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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Achievement (03/08/12)

TITLE: The Girl Who Wanted False Teeth
By annie keys


A frightened little girl slumped on a straight back chair in the exam room. Her parents and Doctor were talking in subdued voices across the hall. Straining to listen, Sissy pulled her legs up underneath herself so she wouldn’t scratch the angry sore on her calf. It had only been a little scrape a few days ago, now, it ached and oozed.

Stretching to see out the window onto the street below, she tried vainly to focus on anything but the urge to scratch her leg. Her head hurt and her tummy felt queasy. She smoothed the wrinkles on the front of her dress. A few months ago, this dress had fit snugly; now, it hung like an empty sack.

Sissy knew there was something wrong. All she wanted to do was sleep, she never felt like playing anymore and no matter how much she drank, she was still thirsty. Maybe she had growing pains; she’d heard somebody say that about a cranky child one day. Unable to sit still any longer, the adolescent quietly stood up and tip toed to the door; she could hear every word being said now.

The Doctor was saying something about blood sugar that was over 800 and talking about Diabetes, the hospital, special diets and injections. Sissy strained to hear what they were saying about injections. Weren’t injections shots? Was she going to have to have a shot?

The breeze whispered in the open window as she leaned against the wall and embraced the coolness; listening but not wanting to hear. Her Dad blew his nose. She knew it was him blowing because of that funny snort that always came at the end of a good nose blowing; it always made her laugh. She stifled a giggle, in spite of herself.

The phone was ringing on the nurse’s desk; a dog started barking outside the window. Why had all these noisy things waited to happen until now? Sis strained to listen, leaning as far out the exam room door as she could without falling on the floor in the hallway.

Now, her mother was crying. The Doctor looked up and Sissy knew he saw her, peeping around the door. He stood to his feet and nonchalantly walked across his office and shut the door. No reprimand, no facial recognition that he’d seen her, he just shut the door. The girl shuffled back over to the chair, sat down, pulled her legs up under her too loose skirt and squeezed her eyes tight shut.

She’d wake up in a minute, she knew she would. She’d wake up and her mom would be holding her and stroking her hair and saying it was ok, it was just a bad dream. She wouldn’t feel icky anymore and she wouldn’t be so tired and sleepy. By the time she counted to five, she knew she would wake up. “One. Two. Three.”

The door opened and her Daddy said, “C’mon sissy, we’re going to go see what the inside of City Hospital looks like.” Standing to her feet, Sissy realized it wasn’t a dream, it was a nightmare. Was anybody going to tell her what was going on? Were they going to just take her to the big hospital to get a shot and then send her home? Her head hurt and she just wanted to sleep.

As the car pulled out of the gravel parking lot, the little girl pulled her skirt down over her leg and hummed Sunday School songs, trying not to think about the shot. Then, mustering all the fortitude a young girl can have, she bluntly asked, “Am I going to die?” Her Dad went to speak but his voice choked. He reached over and put his pipe in the ashtray on the dashboard before he spoke. “Everybody dies, honey.”

Mulling over the simple truth of that revelation, Sissy continued, “Am I sick?” Silence. Then, her Dad said something that would forever define her life. “Not if you don’t want to be. Sick isn’t a disease, it’s an attitude.”

Right then, the child resolved that she would never have a “sick” attitude and she would live to be old. She would live long enough to have grandchildren and false teeth. And she did and she wrote this.

In the US, there are 25.8 million persons affected by Diabetes. 18.8 million are diagnosed, an estimated 79 million people are pre-diabetic. Diabetes can be controlled; know the symptoms, choose not to be “sick”.
(word count 749: true story)

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This article has been read 392 times
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C D Swanson 03/16/12
Thank you for this touching story that "spoke to my heart personally." My niece was diagnosed when she was 2 years old with diabetes...she was in a coma for a while.

After that news, my sister vowed to find a cure and be proactive in research. She is an RN. Her husband was gone after the Viet Nam war, so she raised her alone. But they got through it together.

My niece is now 43 years old. She has struggles with the disease, but is an expert in her field as an RN who teaches all about Diabetes.

Thank you for bringing this "silent disease" to the forefront. I pray all will be well with the little girl.

God Bless you all~

marcella franseen03/16/12
So glad you didn't let diabetes tell you that you were sick. Thank you for sharing such a personal story.
Allison Egley 03/16/12
This is awesome. You did a great job putting your feelings into words and making us feel what you were feeling. Nice job.
Helen Curtis03/16/12
This is exceptional! Such a beautiful message to bring and told from the heart. Such amazing parents, to give the most wonderful advice to their daughter, to CHOOSE her attitude! The best kind of advice for all of us in life, to choose the way we will live our lives.

I am so thankful for this testimony, and indeed for the author, too. Blessings, Helen.
Joanne Sher 03/16/12
You did a great job with showing us what you were feeling during this time. You put me right there. VERY nicely done!
Laura Hawbaker03/16/12
Well written. I liked how you "showed" what was happening, just just tell what was happening. The dress hanging like an empty sack is so much better than saying Sissy lost weight. I don't quite get the title though. Did I miss something about false teeth?
Catrina Bradley 03/16/12
Really great job expressing the feelings, emotional and physical! And also in pointing out the symptoms to look for, not by listing them, but by working them into the story. Love the ending! (so, do you also have false teeth like you wished for? :) )
Donna Wilcher03/17/12
Personal and true stories of faith in the face of obstacles always touch the heart, and this one touched mine.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story...

Enjoy those false teeth, you're blessed to have lived long enough to need them. :) smile!
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/17/12
Your story was outstanding for the emotional journey it took the reader on and for the message.
Melinda Melton 03/17/12
Wonderful story. I love the father's advice and the little girl's determination. Well done! God Bless.
Glynis Becker03/17/12
Your story...and your life...are quite an achievement. Good for you for your determination. Well-told and inspiring!
Barbara Bjorge03/18/12
I really enjoyed your story! It kept my interest and was very well written. Thanks so much!
Dannie Hawley 03/20/12
This would make a terrific hand-out for young people struggling with the diagnosis. Very gripping descriptions and a young patient could relate to your MC. The advice given by the father is a powerful message. Thanks for sharing.
Hiram Claudio03/20/12
I echo everything that has been said and then some. My wife was diagnosed with diabetes a few years ago and the impact was devastating. But your determination reminds me of hers. Extremely well written - a clear and consistent tone of victory throughout!
Kathleen Langridge03/20/12
Though my diagnosis came much, much later in life you had me with you from the beginning. You showed every part of the experience. I assume the title refers to living long and prospering?
Edmond Ng 03/20/12
A story that moves and breaks the heart. Thank you for candidly sharing this. I can comprehend the struggles some of us are going through in caring for the sick because I had lost a loved one to diabetes too. May God comfort and bless you and yours.