Posted in Type-1

Dr. Wasid

The blue circle symbol used to represent diabetes.
Image via Wikipedia

Mommy and daddy took me to a doctor today who knows a lot about Diabetes Type 1. Mommy says he’s a “specialist” and that means he knows how to make me better. I asked her if he’s going to take the diabetes away but she says, maybe one day, but not today. The office was in very tall building with many offices inside. I was nervous.

The doctor’s name was “Dr. Wasid” or something like that. He was tall, very tall, and his skin was brown.  His breath stunk real bad like eggs. He wasn’t very nice. He told me I was very fat and that because I’m fat my diabetes wasn’t going to get any better. He told mommy and daddy that I need to stop eating as much as I am eating right now. I wanted to tell him that I’m not eating as much as he thinks, at least not what I like to eat and that it was not fair. But I didn’t say anything because my parents were talking to him, and mommy says that I can’t interrupt grown ups when they’re talking because that’s bad manners.

Dr. Wasid held my arm, and grabbed the fatty part around my wrist “When this goes away, you may eat the candies you want,” he said. I just looked at him, and held my daddy’s hand very hard. He also told my parents about how much insulin I have to get every time I have breakfast and dinner and that they have to keep a log where they have to write down how much sugar I have. He told them a bunch of other things, but I didn’t pay attention, because I was to busy thinking about the ice-cream man who I saw downstairs. I don’t know why, but all I want to do is eat and eat and eat everything I can’t.

When we got out of the doctor’s office daddy asked me if I liked the doctor. I told him I didn’t because he called me fat and he needs to brush his teeth because his mouth smelled really gross. Daddy said he didn’t like him either, but doctors are like that. He says that even if he’s not nice, he will help me. I just have to listen and do what he says.

Mommy didn’t say anything on our way back home. I know she’s worried about me still. She hates needles as much as I do. That’s why daddy is the one who has to pinch me. Every time it is time for me to get my insulin, she goes away. I don’t now if it’s because she hates needles for real, or she just can’t see how much it hurts me ever time daddy stabs my shoulders. I wish I could be better. I feel that because of me, mommy cries every night. I told daddy I was very sorry for getting sick like this, but he says I didn’t do anything, that this happened because it was meant to be.

I really don’t know what “meant to be” means, but if daddy said so, I guessed it ws okay. I also told him that I’ve been praying to God, so that he will take away my diabetes and that way we will all be happy again. But daddy didn’t say anything back. He just hugged me and said “I love you”. I love you too daddy, I thought, I love you too.

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Type-1

My Pancreas is Broken by Paloma Gensollen

Paloma Gensollen

I know mommy knows something is wrong with me. I know it too. Every time I eat something, I start getting really thirsty, and I don’t see well that much. Everything is blurry lately, and it itches down there a lot. I don’t want to go to the doctor anymore. It’s scary and I hate the needles they poke me with.

“Paloma I need to talk to you”, mommy says very seriously. I know she’s been crying. I see her hugging daddy and asking him, “why her?”.

Why me? I don’t know what she means with that.

Now she’s kneeling in front of me, holding my hands.

“Do you remember when I took you to the laboratory to get some blood?”
“Yes, mommy, I don’t want to go there ever again. It was very scary.”

Mommy has rain in her eyes. She is sad and I think it’s my fault. I don’t want to make mommy sad or upset. I like it when she smiles and is happy. I even like it better when she’s upset than when she’s sad. When her heart is breaking and tears are falling down her cheeks, my hearts brakes too.

Mommy is hugging me one more time. She’s trying to tell me something, but the words are stuck in her throat with crazy glue and they can’t get out. She’s trying to hold back her tears, but they just burst like a waterfall.

“You have Diabetes type 1, Paloma. From now on you can’t eat any candies, ice-cream, chocolates, nothing sweet, ok?”

Mommy is not looking me in the eyes. She can’t. That’s why she’s hugging me very tightly while she is saying I have something she calls “Diabetes Type 1”. I think she’s is confused. I don’t have such thing as Diabetes Type 1. I don’t even know how it looks like, or what it is. I just know that sometimes I get parched and I pee in my pants without noticing. But I promise her I will go to the bathroom before I do.

