Back to Parents' Voices Sugared Three


© Copyright Arlene G. Mishanie and Mark E. Mishanie, 1997.
Used with permission.

BOY, JUST, A, ...

Smiling, running, jumping,
just a boy,
just ONE boy,
experiencing the world of boyhood,
just a boy, a little, wonderful boy.

Hockey anybody, baseball anybody,
a boy, a playful little boy.
Getting into trouble,
thinking of trouble,
just a boy.
Embroiling into mischief,
a boy.

Playing with toys,
pretending to be a superhero,
just a little, iddy biddy human, a boy human.
That's it, just a...

With a problem, the boy's problem, just the boy,
becomes the family's problem, just the boy and the family,
problem, sugar problem, blood problem,
just a boy, a little, iddy-bitsy boy.


In class, the problem of the diabetic child,
the teacher, not fully comprehending though trying.
The teacher, filled in by parents, instructed by a school nurse,
the teacher of the diabetic, trying to be thoughtful, trying.

Making mistakes, giving things in class that shouldn't be given,
the teacher of the diabetic,
giving foods not supposed to be given,
the teacher giving,
the young teacher, not long from diapers,
a teacher not long to teaching,
giving the child without a true understanding despite lectures received on the subject,
the subject of diabetes,
despite all the talking.

A teacher of the diabetic, receiving criticism from
the authorities,
agreeing to do better,
to try harder,
always agreeing.

Then, the boy, the student, the diabetic in the class,
treating him differently, resenting him differently,
subconsciously, the teacher,
diabetes, the boy, the teacher,
innocence denied.


In school, bad enough for the child with the sweetened veins.
Reading, writing, arithmetic, always listening, always following, bad enough
A pain, a trial.
But this child finds it harder, much harder at school
Learning, hard, made harder by it.

Once, twice, three times a day.
A call,
the nurse,
blood testing time, the nurse.
Diabetes, the nurse,
sugar, the nurse.

Why? Now? Do I have to? No. Okay.
To the nurse,
say nothing,
be tested,
see the score,
listen to the words,
maybe eat the cheese,
have the raisins, maybe not.

Fearful of the nurse,
fearful of the sugar in the veins rising
fearful of the sugar in the veins falling
fearful of others watching,

Nurse, symbolic,
being pulled out,
being made the object of all,
feeling different,

hard at school,
the sugar in the veins, the nurse,

Hard, harder, hardest!


I'm too young to understand,
that I'm different,
whatever different means.
Taking blood four times a day,
taking injections twice a day,
too young to understand the meaning,
six and a half, now
was three and a half then, when it began,
too young to know the particulars,
too young to understand why I can't be like other kids,
too young to understand why I have to be stabbed and poked and my little sister doesn't.

What does it mean?
What will happen?
Everyone around me talks.
I don't know.
I don't understand.
My mom tells me I have to and I have to.
I'm not aware.

My mom she understands,
she knows,
she cares,
my father cares, I guess he cares,
he knows,
he cares.
They understand for me.

When I get bigger, I'll understand,
I'll know,
I'll get angry,
real angry and
maybe I'll rebel,
when I get bigger,
I will rebel,
when my mom and dad give up caring,
I'll care,
and then I'll know,
I'll care,
I will.


My neck hurts, my tummy hurts,
translated, the child is having an acute insulin reaction.

I don't feel like getting off the floor.
Translated, the child is going into insulin shock.
Translated, the child needs glucose tablets immediately,
translated, get the juice into him,
get the fruit into him,
get the cheese into him,
fast, before, God-forbid, fast, hurry, rush,

My back hurts.
Translated, it is an emergency situation,
call the doctor,
call the nurse,
call somebody,
get out the tester,
plan the response,
be on the ready.

Feeling bad for a boy with a carbohydrate disorder,
not allowed,
feeling bad translated means different things,
can mean many things,
translated can be tragic,
and tragedy is something that cannot be allowed,
not now, not ever.

Feeling Bad.
No, not allowed.


Just a nice little guy,
ordinary in every way.
Lots of energy,
like to run
run, jump, play, constantly,

Just a nice little guy,
suffering from being normal.
Energy expended, energy burned,
okay, fine, for him or her, or the next little guy,
but for him, no, sugar going down,
reactions, danger everywhere,
In movement, danger,
in exercise, danger,
in being healthy, danger,
Everywhere danger, everywhere on the lookout for danger.

How sad it is for the nice little guy to have to think before doing,
to plan,
How sad for the little boy to have the mother think for him before doing.

Cannot do.
Cannot be.
Cannot be a nice little guy.


My dad, he's so funny.
He makes things better about this diabetes stuff,
always makes me not think about it.
Makes me forget stuff,
love my dad even if he's,
he's, he's a little kind of silly and kooky,
love him and like to hug him.

My diabetes and my dad,
Sugar is my enemy, he tells me, my dad.
I am a superhero otherwise, my dad tells me.
Sugar, your Kryptonite, your weakness.
Avoid sugar and be one of the immortals, my father, my dad tells me.
My father, my dad makes my laugh, dad makes me laugh.

