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What is Lola Tessie's Secret Sickness? Psst Diabetes
Psst Lola Tessie has diabetes
“Eat your vegetables!” Mom told Franco and Martin for the third time, as she cleared the table of plates of leftover grilled salmon, cheese macaroni, and rice. The boys stared at their unfinished eggplant. Dad glared at the boys.
Franco and Martin looked at each other. Martin whispered, ”Why does she always make us eat so many vegetables?” Franco secretly whispered back, “I don’t know.”
Lola secretly had die-ya-bee-dees, oops diabetes
Lola Tessie, the diabetic weightlifter
“I heard you,” Mom said, standing behind the boys, hands on hips. “That’s the trouble with people these days. They don’t care if they don’t know. Look at Lola Tessie. She didn’t know, too.” Lola Tessie was grandma’s sister. Grandma had 12 siblings, whom the boys called “Lola” (for great aunt) and “Lolo” (for great uncle), the Filipino way.
Franco and Martin stared at their plates, trying not to grin. Mom always talked about things that weren’t related to the conversation. When Mom turned her back to wash the dishes, Franco and Martin secretly laughed quietly.
Martin whispered to Franco, “Lola Tessie? She’s 77 and she’s a weightlifter.” The newspaper article about Lola Tessie was framed and hung in the dining room. Dad joined the boys at the table, and Franco and Martin started cutting the eggplant into pieces and forcing each piece down their throats. Franco sighed. With Dad watching, he and Martin wouldn’t be able to secretly hide the vegetables in their pockets.
Martin wants to secretly throw his eggplant away
Lola Tessie's Secret Diabetes
Dad said, “Your mom’s right, you know. It’s worse when you don’t know. Your Lola Tessie almost fell into a coma because she didn’t know.”
Martin’s eyes grew round as saucers. He knew that a coma meant you slept and couldn’t wake up, or woke up after a long time, but you weren’t dead. It only happened to very, very sick people. How could it happen to Lola Tessie? She ran the fastest, jogged the furthest, rowed boats the best, and swam like a dolphin. Plus, she lifted weights.
Dad told the boys, “When Lola Tessie was young, she didn’t know she was secretly sick. In fact, she had been sick for five years without knowing.”
Franco said, “If she didn’t feel sick, how could she be sick?”
Lola had no symptoms of diabetes
Mr. Ricafort knew he had diabetes, but he didn't follow his doctor
Dad said, “Because she had diabetes. It’s a sickness that you can have and not feel sick at all. That is, until it gets really bad. Look at our neighbor, Mr. Ricafort.”
Last year, Mr. Ricafort’s leg was amputated at the knee, and he was now using a false leg.
Dad continued, “He lost his leg because he had diabetes. Vegetables are good for diabetes.”
Suddenly Martin and Franco began eating their eggplant very, very quickly. Franco said, “That’s scary. How can you not know, and then suddenly have your leg cut off?”
“Well,” Dad said, “Mr. Ricafort knew. But he found out very late, and when he did, he wouldn’t follow his doctor’s orders. He didn’t take his medicines regularly, didn’t follow a special diet and didn’t exercise. That’s why he lost his leg.”
Mrs. Ricafort is not as strong as Lola Tessie, even if Lola Tessie has diabetes
Gloo-cose oops! Glucose
Dad said, “I have to help your mom. Let Franco tell you about it.” Dad stood up to tell mom that the boys finished their vegetables.
“C’mon,” Franco said. They went to their bedroom and Franco pulled out their box. “Where is it?” Franco mumbled to himself. He was pushing stuff aside – grandma’s lighter, cards, bottles. “What are you looking for?” Martin asked. “The syringe,” Franco said. “Oh, Martin said. He went to the bathroom and came back. The syringe had no needle on it. He sprayed water on Franco with the syringe.