“What’s that mommy? And, why can’t I eat candies? I haven’t done anything this time.”
“Diabetes is a disease. You know when you get a cold and you have to drink some medicine to get better?”
“mmmmhmm.”
“Well, this time is not a cold. Inside your body there’s something called a “Pancreas”, which is the one who gives you “Insulin”, the liquid daddy gives you when he pinches you. Somehow it’s not working anymore.”
“Why? Did I do something wrong?”
“No mi amor, you haven’t done anything wrong. “You just can’t eat anything sweet and you have to pinch your fingers every time you eat, and before breakfast and dinner daddy has to pinch you, to give you some insulin, ok?”

Mommy is hugging me again. Lately all she does is hug me and cry. I feel guilty and I want to cry, too. I don’t know what mommy is saying. I don’t understand. I didn’t say anything because I don’t know what’s happening. I don’t want to stop eating chocolates! I LOVE chocolate, and candies, and ice cream, and sugar! Why can’t I can be like any other kid? Why do I have to pinch my fingers every time I eat. Why? I haven’t thrown any toys down the toilet this time, or cut off the hairs of my sister’s dolls! I’ve been a good girl! I don’t want my daddy to stick needles in my arms! I’m scared! I’m so scared of what mommy said. God, why did mommy say that? Why did my pancreas stop working? I promise you that I will be always good if you make me better again. I promise I will pray every night and not fall asleep before I do. I promise you I will never break my sister’s toys ever again, or play with mommy’s things!

“I promise you God, just make my pancreas work again. I’ll be a good girl, but please, take the diabetes out of me…please.”

–Paloma Gensollen

Posted in Type-1

The Big Metal Snake by Paloma Gensollen

“The Big Metal Snake drinking my blood” Photograph By: Paloma Gensollen

I’m scared. Mommy says the doctor told her I’m a little sick. We went yesterday and he checked me down there between my legs because every time I do pee it hurts and it itches all the time.

Today mommy is taking me to a place she calls a “Laboratory”. She says that a nurse will get some blood from my arms so the doctor can see why I’ve been feeling so weird all the time. She says the nurse has to pinch me with a needle, that it won’t hurt, but I don’t like needles, they look like hard metal snakes, very scary!!!!!

We’re here, we’re walking into a white room with posters of doctor’s stuff on the walls. It’s cold and I haven’t eaten anything. I want to go home. I’m scared of the needles.

A nurse walks in. She says hi and tells me I have pretty green eyes like green olives. I hate olives! She tells me to sit down and extend my arm. Mommy is standing next to me, holding my hand. The nurse gets a cotton ball, puts some alcohol and cleans my arm with it. She also gets a rubber band and puts it around my arm. It hurts. Look at your mommy, she says, but I don’t want to. I want to know what she’s about to do.

She grabs a huge needle, takes off the cap and I see a large, skinny and pointy metal snake. I panic, get up, and run to the corner. I’m crying. Why would mommy let the nurse hurt me with that thing?! I haven’t done anything wrong.

Mommy tells me to calm down, that it will be fast and won’t hurt at all. She’s lying, she tells me lies are bad, but she’s lying to me. Another nurse comes in. I go back to the chair, still crying. The nurse cleans my arm again, and as I see the big metal snake, I run back to the corner. Now two boy nurses come in. Mommy says I need to stop behaving like a little girl. But I am a little girl.

They grab me and I start screaming as hard as I can–moving my body I kick them and yell at them to stop. I’m crying. Mommy is too. She’s telling me that they need to get the blood so I won’t be sick anymore. I don’t care, I’m so scared and I want to go home and play with my dolls. I hug my mommy and tell her I don’t want them to hurt me. She says they won’t, but I know she’s lying again. I’m not dumb.

A big fat nurse comes in. She has blonde curly hair. She looks mean, like a big fat ogre. She tells my mommy something and mommy just looks at me. The other nurses grab me, and they sit me down on the chair again. I can’t move now. They’re holding me very tight. I see the fat ogre get the needle and she cleans my arm and wraps a rubber band around it. As I’m screaming my lungs out, she stabs my arm with the big metal snake that begins to drink my blood. The big ogre feeds the snake. Fills up several tubes with my blood.

She’s done now. Takes out the needle and puts a Band-Aid on the tiny bite mark the metal snake leaves on my arm. I’m still crying. Mommy is too. She hugs me and tells me I’m going to be okay. She promises. But I know I’m not okay.

