40 Years Ago Today
When I got up this morning I sort of took an inventory of my week, two contractors for estimates (repair former roof leak), some doctors’ appointments, a quick trip to Indiana University (the source as I refer to it), my birthday on Saturday, oh and that other thing. That other thing is my diabetic anniversary. 40 years ago today my family was speeding back from FL, after we had stopped in TN for an overnight break. I was piled in the back of the car feeling so sick I could barely move and luckily my parents were feeding me tab and stopping frequently for breaks. Some people have asked why did it a take two days to get back? Well I doubt they have ever traveled with a new as yet undiagnosed diabetic with a blood sugar who was ready to drink a reservoir and pee a great lake.
That trip was not the best. On the way down in construction around Atlanta a kid (no way he was even 15) drove a paper delivery truck into the side of the car. The owner did not want to “involve the police” and for good reason. The kid thought it was my dad’s fault, and dad did not dispute it so it must have been. But the owner of the truck “didn’t want no trouble”. I never understood the arrangement but the car later got fixed. All I know is that after some roadside negotiations that owner gave my dad a payment of $100.00 and we were on our way (yes I know what happened no need to point out the obvious if you know).
When we got to kissimiee FL things looked like they would settle down and the family could enjoy a long awaited Disney vacation. I do not recall being ill up to that point. However sometime the next day my little pancreas called it quits and I think that actually happened sometime in the night. Nothing dramatic I was just really tired and at breakfast I drank so much Ice tea my mom said I was going to float away. By evening there was Clinitests (don’t worry if you have no idea what that means it is old school diabetes) hushed conversations about telling me what I already knew and of course plans to call the doctor immediately.
Some of you may remember the really annoying habit of trying to avoid long distance charges? My parents had a prearranged code with my grandmother. If they called person to person and asked for Isabelle Phillips (that was her name) all was well and grandma would say she was not home thus communicating that both parents were fine. And if they asked for Martha Phillips (her made up name) that meant she should accept the call because there was trouble. For the first and only time I ever remember my parents asked for Martha Phillips. Yes it was true there was trouble.
Mom and dad stayed with the vacation. I toured the park so ill I could barely breathe in the hot FL sun and of course I was running from men’s room to men’s room and drinking the equivalent of two tea cups on the tea cup ride every hour. By the end of day of day 2 I was so sick mom and dad called off day 3 of the visit. Thank goodness, I had fallen asleep standing up in the hall of presidents which was the whole reason I wanted to go anyway. So upon departure from the attraction we got in line again and yes I fell asleep again.
Mom wanted to go to the Gulf side of FL for a day and we did. So while I laid in the room mom and dad walked on the beach and had a good cry. Thus resolving we were going home today 40 years ago a full 3 days shy of their planned FL vacation.
Of course it was known what was wrong and mom was passing me clinistix’s (still old school diabetes) at every stop and I just stopped using them reporting 4+ every time. I mean what did she expect I was not taking insulin and I was sick? Today we call that just common sense, in those days I think mom wanted a miracle. Well I wanted one as well.
So today (40 years ago) we got into Kokomo (my home town) and unloaded the car finishing around 7:00 PM. Of course it meant two meals out, the first that evening was a Martino’s pizza. Wow it was good and the second the next morning was pancakes with syrup after my fasting blood sugar and before I saw the doctor. Yes mom knew what I had, but she also knew giving me one last shot of real syrup would likely not kill me so hey let’s pretend for an hour or so this is not real.
40 years ago tomorrow my blood sugar was over 600 as I entered the hospital to start my diabetic story. I have always wondered, why couldn’t my little pancreas have held out for just five more days? Well when its time its time. Proving of course Disney World is not always the happiest place on Earth.