Friday, April 16, 2010

Diabetes Memory # 379: First Night Home

Cathy & I - Christmas 1978
She bought me the GREASE calendar & Soundtrack - And I was too cool for school~

Circa Late November 1977, the first night I returned home from the hospital after my diagnoses.

My favorite sister Cathy (9.5 years my senior, holder of my heart, my only sister sans diabetes, and my roommate until she went off to college and broke my heart) and I were sitting on our bed in the room that we shared.

She was writing in her diary (whom she referred to as Anne) and I was snuggled up close to her. Side note: A few years later I start writing my own diary, and named it Cathy- in her honor.

One of the things I'd missed most while I was in the hospital was my big sister Cathy. She was and has always been my protector; the person I looked and look up to, my cheerleader, and my best friend. She was the sibling that never yelled at me or made me cry. she'd take me along wherever she was going, and protected me from the crazy eruptions that happened in the Kunik household.

We shared a room, we shared a bed, and we shared memories, both good and bad.

Our nightly ritual was simple. She'd write in her diary while I read a book. I was a night owl and she went to bed early on school nights, so even though she was in High School and I was in 3rd grade, we were somewhat in sync. And even when she had other plans (which was a lot come to think of it,) she'd still sit with me before I went to sleep. When she was finally done writing, she'd read me what she wrote; tuck me in, and I'd go to sleep.

Looking back, I'm sure she edited her diary entries, I mean of course she did!
But to my 8 year old self, it was if she was sharing all her secrets only with me. It made me feel special, it made me feel important, and it made me feel loved.

My first day back home from the hospital is mostly a blur. I know it was a cold, gray November day, and I know my next door neighbors Grace and Willie dropped off gifts including an argyle sweater with a crazy color combo of maroon, cream, and electric blue all mashed together. The very same sweater I would eventually where when my big sister Cathy finally took me and my friends to see Star Wars a few months later. And stop rolling your eyes re: the sweater. It was the 1970's and it was considered quite styling.
The other gift was a heartshaped necklace with multi colored faux gemstones. That's about all I remember from that day long ago - until it was time for bed.

I got in my PJ's, grabbed a book (most likely Encyclopedia Brown, Romona, or Little House on the Prairie) and we snuggled up tight. I put my book down and didn't bother to read. I'd missed her so much while I'd been away and I just wanted be.

She wrote while I waited - finally she put her diary down and looked at me.

Cathy: Want to hear what I wrote pretty girl?
Me: Yep.
Cathy: Do you want to hear what I wrote the night you were diagnosed first?
Me: Yep.
Cathy: Dear Anne, I can't believe it, my baby Kelly was diagnosed with diabetes today & all of us are devastated! I cried when I found out- so did everyone else.
Me: You...cried?
Cathy: Yep.
Me: I'm so sorry I made you cry Cathy.
Cathy: I'm so sorry you have diabetes Kelly - I wish it had been me.
Me: I'm glad it wasn't.

I don't remember the rest of the conversation or the diary entry from that day long ago.

I just remember us hugging tight for a very long time and I don't really remember who let go first.


Rachel said...

just the sister relationship sounds much like me and my own sister - 10.5 years apart.

:( on the memories.

FatCatAnna aka Anna Kiff said...

Oh that is so sweet. You've got me wanting to go off and pull out my diaries when I was young (I had a name for my diary too) - small world - huh? I only had an older brother, never asked him how it affected him, but I think he sometimes felt left out as I got abit of attention in the beginning - then I became a rebel by 10 and then left home at 16 due to over being a bad ### (but I'm good now - I think ???).

I wish I sometimes I still kept a diary - I guess the blogging we PWD's all do is close enough - but just not in written form by hand.

Ahhh, memories - thanks for sharing ((( hugs )))

Bob said...

Hope you're happy, making me tear up like that at work. That was awesome.

Scott K. Johnson said...

What a special story K2. Thank you so much for sharing. :-)

Minnesota Nice said...

I remember my first night home clearly. I was a big fan of the show "Marcus Welby, MD" about a kindly family practice guy in California. It was Tuesday, and the program was on. The scene opens with a T1 patient on a date, having an ice cream soda. Then she says "I'd like another one". Then the next day she has hemorrhages in both eyes and is totally blind.
Dr. Welby consults with a buddy at UCLA and there is a new experimental procedure called "vitrectomy", which, he cautions would not give one reading vision but allow them to recognize shapes, etc. So, T1 girl had the procedure and got back some minimal vision.
Actually, it really didn't disturb me that much, for I'd seen relatives go through worse.
But, I look back on it today, knowing that I've had a successful vitrectomy in each eye, and yes, I can see just fine.

Colleen said...

And now I have tears. What a wonderful big sister!

babscampbell said...

What a great story. It sounds like such a warm and wonderful relationship. You are blessed to have had that kind of love in your life.
Thank you for sharing such a personal, loving story with us!

Penny said...

Thanks for sharing Kelly, great story and great memories.

S.Mc said...

Kelly, this brought a tear to my eye. What a beautiful relationship you have with your sister! Thank you so much for sharing this :)

makingthechoice said...

Kelly, this brought a tear to my eye. What a beautiful relationship you have with your sister! Thank you so much for sharing this :)