Light at the End of the Tunnel
Eva, Age 12, New Hope, PA

From the moment the small slits opened up into round blue eyes, I felt agony. Agony from not seeing my dad for four days. Agony that my sleep would be interrupted with rough medical devices. Agony that I had an IV and about a thousand more wounds and band aids from the “every-hour” blood tests. Agony that I would never get out of this mean, cold, sterile bubble of a hospital. I began to feel like I’d never have a break.

It was July 5th, a day to play outside in the sweet, sunny grass. But no, not for me. Not for the four year old diabetic. I remembered the night before, which was, obviously, the fourth of July. My mom and I had watched the hospital’s fireworks. It was nice, taking just a minute to let go of all the beeping machines and needles, oh, so many needles.

In the morning I had my usual cup of cornflakes, but I was forced to do so by the hospital. Then, of course, blood tests in my room. A tall woman came in my room with a smile as fake as the happiness in this hospital. I despised her blue penguin hospital “suit” because its contentment mocked me ruthlessly.

She asked, “How was your day?” and made other meaningless small talk like, “How do you like the food here?” but I wasn’t buying it. I was attempting to repel all sorts of useless information; I just wanted anyone who was going to hurt me out of my room. They couldn’t get any blood, since when someone’s just been diagnosed, the person is very dehydrated. So they had to put me on a stretcher and take me into a yellow, cube-like room with two nurses. Two blood tests in the foot and I was beyond misery.

After that, I was relieved to be slightly freer in my medical jail. I had about an hour left before my next blood test, so I could explore around the hospital for a bit. Although, of course, it wasn’t easy to get out of my tiny chamber that nurses call a room. We had to let one of the nurses know, and I had to lug my giant IV all around with me, wherever I went.

My mom felt bad since I haven’t been out a lot since I was diagnosed. She’d just recently heard of the nearby craft room in the hospital for young patients. What four year old girl wouldn’t want to do some crafts instead of getting shots? I voluntarily glided down to the room with my mom. I noticed the big jar of melt-beads, malleable little beads. They were small rubber beads that, when you place them together and heat them, create any shape of your choice. To young me, it was heaven.

I still wonder to this day why I picked Hello Kitty. I continued to make this Hello Kitty, though. It was a fresh source of happiness, like a newborn bunny who cheered excitedly, basking in the sunlight. For those couple minutes, I could forget about what my painful new life was going to bring: shots five times a day, needles six. I could forget about the lack of sleep, the rough waking every hour. I could be that little kid enjoying the sunny summer.

After I finished making my Hello Kitty, I was relieved to leave with all of my perfect stuffed animals from family, friends, and neighbors. I could go home with my Hello Kitty, a safe, comforting masterpiece that held a promise to me. I was prepared to tackle the brand new challenges of diabetes.

So, sure, my Hello Kitty was a cute and cool craft. But, it really has always meant something more to me. I realized it was like my beacon of hope. A faithful token. Now, eight years later, I look back at that picture and don’t really recall the sleepless nights, the IVs. Instead, I’m immediately filled with warm, fuzzy happiness inside. It’s always been my light at the end of the treacherous tunnel.

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