Breaking Through

Sixteen-year-old Emma Marioni has to deal with the day-to-day issues of every teenager plus the complications of a disease. Struggling with commitment with boyfriends and broken friendships while her best friend Emily has it all. See how Emma "breaks through" to find her identity. © pips. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.


10. Chapter 10

Unconsciously I saw lights flashing by and I swore, at one point, I heard sirens. Nah, this couldn’t be happening, it was just some messed up dream. I was sure of it. I often had random dreams.




I heard shuffling feet all around me. I tried to move and open my eyes. For some strange reason my eyes were seemingly glued shut and my body suctioned to the bed. What was going on? I caught snippets of hushed, rushed voices. What was happening, was this a dream I was unable to view? I started to freak out. I drifted in and out of, what I didn’t even know, but I can only assume to be consciousness. If I was even conscious that is.


It felt like an eternity that I was in this weird world of my own, all on my own. I just wanted to see Emily and hug my mum. Questions kept popping into my head; do I have a neurological problem, is this some weird dream, am I even still alive?

Finally I was pulled back into reality, glad to see again. My mum rushed over to me, crying. Puzzled, I half-armed hugged her as something seemed to restrain my other arm from moving. As I blinked “sleep” from my eyes I saw my arm; a drip was in it. I frowned. As I slowly regained consciousness I learnt that actually I was not in my bed anymore. My parents went to each other and cried into each other’s arms instead. Still confused at the whole situation I went to ask my mum. The only thing that came out of my mouth was a strangled, choking sound. My mum noticed my mouth was gaping open and held my hand.

“Sweetie, you’re in the hospital. We came to test you last night and you were ‘Low’, like you know the lowest you could be. I tried to wake you to give you juice. Me and daddy tried shaking you and poking you, we tried everything. You wouldn’t wake. So we gave you Glucagon, the needle in the leg. Still you didn’t wake up. So we called the ambulance. You’ve been in hospital for two days. But we are so happy you are awake now.”

I was flabbergasted. So much could happen in a few hours. Then I thought back to the night I went into a coma. I did feel shaky, I presumed that was happiness, but it must have been a hypo. I couldn’t believe it; I had also forgotten to test before bed. I must have been really close to not waking up at all. I was pretty sure I had just had a near-death experience. A nurse came in and plopped a tray on my table with a little wink. On the way out she whispered something about me finally being awake and how happy she was. My parents merely smiled and nodded. I shifted slightly to see what was on my tray. Mash potatoes, chicken, vegetables and lime jelly. Strangely, I loved hospital food especially their mash. I had a spoonful of mash and ate the jelly. They always seemed to give you lime, it was strange. Happy to fill my belly, although I was on a drip, which made my stomach have something in it, I was still hungry. After I had finished my mum went out and came back in with Emily and Tim. Emily screamed and I saw her wipe a few stray tears away. They had been waiting for me. True friends.

“Oh my god. Emma.” was all Emily could manage to say.

Tim simply leant in and kissed my forehead, concerned look on his face.

I muttered that I was okay. I couldn’t imagine how much I stank and how terrible I looked after two days in the hospital. They talked to each other and my parents then Tim left me a teddy bear holding a heart and they both left saying they would visit soon. I felt really bad after they had left. I had no more distraction from the fact that, ultimately, I had put myself in a coma, by not testing before bed. Diabetes, although you may not think it, is a really dangerous disease. If you are too high, you can go into a coma. If you are too low you can also go into a coma. It was such a confusing and misunderstood disease. I wished it was as well known as cancer. Just a little fact: out of all the people with diabetes only 12% have type one. So that was why we were so misunderstood. Everyone thought type two was the only type and nobody really wanted to know different. Well, that was my life anyway.

So in a simple few hours my life had taken a turn for the worst, in hospital, almost dead. But little did I know the worst was yet to come.


A couple of days and I was discharged from the hospital. Happy to be out and given a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) to help me not go super low again. Basically I used a needle to insert it and it reads my Glucose levels over 24 hour periods. Another needle in my stomach. I still had to test, but not as regularly. I had organised to meet up with Tim next week, seeing as I hadn’t had any “us” time with him for a while. I checked my phone and realised that I had a message. Nobody ever really phoned me. I rang voicemail and listened. It was Tim. He told me that he couldn’t meet up with me today because he was at the doctors. I wondered what was wrong with him. I mentally told myself he was fine and that he would tell me if something was seriously wrong. I went about my business and Emily skipped school for me and came over for a movie marathon. We watched my all time favourites including Harry Potter, Notting Hill, Sliding Doors and Bridget Jones Diary. Even though Emily didn’t really like Harry Potter, she watched it for my sake. She hadn’t even read the books once, and I had read it ten times, through the whole series.


On Wednesday I went back to school, not as if anyone would have missed me. School was so boring. I didn’t catch Tim throughout the day. He didn’t meet me at my locker like he usually did. I was so confused, he never skipped. When I saw Emily at lunch she told me he was at home sick. I texted him;

“Where are you? I miss you!”

About ten minutes later I got a reply.

“Sick. Doctors. Think it is serious. Don’t know yet, waiting for results from tests.”

This was all I got? That was nothing to go on. I was his worried girlfriend and I got a brief, non-descriptive text saying he might have something serious. I texted again;

“I’m really worried about you. Can I come over after school?”

