Childhood diabetes is a pink dragon. Diabetes in and of itself is bad enough, but when a child begins life with no candy and cake it rears its ugly head on several fronts. As I sit here waiting the results of my granddaughter’s second hospital visit in two weeks I reflect. First, and foremost Puck has shared her entire life with me. In 2007 her mother handed her to me in Georgetown on the day of her birth, and said, “Here, hold this,” and a darling little girl came into my life.
Her first word was, “chicken.” She’d be playing on the porch in Berry Creek. I’d ask if she wanted me to run to KFC and she’d say, “Chiiiiiicken!” Sometime around two years old we found that she was a type one diabetic. Little Puck had to eat veggies while everyone else ate cake. Pricks and shots became part of her life and by four she could take, and read her blood. An eighty reading meant it was a good day, a six hundred meant the ER, and perhaps coma.
Puck had self control but hunger was a big hazard. A salad for dinner left her starving as she would fight a high number. We could always tell when it was going to be a bad day from the dark circles around her beautiful blue eyes. When her readings fell low she’d go into seizure, scream, and arch her little back. She couldn’t control her bladder. Wet beds in the morning would humiliate her, and many mornings I’d hold her as she cried and asked me, “Why?”
There were good times. I took her to Austin, just she and I, we attended a rally, and she met Doc Greene. Due to the activity her blood was on the low end, and on the way home I took her to a Japanese Grill. Her hair stuck straight up when the chef lit the onion volcano. The cook felt so bad when she leaped from her chair that he gave her a free order of shrimp. She asked why his eyes looked funny.
Recently, as the “Puckster” began to turn into a little lady her body rebelled and the insulin she’d been on all her life became useless. A salad with tuna gave her a ”Hi” reading and it would not come down. Three days in ICU, and one day in a regular room brought her down to normal. For four days she read from the eighties to around one twenty and suddenly she was back in the hospital again. She looked at me as she left, and again asked, “Why?” As our leaders debate health care they, too, need to ask, “Why?”
I don’t know why. I think God sends us special angels to remind us how precious life and health are. Exceptional so they can endure. Innocent so we can understand that there is no sin that needs to be paid for. Puck pays it forward for the rest of us as she slays the pink dragon.Bill the Butcher