I'm so sweet!

by Joan Fleitas

My mama called me sugar plum, my daddy called me sweets.
Aunt Jennifer said “honey bunch, your cheeks are red as beets”.
I’d always thought it special to have nicknames that were yummy,
But that’s before I threw up and had problems with my tummy.

I didn't know what was happening,
And I was scared.

These problems started days ago when I felt hot inside.
I was thirsty, I was hungry, but no matter how I tried,
I felt empty in my belly, I felt dizzy in my head.
I drank gallons of ice water, I ate six slices of bread.

But nothing worked,
Except I peed a lot.

Aunt Jennifer called mama who called Dr. Pringlefest,
Who examined all my body parts and took some blood to test.
This blood was full of sugar plums and sweets and honey too.
It had swiped all of my nicknames, I did not know what to do.

And so I stuck out my tongue
And got scolded.

The sugar in my blood belonged in fudge and candy canes,
But instead it made itself at home and kept me in its chains.
It sent me to the hospital, it made me feel quite crummy.
You might think I exaggerate but it was not so funny.

I want some different nicknames
And I want it to be last year again.

I learned that all my tiredness and thirst and stomach troubles,
Were just like those of Grandpa Fred who blows impressive bubbles.
My gramps has diabetes, though the name I find misleading,
'Cause he's not dying, he's not beat, and he is rarely teasing.

I really wish that it was called

This disease called diabetes seems to often run in families,
And since Grandpa Fred has got it, and since
both our names are Cramley,
Then it makes some sense they tell me that I have so many symptoms,
And they say I'll learn to live with it, I needn't be a victim.

I didn't like this news at all
And so I cried.

 I worried that I'd done something quite bad that must have caused it,
But my dad said no, it's not because I tripped Priscilla Faucett. 

He told me that my pancreas, a part that lives inside me,
Wasn't working as it ought to and was acting very whiney.

I never knew I had a pancreas.
Did you?

Your pancreas makes insulin, a hormone that is busy
Finding sugar, sticking to it, so you won't go in a tizzy.
Without insulin, this sugar doesn't know quite what to do,
So it backs up in the blood stream causing problems by the slew.

And that's what happened to me.
I was very angry.

I pity my poor pancreas in permanent confusion,
But with it not making insulin, I've come to a conclusion.
I will have to poke this hormone in my body through injections,
And I'll have to learn to test my blood by following directions.

I was NOT looking forward to 
being a pincushion.

Amazing that I look like me, I talk like me, I burp like me.
I learned that diabetes has not changed the me I used to be.
You may be scared of getting it from playing Pokemon with me,
But that will never happen-this disease is quite persnickety. 

I guess I'd better get used to it
if it's going to stick around forever.

There are times when too much insulin is swimming in my bloodstream,
And I may act weird or sweaty, or I may be lost in daydream.
When it happens, 
I have learned that I must eat something that's sweet,
So if you're around, please help me when I look white as a sheet.

Don't worry, there are some good
things about having diabetes, too.

Now that I have diabetes I am kinder to my body,
And my teacher's pretty cool about it, "thank you, Mr. Schnoddy",
Since I don't have sweets and nacho chips I really stay quite healthy,
What with exercise and lots of sleep, I think I'm pretty wealthy.

Actually, I figure that I'll get by with a little help from my friends. 
Thanks for being one!

To the frog ponds
To send me your poem
To the site map

Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing,
Lehman College, CUNY

Bronx, New York 10468

Last updated: March 27, 2008