By: Robert Perkins, kid with type 1 diabetes

The only reason I woke up on November 30, 2013, was because I fell out of my bed. It was Thanksgiving break and I had planned to do nothing all day. Little did I know that my day would spiral out of control.

I got up off the floor, walked down the hall to the family room and turned the computer on to play some games. Next thing I knew, my mom asked me to come see her. As I walked to the kitchen, everything was a blur. I noticed the rain drops tapping on the window but I felt very out of it.

My mom, who must have known something wasn’t right, pulled out a small, black case with something inside of it. It made an annoying, shaking noise, like a maraca. My mom pulled out a machine, a small bottle of strips, and a needle. She poked my finger with the needle and put the blood onto one of the strips and jammed it into the machine. The screen of the machine lit up orange and beeped. Five seconds later, the machine beeped again. It said “HI: OVER 600” in bold, black letters.

My mom rushed to the phone to call the doctor and about 10 minutes later we were on our way to the hospital. The ride was only a couple of minutes, but it felt like hours.

After the doctors examined me, they sent me to a pediatric hospital that was half an hour away in an ambulance. I couldn’t comprehend what was happening. On the ride there, the EMT poked my fingers every five minutes, even though it said the same thing every time “HI: OVER 600.”

We got there around 2:00p.m. They took us to a large, loud room sectioned off with curtains. They would not let me eat until a lot of blood tests were performed, I was starving. A few hours later, my Dad and my little brother came to the hospital. That is when the doctors told me that I had Type 1 Diabetes.

Later that evening, I was transferred to a hospital room on the Children’s floor. Every door had a glass window painted with a different set of cartoon and movie characters. My door was decorated with a painting of Bugs Bunny. Finally, the nurse came in and delivered some food, but I couldn’t eat until after she poked my finger and gave me a needle filled with insulin. I hadn’t eaten since 9:30 that morning. Boy was I hungry! A turkey sandwich and a small bag of chips was all I was given and I ate it so fast that I didn’t taste any of it.

The next day, nurse educators came to my room to begin teaching me and my mom how to treat my disease. The entire day was spent learning how to manage my diabetes and how my life would change. It was overwhelming.

Monday came and we were still in the hospital. The doctor told me that I had to stay until my blood sugar number came down into a safer range between 100 and 200. Finally, the doctor told me that I could go home.

Looking back, those three days changed the rest of my life. I remember it like it was yesterday but it feels like years and years ago. Even though my life will never be the same, my diabetes does not define me. It will not keep me from reaching my goals. It will not stop me from living a successful life. It will not keep me from being the best me I can be!