Because of Heather I got to meet other kids who were sick. I'm shy, so there's no way that I would have met anybody by myself. With her, it was easy, and it was fun. She'd just knock on a door, say, "hi, how come you're in the hospital?", and the next thing I'd know, we'd be all watching a video together. Everybody had a story to tell, and I learned about all of the kids, and a little about the diseases that they had to put up with. What I learned most was that the diseases and the kids were not the same thing. Just like me. I've got something called diabetes. It's a problem that I'll just have to get used to. But it's not who I am. And believe me, there's a big difference!I met so many children, and made so many friends while I was in the hospital.You can meet some, too and learn what makes them tick. They'll tell you about the medical problems that they're stuck with.
I was still thinking about Heather and the hospital and this diabetes thing--and I was still sitting on the floor of the bathroom with Abby. Mrs. Preston was standing next to us, real nice, waiting to see if one of us would like to be star for the day. I just couldn't decide what to do. Mom said I didn't need to tell anybody about what happened, if I didn't want to. She said that it may might make me feel better if I told my favorite friends, though, because then they would understand if have to leave the class to go to the nurse, and they would be there to help me if I needed them. Dad said that talking about things that bothered him always helped him to feel better, and that it might help me, too. I figured that he would remind me that I didn't really need to speak in front of the whole class, either. That I could just make a bulletin board, and that we could prepare that together if I decided to volunteer...
I didn't have to worry about what to do right away, because Abby beat me to it, and said that she'd like to be the star this Friday--that she wanted to show everyone a picture of her new bike that she got for her birthday, and tell them about her baby brother who fell down and cut his lip last week.
The three of us walked back to the classroom, and the rest of the morning was much better. I knew that I'd have to go to the nurse to test my blood every day at lunch time. That's what you have to do if you have this type of problem. The test checks how much sugar is in the blood. If there's too much sugar, then I need to get a shot of some medicine called Insulin. I hate the blood test, and I hate the Insulin, too, even though it made me feel better in the hospital. I certainly do NOT want to get sick like that again, so I guess I'll just have to put up with the finger pokes and the Insulin.
The neat thing is that I'm learning to do the test, and the Insulin, all by myself. That does make me feel sort of important. Eight year-olds aren't babies any more, you know! In the hospital, Tanya told me that if I eat healthy foods and check my blood when I'm supposed to, I'll feel great. She said that I can still jump rope and camp out and play video games and paint wolf pictures. So that's good. I'll still be Sally Kathleen Preston, just like before this whole thing started!
Ms. Hall was the school nurse, and when I went to the health office, there she was. She was new this year, and she looked like a grandmother. She had orange curly hair, and her dress was the same color of lavender that was in a box of Crayons. She had a voice that purred a little bit when she talked, and a way about her that was so comfortable. She made me feel happy, and she made me feel calm. When I told her how Peter and Tina made fun of me, she had the best idea. She told Mrs. Preston about it, and I soon learned that her plan would make my life in school so much happier. Hitch a ride on the ladybug to learn more about it!
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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Last updated: November 14, 2004
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY/font>
Bronx, New York 10468
Last updated: November 14, 2004