Just My Type: Fenway, the Perfect Ending to a Trying Day

Root for the Home Team

The following is a letter I wrote to the Boston Red Sox:

Dear Red Sox,

Sometimes blessings come in unusual packages, like wrapped up in rawhide.

My husband and I attended the Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Wednesday, May 7, with our 8-year-old daughter. It was her first trip to Fenway Park. We wanted to share our story with you.

Right before the game started, a staffer named Mick came to us in our bleacher seats and ask if we wanted to move to better seats, as he had three extra seats in the State Street Pavilion section that were not being used. As we were sitting in the “cheap seats” in the very back corner of the park, under the Jumbo-tron, we agreed and followed him to awesome seats right above the Red Sox dugout. Along the way, he told us he approached us because it was hard to find a party of three and he had seen my daughter wearing her “first visit to Fenway” button.

Here’s what Mick didn’t know: My daughter, Noelle, has type 1 diabetes and Addison’s disease, two autoimmune diseases. The reason we were in Boston (three hours from home) was that we had spent the morning with her endocrinologist in Worcester (two-plus hours from home), and it was a rough visit complete with much hand-wringing on how to keep her healthy. She has had type 1 diabetes since she was 4 1/2 but the Addison’s was just diagnosed in November, and it’s been really hard for all of us to adjust to another disease that affects her body chemistry and makes her feel rotten so often.

She deals with high blood sugars that make her irritable and low blood sugars that make her shaky and sweaty. She deals with having a needle attached to her body 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and pricking her finger on average six to eight times a day. She deals with swallowing three and a half pills a day – yes, swallowing pills, something she had never had to do before and something many adults struggle with. She deals with a new kind of anxiety, a side effect of the Addison’s, because her body doesn’t respond properly to stress anymore. She deals with missing out on so many normal childhood activities, like sleepovers and summer camp. She deals with never being “normal.”

She was dealt a bad hand in life and my heart aches for her every day.

Which is why the upgrade in seats on Wednesday meant to much to me and to our family. On a bad day in a bad year, Noelle was so thrilled with what happened, and the bright smile on her beautiful little face didn’t go away for the three hours we sat in our fabulous new seats. For once in her young unlucky life, she was the lucky one.

So thank you, Mick, and thank you, Red Sox, for somehow finding our special little girl in a crowd of 37,000 and making her day.

Sometimes blessings come in unusual packages, like wrapped up in rawhide.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca Dravis

Pittsfield native Rebecca Dravis is a former journalist who lives in north Berkshire County with her husband and daughter in Williamstown, MA. In Just My Type Rebecca shares her experiences as a parent raising a child with type one diabetes. – Check out Just My Type on the third Monday of every month.

What is Type 1 Diabetes: Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, called beta cells. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D, and-at present-nothing you can do to get rid of it. [Source: JDRF]

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