Dad, my sugar, dad, makes me feel better, dad.
He takes the packets of sugar from restaurants and gives them to me, my dad.
This is the Kryptonite he says.
We must destroy the Kryptonite, he says.
We must destroy it now.

We go outside, my dad, me, my dad, go out with the Kryptonite,
open the packets of Kryptonite, throw the packets to the wind,
throw them everywhere,
banish them to the no where land,
and we laugh, laugh, laugh.

Now it is gone, Kryptonite, the harmful substance that prevents you from being the superhero,
it is forever away from you. Dad got rid of it, you and dad.

You are saved,
now you can save,
you are free,
now you can make others free.

I smile. Dad is silly.
Very silly.
Love him.


I'm six years old, I'm smart.
I can read the boxes of food.
I can read the word carbohydrate and the word sugar.
I'm smart.

I read boxes, I do the math.
I calculate,
I record.
I'm six years old and I'm smart.

I think before I eat.
Can I eat this?
Can I eat that?
Should I eat this?
Should I eat that?

I think,
I'm six years old.
I'm smart

Boxes, read, a boyhood of reading boxes,
a boyhood spent in calculating,
I like to read, I like to calculate. I'm smart, I'm big.

I'm six years old.
I'm smart, very smart.


Test blood sugar.
Snacks at precise minutes.
Adhere to schedule.
Activity monitored.
Control everything.
Everything planned, careful planning.
Pricking fingers.
Everyone involved.
Mom and dad,
grandparents and teachers,
everyone involved in the schedule,
precise orders.
cannot deviate.

A child there,
a little boy.


Love mom and dad, love them.
It's my mom who really takes care of me,
she really does.
My dad, he takes care, but not like mom,
my dad, he gives me snacks and tests me now and then,
now and then, but most of the time it's mom,

It's mom that gives me my shots,
who takes me to the doctor,
who tests me mostly,
mom who is there, love mom, love her.

Dad is there, somewhere, far away sometimes,
sometimes very far away.
Love dad, but he's far away from my sugar,
doesn't take notice of my sugar,
dad doesn't,
though dad cares,
but not like mom cares,
dad cares,
but not like mom,
dad cares.


It's dark out.
Everyone's sleeping.
I'm getting sick.
I'm low.
I feel low.
I know by now.

Late, mom and dad sleeping,
Little sister sleeping,

I feel sick.
I feel low.
I feel weak.

Get up.
Go into mom.
Stand by her bed.
Call her name.
She pops up.

What's the matter?
Feel sick.
Feel low.
Feel weak.

Testing machines produced,
scores taken.
Low, very low,
low, low, low, low.

I feel sick,
I feel low,
I feel weak.

Low yes, diabetes effecting child, yes.
Raise the levels,
Eat, eat, eat,
raise the levels,
yes, yes, yes,
raise them, yes.

Success, finally success,
raise them, success,
raise the scores, success.

Mom goes off to sleep.
I go off to sleep.
I am happy, contented.
I don't feel low anymore.


I like feeling low.
I get to eat.
My always acts, takes action.

Mom, test me!
Mom responds. I can eat sugar-free cookies then,
Mom, test me!
I can eat raisins and cheese and chips then.

I am happy when I'm low.
I can eat all I want when I'm low.

I am unhappy when I'm high.
I get hungry when I'm high.
I can't eat when I'm high.
I cry, I scream, I get angry.

Being high, begging mom for food.
To let me eat.
No, she won't, high, I am high, no eating, I am high,
you can't,
you must not,
you'll get sick,
you are high,
eating, no, no,

Nice to be low and to be able to eat and eat and eat.
I love being low.
I pray that the red machine says I'm low and mommy rushes with the food.
That's my favorite thing,
being low and eating,
my very happiest thing.


Mom met this lady, nice lady from somewhere.
Her son is diabetic like me,
takes shot like me,
tests his blood like me.
We're getting together, mom and the lady and her son,
we're coming together.
I'm looking forward to it,

We meet,
all come together, me and the boy.
We play basketball,
we eat,
we run
we put together a puzzle,
me and him, the other diabetic boy.

Have a good time,
great time.
Like him, likes me,
mom likes him, I like mom, mom likes his mom, his mom likes me.

But nothing happens.
Diabetes, it doesn't come up.
Never talk about IT, me and the boy, never talk about IT.
We play.
He goes home.

Had a good time,
Never talked about IT,
he goes home,
never talked about IT.

We're happy.
Mommy is happy,
His mommy is happy.
Nobody talked about IT.

Both have IT.
Never talked about IT.

It was a nice day.


Going to the city with dad,
to Madison Square Garden,
to see sports at Madison Square Garden, in New York City.

Dad's nervous.
Brought my tester,
dad's nervous.
Going on the train with dad,
dad's nervous.

