Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Thank you to My Daddy.

I spend a good deal of time trying to decide what to write about every day; most of the time I'm not even sure if anyone is even reading this?
My aim with my writing isn't to make people feel guilty or sorry for me. I'm not trying to say how bad my life is or that my life is worse than someone else with a fatal illness.
My motivation is to get everyday people like you, the reader to see someone else's life. My goal is to help you understand how you can be a part of a sick person's life by just being a friend. I also hope to help you realize that each person has a part of life that is hard to manage.
I don't want anyone to read my writings as me whining. I want to educate, inform, maybe provide a little laughter and above all else help you think about something deeper than what to make for dinner.
I realize there is no clear cut path on my posts, that every day is as random as the day before. I am in essence covering a variety of subjects that may or may not interest you but may bring you closer to understanding what it's like to grow up with serious illness.
Diabetes has always been my life. I was diagnosed at age 4, a scrawny little kid who had no idea what was happening to her. I have a few memories of life before diabetes but they are faded images, blurred at the edges with one or two bright colors sticking out at me, namely my grandfather's blue eyes, he died when I was 3 and taking drives in his gold car. Beyond that most of my memories are after diagnosis. To me A.D. means After Diabetes.
My life changed so dramatically after spending 3 weeks on a pediatric ward of a local hospital. I remember those three weeks vividly. I can still see the metal crib with the shiny, steel bars on it that I had to sleep in. I can still see my parents visiting me as much as they could, for they had 2 kids at home to care for still. My strongest memory of those three weeks though is of my father.
He had this black dress shirt he wore on the weekends. It was a black, button down, shirt with thin white stripes going down it. To this day it still kind of reminds me of something that symbolizes the Chicago Blackhawks, which makes no sense because we didn't watch Hockey in my family. However, that shirt today makes me think of Hockey... He was wearing that shirt the day he came to give me an insulin injection for the very first time.
I didn't know it then but my father HATES needles. He's worked in a hospital his entire working life and he hates needles. However, due to my medical condition and needing shots every day, he would be forced to be around them. They let him practice on an orange for a few days before actually giving one to me...
It was a Sunday morning. I was sitting in my crib with a glass of orange juice... I don't know why I was in my crib still but I guess it was early morning since my shots were done before breakfast.  The nurse was guiding him to pull up a section of my arm fat because the needle had to be injected subcutaneously into a fatty area. She was telling him to gently inject the syringe into my arm; that the needle was sharp enough to penetrate the skin easily.
I remember him grabbing what little arm fat I had and I remember the syringe in his hand. He'd taken awhile loading the insulin into the syringe and tapping it for air bubbles. Little did I know he was avoiding the inevitable job of jabbing me with the needle he hated so much...
He squeezed my arm, looked at the syringe again and went to put it into my arm and promptly fell over. Right into my crib, orange juice went flying everywhere, my nightgown was soaked, his black shirt was wet, I was screaming, the nurse looked dumbfounded.
I don't know if passed out exactly or just went kind of weak in the knees but he wasn't able to give me my shot that morning. I don't know that he ever gave me a shot. My mom seemed to be the one that did the shots all the time. When she went into the hospital to have my younger siblings when I was 6 and 11, I went and stayed with my aunt who gave me my shots. I don't know that my father ever did it... but he must have because at some point I started needed evening shots and my mom went back to work or would go out shopping in the evenings...
But I really cannot remember Daddy giving me shots... he helped with my blood glucose testing. He stuck my fingers with the little needle for that and he had no problems with the blood. He helped clean up scrapes and cuts and soothed me when I was hurt.
He always stuck his thumb out for me when I had to have a blood test at the hospital. He always said "Here squeeze my thumb, squeeze as hard as you can." And he waited until the phlebotomy needle was out of my arm before saying "Okay, all over.”
But those damn diabetic insulin injections, he just couldn't do them. My dad is still the greatest man I know. He has never let me down. He never judged me or my idiotic decisions. He never told me I was wrong or inept in life. He has always shown complete unconditional love to all of us children. Even if I was scared to tell him I'd screwed up, I knew he'd still love me. I knew he'd still try and help me through the fire.
Diabetes changed me. I wonder though if it didn't change him too. If having to watch over a child who has this big disease didn't make him more loving than he may have otherwise been? I know that I was lucky though. I was so very lucky to have him in my life. Many times I think that without my father to go too, I wouldn't have made it this far.
So today, I say thank you to my father. My earliest memory recollection is because of him. I learned at a young age that parents aren't perfect but they will do everything in their power to try and take care of you, no matter if it makes them fall over and spill orange juice.
I love you Daddy! Thank you for making my life easier, for teaching me about love, for allowing me to have fun, for always being there and most of all for loving me.

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