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  • On Friday mornings I would carpool with my volleyball coach to campus. She lived close by, and would pick me up at my house early in the morning to arrive to 8:30 practice at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo. This was our routine about 3 years ago. I hate mornings, but always looked forward to the ride down with her and talking. One morning I just couldn't wake up.

    I started to feel hands grab around my face and shoulders. The hands pulled me up to an attempt at a sitting position. Pillows and arms held me up as other hands pulled my head back. I started to feel liquid being poured down my throat, and in this messy attempt, also pour down onto my chest. Voices became more clear and I wondered why my oldest brother was talking to me. He doesn't live at this house.. My mom sounded mad, and was yelling. The liquid felt sticky on me, then I realized it was orange juice.
    "Julie eat the sprinkles! It's all we have!" I didn't like the texture of the sprinkles and forced the hand away from my mouth. Who wants cake sprinkles at 8 in the morning?
    I remember walking really fast and slamming a door. I again felt some liquid drying on my face, but this time it was salty, and I wondered why I was crying.

    I was barefoot and my feet hurt from walking on the hard gravel. The jarring sound of a car engine as it started up and abruptly shifted gears hurt to hear so early in the morning, especially with my head jammed against the hard glass window. The window was freezing and felt cold on my face, but the sun was bright. Even though my eyes were closed I could tell where it was in the sky. The gears of the engine continued to turn, and I could tell we were going way too fast for the small roads in Templeton. My brother said a few things to me, but was mostly cursing at the wind, or probably other cars. We use to drive fast in his BMW just for the thrill and a laugh. He liked to show off how fast he could go in just 6 seconds. I was always kind of nervous, but pretended it was awesome. This time I was scared, but could also tell I wasn't the only one.
    I didn't want to stand, but he pulled me up. The hard cement hurt to walk on but Steven had me held up in his arms. The sudden shift from hard cement to a smooth tile floor felt so strange to the skin of my feet. My brother yelled, and people reacted.

    The wind on my face felt calming, even though a panic spread throughout my body, convincing me that this is the feeling you get right before you die. I use to have panic attacks when I imagined eternity when I was young and alone late at night. The feeling was the same. The panic consumed me completely and I felt a hatred towards myself for being alive. The hatred and fear that was spreading within myself was something I had never felt before. I realized the wind on my face was just from being pushed in a wheelchair down a long hallway. I felt we were going too fast.

    I woke up with a heavy and clouded head. The only person I saw was my sister when I realized I was in a hospital room. I should have recognized that smell. The look on her face when our eyes met was really and truly tragic. She called out to a group of people who were behind the door and my mom and brother came in. I started bawling when all their eyes were on me. I realized what had happened, and the panic consumed me again. The feeling is hard to describe because it isn't one that you want to remember. I guess it can be related to an unknown feeling, with the realization of having no control. Being out of control and living a distinct separation between your body and your mind. The feeling isn't natural even though it's in your head. I've never liked to not have control of my body. But this is something you learn to accept when you live with Type 1 Diabetes.

    Sticky tears stained my face and my eyes were blurry but I could hear my sister crying. My first grade teacher walked into the room but I didn't know her name. She use to scare me back then. I guess she works as a nurse at Twin Cities Hospital now. My aunt and uncle came in with flowers. I had only been in the room for a short time, but it's a really small town. Somehow they were told I was there. I began to feel embarrassed, but understood the support. I was beginning to calm down, and the panic attacks subsided. But they were quickly replaced with guilt. I was being told how the morning played out.

    My mom couldn't wake me up so she called my brother for help. My mom knew my glucose number was extremely low. She and my sister still couldn't get me up. Steven was giving a speech at our local high school where we all graduated from, so he was in town and close by. By the time he got there they began to force me to drink orange juice. I guess I closed my mouth shut and began pushing the hands away. After that attempt, and a quick try of having me eat red cake sprinkles for quick sugar, I forced myself out of bed and began cussing, crying, and screaming at them, all without my knowing. I ran to another room across the house and slammed the door, and apparently tried to sleep in another bed. I must have been more cooperative after this, as they were able to walk me out to Steven's car, when he drove me to the hospital.

    Being told this was shocking, upsetting, and really embarrassing. To this day I can't even understand how they must have felt trying to help me. I must have looked like I was possessed. Sometimes I imagine their faces in my bedroom during this episode and I just start crying. To imagine hurting them, and creating this fear inside each of them is the worst feeling in the world. When I think about it, I hate myself, and want to crawl up in a ball. I have a lot of hatred towards myself because of this. I hate that their lives are so affected by my disease. I hate that a mindless over-correction of insulin by myself at night has created such a scar on my family. I hate being a hindrance on those I love, and hate knowing that they will always remember this moment as a memory of me, one which I will never know.
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