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The Best One to Have

By Rob Diaz-Marino
June 4/97

I must have been 6 then.
Young and innocent,
enjoying the inexplicability of life,
that I fell ill...

My thirst, insatiable,
I had to urinate
almost every five minutes.
Finally, my parents got fed up.

They took me to a small clinic,
where the doctors did some tests.
I could see the sadness welling in my mom's eyes
as they told her things I didn't understand.

Dad left work early, and met us
at the Children's Hospital. I felt disembodied,
my face was serious, as the doctors
continued to ramble.

I had to have a needle in my arm.
I really hated needles. When I learned
I had to have one every day,
I cried.

"10 years, maybe 15," the nurse said.
"Maybe then there'll be a cure".
A glimmer of hope, but so faint and distant.
15 years of pricks and injections...

"Your son is quite lucky",
I heard the doctor say to Mom and Dad.
"Leukemia, Cystic Fibrosis, of all the diseases,
this one is, by far, the best one to have."

Why did I have to be sick at all?
The best disease is NO disease.
Why can't I just have a normal life,
one that's healthy and trouble free.
"Blindness, nerve damage, kidney failure,
weakened immune system. All possibilities
if your son doesn't take care of himself."
I couldn't bare to hear any more...

My friends at school held me in awe,
because I got to eat in the middle of class,
and they didn't. They thought, though,
that the needle part was a little grisly.

10 years now, I do three needles a day.
They don't hurt any more, and I don't complain.
In fact, I can't imagine a life without Diabetes.
It has remolded normality for me,
like clay on a potter's wheel.

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© 2000 Rob Diaz-Marino. All rights reserved.