Waiting in Admissions with my parents- I still didn’t get the fact that I was going to be in the hospital or that I had diabetes. I’d never been to hospital before and I thought Admissions was just part of the procedure every time you entered the building.
I remember getting a complete physical at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia and the nurse asking about a burn scar on my butt. Then being taken to another room with a Social Worker and a policewoman, who again asked me about the burn scar on my butt. They wanted to know “if my parents did it?” The burn scar was not from anything abusive-on the contrary- it was from me walking into the house as a 5 year old (wrapped in a towel after taking an outdoor shower after the beach) and being cold because the air conditioner was on FULL BLAST. We had an old Oil heater that was about 6 feet wide and 4 feet tall in the house I grew up in. I pressed up against a small circular part that showed the inside mechanisms and literally singed the skin of my bottom. I cracked jokes with them and said- something like: You want to know how I burned my butt?? Have I got a story for you!” And proceeded to tell them about the “heater room incident.” They laughed and knew I was telling the truth. They watched me run to my parents babbling about my burned bottom when they entered the room.
I distinctly remember the Social Worker saying: "The way she laughed when she told the story made us laugh. And then seeing her run and hug you both- there’s no way that burn was done on purpose.”
A nurse dressed as a clown giving me an insulin drip IV and telling me I did indeed have diabetes.
Realizing at that moment that I HATED clowns.
Nick naming my insulin drip "The Alaskan Pipeline."
Seeing all the nurses dressed up in Halloween costumes- VERY SURREAL. It was like something out of a REALLY bad movie.
Seeing patients Trick Or Treating on each floor and being told that I could trick or treat, but that I’d only be allowed Sugar Free candy. – I was already familiar with the concept because of my sisters- and knew they played havoc with your intestinal system. I wisely (and some what bitch like) said no.
Being sad that my Halloween was spent in a hospital.
Being scared to tears every time I had to take an insulin shot.
Being DEATHLY afraid to inject myself.
Injecting an Orange with Saline Solution, daily- and having no fear at all.
Seeing a huge, giant # 3 on the wall, painted in orange (like a Burnt Sienna Orange) with an orange line going through it and along the wall, when I got off the elevator on the 3rd floor Endocrinology Unit. All the chairs in the waiting room and hallways were orange as well. I would later learn that the third floor was the “orange floor,” and for the rest of my life, I associate the color orange with diabetes. And the 70's of course- because Burnt Sienna and Avocado Green are colors that represent the 70's. As do wood paneling and fondue sets. But, I digress.....
I Remember thinking that my Endo, Dr. Parks was REALLY tall. I mean REALLY, SUPER TALL. Like Jolly Green Giant-Ho-ho-ho tall. I asked him to pick me up in his arms and carry me down the hall to his office every day- because I liked the view. He never said no.
Sitting in Dr. Parks office with my parents and being told that they were 10 years away from a cure. I was excited, until my mother said that they told her that very same thing 12 years ago when her other daughter had been diagnosed.
Realizing that I would most likely hear the 10 year tune in another 10 years time.
The Huge wall of windows in my hospital room and how the sky always seemed gray.
A wall of Orange drawers and bins on the opposite side of the window – to put all my stuff in. There was also a Bin/drawer that was about 3.5 ft tall, it tilted out and opened from both the inside of my room and the outside- for easy dirty linen collection. I remember emptying the linens out and hiding in there when it was time for my shots.
Staying up as late as I wanted to at night and watching TV and NOBODY telling me to stop turn it off or go to bed!
Following the nurses around and playing with the little toddlers on the floor.
Being forced to eat 3000 calories a day because I'd lost so much weight.
Realizing the pickles (which I loved) were considered free food.
Crying when I realized that sweets were off limits.
A Foozeball table set up by the Nurses Station.
The McDonald's in the Atrium of CHOP.
Going to the McDonalds with my CDE Joe, who I had a crush on. Joe had Diabetes to and Joe told it like it was and made me laugh. Joe would tell me that when they found the cure, he was renting out Bryers Ice Cream and throwing a BIG PARTY.
Arts and crafts therapy. We made leather key chains and hammered images into the leather. We hammered so hard that we woke up the babies in the nursery!
Sitting in the Play/Arts in crafts room for hours, coloring, reading and convincing the other kids that “pretend” was indeed awesome to play!
Getting a card from my oldest brother John (who lived in California) in the hospital the front of the card had a Donkey with a thermometer in it’s mouth and said something like: “Get well, and consider yourself lucky- they could have put the thermometer ……” When you opened the card there was a picture of the Donkeys behind and the words: ”HERE!!!!”
Crying in the middle of the night about Diabetes when no one saw me.
Being happy when it was time to go home - almost 3 weeks later.