Traveling, on the train,
going on the train,
it's fun, it's great,
dad's nervous.
Test me dad,
dad, test me,
my sugar dad, test me!
I'm low dad,
I feel bad dad, dad test me!

I am low,
on the train,
very low and feeling very bad.
Glucose tablets dad, sugar-free cookies dad,
on the train, I'm low, dad tested me,
dad, dad, dad!

Into the city,
at the wrestling match,
Madison Square Garden,
we sit, we watch,
I enjoy,
but dad just sits there,
he looks sad,
he looks bad,
he looks low, like his blood sugar is low.

Dad, want me to test you, dad,
dad want me to test you, dad.
Dad nods, dad says no, dad looks.
He's a very nervous man, dad is very nervous.


I have a baby sister,
a little sister,
she isn't a sugar girl like I'm a sugar boy,
she doesn't take needles and nobody takes drops of blood from her,
not my baby sister.

My baby sister eats whatever she wants,
my baby sister does,
nobody says anything,
eats whatever she wants,
nobody says anything.
My sister does what she wants,
nobody says anything.
Goes to school and nobody says anything.

Mother doesn't fuss about her, my baby sister.
Mother doesn't call the school, like she does for me.
No teacher bothers my sister, like my teacher bothers me.
No nurse at school calls her into her office every five minutes like I'm called.

I don't know,
don't think about it,
but my mom and dad think about it,
hear them think about it,
hear them talking about my little sister,
talking about what if she gets it,
gets to be a sugar girl,
like I'm a sugar boy,
I hear them talk,
I hear my mom cry,
and my dad moan.
I hear it and I don't understand.

To be a sugar boy or sugar girl,
what does it matter,
Is it bad?
Is it not bad?
What is it?

Everyone is bothered.
Mother and father and the teachers and people, bothered by
look at me like I'm bothered, why bothered,

It's not so bad,
eating this, not eating that, called to the nurse,
being a sugar boy, not so bad, not so bothered.

My baby sister, she'll be okay,
not to worry,
not to bother,
no, no, not to bother.


In hospital, me, diagnosis, a week, in the hospital, me, sugar, hospital.

Little kids,
bald heads,
bad sickness,
in hospital,
kids my age,
very bad,
bald heads,
people whisper around them,
people whisper around me but not as much,
no bald head,
not as bad, my sickness.

Heard the words,
leuke or leukemia
and one with the word tumor,
and one with the word cancer,
I heard the word cancer a lot
with the little kids,
in the hospital.
I saw everyone looking sad,
with the little kids,
in the hospital.

I'm not so sick.
I'm okay.
People whisper but not so much.
I'm okay.


Why is my grandma always talking about me and a disease.
Grandma is always talking to mommy about it.
She is always asking mommy about it,
and always looking at me,
and always asking mommy, or talking to daddy,
about it, about diabetes, my diabetes.

I listen to my grandma talk about it.
Listen to her words.
Cure, they will come up with one.
New things coming out.
New doctors coming out.
Diabetes, I listen.
Diabetes talk, I listen.
My grandma, I hear.


In the morning, it goes into my arms,
at night it goes into my thighs,
morning arms,
night thighs,
metal sticking in me,
liquid going into me,
going in,
hypodermic needle,
bottle with the needle.

The metal going in,
the shot,
it hurts sometimes,
blood sometimes,
pinching feeling sometimes,
burning feeling sometimes,
I cry sometimes,
mommy cries sometimes since she gives me the shots,
mommy cries, I cry.

Momma doesn't mean bad but I don't understand that,
mommy tries.
I will not let her give me shots in other areas,
you need shots in other areas, other areas will not hurt, you need other areas.
Mommy tells me, I need other areas.

I will not listen.
I am afraid,
afraid even with the pain.

I will continue to cry with the pain.
Mommy will continue to cry with the pain.
I'm afraid.


I can do it by myself,
test myself with the red tester and the green stripes,
I can do it,
I'm old enough.
I don't need mom to do it,
I don't need dad to do it.
I can do it.

I'm big,
I'm old,
almost finished with first grade.
Very big,
like dad,
like my Uncle Perry,
bigger than most kids,

Look at me,
see how I do it,
see how I get the numbers,
see how I know myself if I'm low or high.
I can test myself,
I can.
I am big,
a big man.

Smiling now,
happy now,
I don't need mom or dad to do it.
I can do it.
I'm big and I'm old.


you must eat
you must have
you must
you have diabetes,
you must eat,
steak, chicken, fish,

I hate that.
Hamburger and french fries,
hot dogs and pizza and
bread and more bread,
and potato chips,
and sugar-free cookies and cakes,
No, that's not good for you.
No, you mustn't have much of that.

You must eat healthy,
you have to,
you will get sick if you don't,

Can't eat what I don't like,
don't like what I don't like, will never eat what I don't like,
will never, ever.

You must
you must,
you must,
you must eat healthy.

No, never.
I refuse.
I do, I do, and I will.

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Last Updated: Wednesday March 16, 2005 16:45:00
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