Franco laughed. “Okay,” Franco said. “This is Lola Tessie’s syringe, but she let me have it. One day Lola and I went to the drug store. There was a nurse inside who was giving free blood tests. So, Lola had one.”
Franco continued, “She poked Lola’s finger with a blade. Then the nurse said Lola Tessie had diabetes. She had a glucose”
– “What’s gloo cose?” Martin asked.
It's better to know secret sicknesses like diabetes
Lola Tessie always follows her diabetes doctor
– “What’s gloo cose?” Martin asked.
“Well, it’s like sugar, but it’s good sugar that’s already in our bodies. It gives us energy to play. But Lola Tessie’s glucose was too high. It was 600. It should have been 100 to 140.”
Martin said, “Is she strong because she has more gloo cose than everybody else?”
“Wait,” Franco said. “I have to go to the bathroom.” While Franco was in the bathroom, Martin went to his toy shelf but couldn’t find his cyber gun pump action water pistol. He looked all over the room, and then found it under his bed. Franco came out of the bathroom.
Martin lay on his stomach on his bed. His arms were bent at the elbows and he was holding up his head.
Franco said, “Lola Tessie’s glucose was too high. It can’t be too high or too low, but just right. So we went to her doctor. He gave her an injection, some instructions and some prescriptions. And that’s how Lola Tessie gave me this.” Franco then sprayed all the water in the syringe on Martin’s head.
“Yucks!” Martin said, wiping the water off his head with the blanket.
“You see? It’s ‘cause you didn’t know,” Franco said, laughing. “But when Lola Tessie knew she had diabetes, she did everything the doctor told her. And she became stronger than ever. That’s when she took up weightlifting.”
“I just feel scared that a sickness can make you so sick and you never knew you had it,” Martin said.
Signs of Die-ya-beedees, er, diabetes
“Lola Tessie gave me this list. She said we should eat our vegetables because when we’re old we might get diabetes. And we should look up these signs,” Franco said. Martin drew closer as Franco read the list.
- You always get thirsty, and you always go to the bathroom.
“Every time Lola Tessie watched a movie, she chose a seat near the bathroom. Once she went to the bathroom every 20 minutes,” Franco said. The boys laughed at that.
- You feel dizzy and tired a lot.
“No way. Lola Tessie?” Martin said. But he was beginning to see that die-a-beedees was pretty serious.
- If your grandparents have it, you might get it.
The boys both looked glum, thinking of a dreary future where they would no longer be hiding their vegetables in their pockets, then throwing them. “Well,” Martin said, “I’d rather eat vegetables than lose my leg.” Franco agreed. “Or even worse, go into a coma.” Franco thought about Lola Tessie. The choice was easy.
“Franco,” Mom said, “Come here”. Before Franco left the room he told Martin, “Put everything back in the box, and slide it under the bed.”
Mom held Franco’s cellphone. “I told you not to leave this anywhere. Put this in my office. I’m keeping it for the afternoon so that you’ll learn your lesson.” Franco took the phone and went to his mom’s office which doubled as a guest room. He put it on mom’s table.
When he went back in, Martin squirted Franco with his cyber gun pump action water pistol. “Stop!” Franco said, laughing. “Stop. That’s too much.” Mom came into the room and saw water on the floor. “Okay” mom said, “If you’re going to play like that, put on your swimming trunks and play in the pool.”
Franco said, “Martin did this to me. He got me all wet.” Mom said, “That’s what you get for not knowing,” and walked away.
That's me on the bottom
The boys put on their swimming trunks and Martin got his gun. “C’mon,” Martin said. “Let’s go.”
Franco said, “You go ahead. I’ll catch up.”
Martin left the room confidently. He knew Franco didn’t have a gun. He went out of the house and shut the door.
Franco went to the closet and pulled out his new Super Soaker Aquashock Sneak Attack. It had four barrels, two that shot straight forward, and two that shot 90 degrees at both the left and the right.
“Hah!” Franco said. “Now we’ll see who doesn’t know.”