Account of first encounter with juvenile diabetes.
Defeat in the Cotton Patch
She mopped her face with the tail of her shirt. The blazing sun made fuzzy sunspots dance before her eyes. She wondered if she could lie quietly under the shade of the cotton plants and grab a nap without being caught. She pulled her cotton sack up close to the meager shade of the tallest plant around, then flopped down heavily on the sack full of cotton. She just had to have a few minutes of sleep. Memaw would never understand how exhausted she got soon after eating lunch.
Several minutes later, she heard Memaw calling to her. She had to get up. It was as if she were a million miles away. She was so thirsty. She was so tired. Why didn't they just go away and leave her alone. She just wanted to sleep.
"Get some water in her," Grandad said, sounding worried even to her fuzzy thoughts. "Maybe she is suffering from heat exhaustion." Why would he say that, she thought. Why couldn't they just let her sleep. Grandad pulled her to a half-sitting position and forced the jug of water into her mouth. As he turned it up, she sipped slowly to keep from stangling as he trickled the cool liquid into her mouth. It did seem so refreshing. She slowly roused and looked around dazedly. Everyone was gathered around her for some reason.
That summer was the first of many long days of fighting juvenile diabetes. Her grandparents, who were raising her, had never even heard of such. They never suspected her extreme thirst, frequent bathroom trips, and overwhelming exhaustion was the result of too much sugar in her bloodstream. After all, diabetes was an old person's disease, right?
What followed were many months, even years, of learning to live with the limitations and challenges of rampant diabetes. She was able to continue school, maintain some measure of health, and come to terms with what diabetes meant in her life. But, her grandparents never forgave themselves for the fact they had almost let her die in the cotton patch because they didn't even know juvenile diabetes existed. They thought she was just lazy.