a little something like this: Visit, nap, eat, drink, nap, pee, drink, nap, pee, drink, sleep, sleep, and sleep. The winter seemed to be taking a toll on me. The cold weather was making me extra tired and ultra cranky. It also seemed to melt thirty pounds right off my bones. It had to be all the heavy clothes I wasn’t used to wearing.
When I returned home, my dad picked me up at the airport and took me out to dinner. I drank a full pitcher of water before our order was even taken. My dad looked at my intake and said “You have diabetes”. OK Dad, whatever. I laughed off his statement but did still feel like shit so the next morning I went and had some long overdue lab work drawn.
Fast forward a few days to February 2, 2000. I’m lying down for my 25th nap of the day and my phone rings. It was my doctor calling, at 7:30pm at night, with my lab results. (Um, don’t you have office staff to do this during the day?)
“GO TO THE HOSPITAL NOW!” she yelled into the phone. “YOU HAVE DIABETES AND YOU ARE VERY SICK!!”
So I did what anyone would do in this situation. I took a shower, packed a bag, made a few phone calls, cleaned out the refrigerator and then drove myself to the hospital.
It didn’t sink in until I was settled my hospital room and the nurses, needles, I.V.s, burning banana bags and oxygen came out. It was then that it sunk deep into my soul. Would I ever be able to have kids? I have to do WHAT with needles? Will I get to keep my feet? Am I going to die? I cried the entire night.
February 3, 2000. My new life path is full of thorny bushes and endless rain or so I thought. I couldn’t see past the fog of my own fears and sadness to notice when he walked into my room.
“Hello! I’m here to take you for an x-ray.” He said.
“I just got my lunch and my medicine. I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to eat. I’ll eat fast if you want to come back in 10 minutes.”
“Sure. I’ll be right back.” He strolled out into the hall.
Two hours later…
“Hello, again! Are you all set for your x-ray?”
“What took you so long? That was the longest ten minutes ever!” I snapped.
He gingerly moved me from my bed to the wheelchair making sure to not snag any of my IV tubing probably hoping I wouldn’t go all crabby pants on him again. He made leisurely chit chat through the halls of the hospital, during my x-ray and back again. I mumbled a lot of yes and no responses just wanting to get back to bed and wallow in self pity. He dropped me off in my room and said his goodbye.
Hospital shift change rolled around a few hours later and I heard the curtain by my bed rustle. He walked in and stood in front of me.
“Do I have to have more tests?” I asked my eyes blurring with tears.
“Um, no. I am on my way home but I thought I would stop by to see how you are doing. You seem very upset. And to be honest, I’m here to make a fool of myself.” He shifted from one foot to the other.
I wiped the tears from my eyes and finally looked at this kind man who had shuttled me all over the hospital that day. He was my age, tall with dark hair and a lovely smile. Not too shabby. Suddenly diabetes no longer engulfed the room.
We talked for a while that night and he came back to visit me every day after. He brought me a chess set and tried to teach me how to play. When I was finally stable enough to head home we exchanged numbers and arranged our first date. I picked a d- friendly place for dinner and he took me to the movies. We held hands and when he brought me home we shared a shy, sweet first kiss at my front door.
He was now a constant in my life just like diabetes. He was OK with my diabetes and all that came with it. It brought us together after all. His acceptance helped me be a little OK with it too. My path of thorny bushes and endless rain was now a little sunshinier.
Our path together has not always been unicorns and rainbows. We have taken side steps, backward steps and even some swirly steps along the way. But we stuck with it and have persevered for nearly 12 years. I look forward to every day I share with that kind man, who is now my kind husband. On the days when I get really down about diabetes, I am reminded that I should be thankful for it because of the path it lead me to and the wonderful life that has grown out of a simple hello and a broken pancreas.
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Jessica was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 20 years old. She has used a pump for 10 years and recently added a CGM to help reel in the highs and lows. She lives in Southern California with her husband and two sons. [Editor's note: And she's awesome. And has the prettiest wedding photo ever. :) ]