“I’m telling you, Clara…you have to stop living like a bird in a cage,” Mr. Douglas told Clara while visiting her parents one day.
“Who are you? And, what do you mean by that?” Glugar said aggressively.
“Oh, I forgot you’re also there, Glugar…sorry,” Mr. Douglas smiled. “I’m a childhood friend of Clara’s parents, and for your information, I also live with diabetes.”
“I didn’t know about that, Mr. Douglas,” Clara was surprised.
“Well, Clara,” Mr. Douglas started, “I can’t help but notice that you live more timidly with Glugar around. You used to be more bold and adventurous before she showed up in your life.”
“You mean, I used to be reckless?” Clara was getting nostalgic.
“No, Clara…no! Let’s say you used to live more free! I can tell that you’re thinking too much about what you’re going or not going to do due to diabetes. It’s good to be cautious, but don’t let Glugar determine your path!”
“Ha-ha. I’m very powerful!” Glugar laughed.
“No, you’re not,” Mr. Douglas interrupted. “You’ve just become some sort of a cage for Clara. She used to be a free bird. I know what I’m saying since I’ve had a similar experience—as I told you, I also have diabetes.”
“Ugh, I hate when people make me feel like I’m the bad guy,” Glugar said grumpily.
“Mr. Douglas, you’ve freed yourself from your diabetes?” Clara asked.
“Well, no…but I can tell you that I learned to live a full life with it,” he explained. “For example, due to the kind of job that I have—which I love to do—I’ve sometimes found myself in very difficult circumstances. My diabetes has not been an impediment to me in continuing to do what I love and what gives me a lot of satisfaction, even though it could be very dangerous.”
“What do you do? What do you do?” Glugar got curious and excited.
Mr. Douglas was getting exasperated by Glugar’s interruptions, but he answered, “It’s not important what I do for a living. What’s important is that my diabetes hasn’t held me back from doing the duties that my work requires. I have to travel to many hard parts of the world, and I don’t allow my diabetes to annoy me or stop me from doing what I like to do.”
“Can you share some of your adventures with Glugar and me, Mr. Douglas?” Clara politely begged.
“Of course, dear,” he started, “one day I was in a place where I was almost totally swallowed by quick sands but thankfully I was rescued by local people. Another time, all my insulin was stolen in a faraway place where there were no hospitals or pharmacies nearby. And if that’s not enough, I survived malaria two times! Can you believe that?”
“What? Wow! No way!” Glugar screamed in terror. “I don’t want to be your diabetes!”
“Mr. Douglas, what other stuff have you experienced?” Clara wanted to know. She was very interested with such conversation.
“Dear Clara, other experiences have been even harder. Sadly, I’ve lived in places where people were at war and people were hurt almost every day, and one time I was even seriously injured myself,” Mr. Douglas sounded sad and thoughtful. “Those situations are not very common, I know, but from them I’ve learned that the most important thing is to find joy and satisfaction in all we do, that we have to definitely use our talents. Don’t allow your diabetes and your fears stop your dreams. You know that it’s very important to be cautious, and that living with diabetes is hard work. So, take the necessary precautions, but don’t hide your talents away and don’t stop exploring your interests.
“You inspire me, Mr. Douglas,” Clara said with admiration. Then, after a short silence she added, “I know I’m very different from you…I don’t have your super-relaxed personality to do all those sorts of unique things, but you’re right about living life to the fullest! I know that I must take care of my diabetes, but at the same time I’ll do my best to pursue my dreams and use my unique talents.”
“You better take care of me! It’s your duty!” Glugar demanded, and then she mocked, “So…are you going to open the little birdie cage and fly away Clara?”
“Ugh, stop being a such a nuisance, Glugar. I think you’re just jealous because I’m stronger that you!” Clara smiled.
“This story is dedicated to our family friend, Douglas Campos, who inspired me when I was recently diagnosed with diabetes.” M.A.