I didn’t get a reply and I kept checking my phone, each time no reply.

I went through the whole day worrying about Tim. What could he possibly have?

When I got home I went to Tim’s house and knocked on the door. His dad answered. I asked for Tim but he just told me Tim and his mum were out at the doctors.

“Can you please tell me what is going on? I’m really worried about Tim.” I pleaded.

“I’m not even so sure. But Tim has been fainting and feeling sick and drinking buckets of water.” Said Steve, Tim’s dad.

I blinked. Those sound like symptoms of… I started to get really worried at that stage. It couldn’t possibly be what I thought it was. The chances of my friend getting it were minute. I bid Steve goodbye and ran to my house.

“Mum! MUM!” I yelled desperately.

She ran to me looking flustered. “What’s up honey?”

“Tim is sick. And Steve described familiar symptoms.”

“Oh my god,” My mum breathed. “He will okay. I’m sure. And if you are right, you know you will be able to help him so much. He will be feeling really alone and need an extra nice friend. Especially since you know so much.”

I nodded. I knew my mum was right. She was so smart. I went on up to my bedroom and sat on my bed while I nervously wringed my hands. I didn’t get much sleep that night but eventually I drifted off.


It was the end of the week before I knew it. Not only that, it was the start of the Christmas holidays. I still hadn’t heard from Tim or his family for almost a whole week. While I was making some origami, the phone rang. My mum had obviously picked it up. I heard steps coming up the stairs. Mum came into my room, solemn look on her face, passed the phone over and left without a word. That wasn’t right. Something was seriously wrong.

“Hello?” I whispered into the phone.

“Hey Emma,” Tim’s mum, Karen said softly. “Your mum has told me what you thought was wrong with Tim. You are so intuitive. I am afraid that your suspicions were right. Tim was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes this morning.”

No. This couldn’t be right. It wasn’t possible.

“We are in the hospital and Tim had asked me to phone you for him. I’m sorry he didn’t text you back, apart from the fact he lost his phone, we have been going to lots of appointments over the past week and Tim hasn’t felt up to anything either.”

She paused. The line was silent for a couple of minutes.

“I’m so sorry Karen. If there is anything you need, I’m here for you. And it happened so soon after I was in hospital.” I said as a tear slid slowly down my cheek.

“Thank you. There is something you can do actually. Tim could use a visitor, he has been very lonely. Yes, well that is kind of odd.”

“Thank you for telling me. I will be over to the hospital in about ten minutes.”

Karen told me the hospital details and we said goodbye and I hurried to get ready. I picked a card from a box in the cupboard and wrote it for Tim. Funnily mum was already waiting at the door for me. She didn’t say a word.

When we arrived at the hospital I speed walked down to the ward, mum at my heels. I knocked on the door and Karen came out to meet us. I hugged her tightly.

“Thanks to you and all Tim has learnt about Diabetes from you, he picked up something was wrong and told me to take him to the doctors. The doctors told us a little longer and he could have gone into a coma. So thank you Emma, you are a life saver.”

I nodded. We walked in and I saw Tim sitting up in bed, watching the television. He looked over and cried out my name. I walked civilly over to his bed and passed him his card, along with a kiss. If you didn’t know he was just diagnosed with diabetes, you would have thought he was fine from how he looked physically.

Tim opened the card and thanked me. Our parents left the room, saying Tim was in good care and that they were going to get a coffee. I sat down and looked at Tim.

“I can’t believe this has happened.” I said. “You don’t deserve this!”

Tim grabbed my hand and held tightly. “You don’t deserve it either. Oh well, I’m not saying I like it, but there’s nothing we can do about it. “

“How are you so brave?”

“Well I’ve always had the best role model to teach me.” He looked me straight in the eyes and brushed my hair out of my face.

After talking for a little bit, Tim told me to look in the cupboard. I got the game out and we played it for ages, until a lady came in with Tim’s dinner tray. Tim was laughing, and it looked like he was enjoying himself thoroughly. I don’t think I looked like that when I was diagnosed. Tim was so strong. He took things as they came and didn’t complain. I don’t think I had ever seen him loose his composure.

Tim had been to see the educator, but throughout the time I was in the hospital with him, he kept asking me questions about Diabetes. They weren’t simple questions, because he knew most of them already from me, they were obscure and made even me think a little.

Our discussion was interrupted by a text from Emily.

“I have something to tell you both.”

“Ok what is it?” We replied.

“I am in Queensland for a holiday. And my parents like it so much they want to move here.”

My heart dropped. Emily move away? How much worse could this day get? All of a sudden things had turned from perfect to, well, this. I went into a coma and not much after Tim got diagnosed, and then Emily was moving!

“No you can’t move Emily! We need you! Btw have you heard Tim’s news?” I messaged.

“I don’t really have a choice… No what happened?”

I looked at Tim, asking for permission. He nodded.

“Tim is in hospital. He just got diagnosed with diabetes.”

“He WHAT? OMG I need to see you right now! But I am only coming back next week. L I don’t even want to move! I want to stay in Canberra with you guys!”

Tim and I couldn’t figure out what to say or do. Our best friend who had been there for us for years was moving. Distraught might describe a piece of how I was feeling. Personally, It felt like my whole world was ending.

*** © pips

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