Posted in Type-1

At The Beach by Paloma Gensollen

“The Beach” Photograph By: Paloma Gensollen

Introduction: This entry is the first in a series from Paloma Gensollen who grew up a happy little girl (in the past) before Almost Dorothy struck her up for some of her writing. By Almost Dorothy, I don’t mean me. I mean diabetes. Paloma’s world was cute pink perfect which means she had everything any seven year old girl wanted–toys, parents, a big sister, chewing gum. She even went to one of the best schools in Lima, which is the capital of Peru, not a lima bean. Paloma had a healthy life (but she smokes now). I often almost never wonder what a healthy life really means when we are all turned by the same wheel? Life has a funny way of turning someone’s stupid little blue world upside down. Though. Whether it was God, destiny, or DNA, someone or something made Paloma sign a life-contract when she was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 1, Juvenile Diabetes a few months after she turned 7. Paloma is not 7 anymore. Paloma, which means dove, says diabetes is like a “stick-shift. I need to do manually what others do in automatic mode.” Over the course of the next few months and maybe for almost forever, Paloma will document her life as a diabetic,which sounds like a drag but she is not a drag queen. I just want to make that queer. In the end, we don’t know what’s going to happen with Paloma because the future does not exist. She’ll write for now until she gets there. Enjoy. (Love ya, Almost Dorothy)

At The Beach by Paloma Gensollen

It’s summer here in Peru, February 3rd 1995. We are here at my aunt’s beach house, spending the weekend. I came with my mommy; my sister went somewhere else with some friends and my daddy stayed in the city for work.

The day is beautiful; the sun is shining bright, the sky looks like a big pool filled with water. The ocean is having a party; waves dancing along with the wind, rising up and down, crushing against the seashore, hugging the sand.

I’m playing on the sand not too close to the water, making sand balls, digging holes and filling them with some water. I’m pretending I’m a chef making fudge for the delicious chocolate cake I pretended to bake with the sand. I like the beach, makes me feel free like a seagull flying aimlessly across the sky.

It’s hot and I want to get in the ocean but I can’t go on my own, the waves are big and it is kind of scary. I’m also parched. I’ve been drinking tons of water but somehow I still want more and more. I’ve been peeing on myself a lot too. Mommy says I’m already a big girl and I should learn how to hold my pee, I try to hold it but it just comes out. My body is burning, like if it’s on fire. The sun’s rays are hitting my eyes and it’s hard to see. I want water; I’m going where my mommy and aunts are for some more.

I tiptoe quickly on the dry sand so I won’t burn my little feet. “Ma I’m thirsty” I tell her. She hands me a bottle of icy-cold water from a cooler. I gulped the water. “Mommy, is there anymore?” I ask her unsatisfied with the .5L of water I just drank. “Yes”, she says, not paying much attention to me.

I finish what was left of the second bottle mommy gave me 2 minutes ago. My mouth is dry. “Ma, I want more water”, I tell her, while poking her back with my tiny finger covered with sand. “More?!, you just drank two bottles!, don’t you want an ice-cream instead? Let’s go get you one”. She goes, while I stay under the tent with my aunts.

I ask one of them for water and she gives me her big-cooler-type bottle. The cold water is running through my mouth and going down my throat like a waterfall. I feel good; my body is getting rid of the heat. I keep drinking, I don’t want to stop. Mommy is coming towards me, she’s worried. The water is almost gone…I want more!!!! The heat is wrapping my body again. Now I need to pee, but it itches and hurts down there every time I do. I can’t hold it, I’m trying to be a big girl and not pee on myself bu I can’. It’s wet between my leg. I’m still holding up the bottle, hoping some water will fall onto my tongue, but nothing, the water is gone.

Mommy is nervous. We’re back at the house. She’s calling daddy I think. I can’t really hear what she’s saying. I’m on the floor playing with some toys; I wish I could have more water…

Now we’re in the car, leaving the beach and heading back to Lima. Mommy gives a big bottle of water for the trip. She says to drink it slowly.

We’re home, Mommy and Daddy are in their room, whispering, I know they’re talking about me. Mommy walks in my room and tells me to go to bed because tomorrow she’s taking me to the doctor. She kisses my forehead, draws a cross on it with her finger, tells me “I love you” and closes the door.

–Paloma Gensollen

Posted in Culture Clash

Julieta Venegas: Review of the “Otra Cosa” tour

Cover of "Otra Cosa"
Cover of Otra Cosa

On February 27th, 2011 Jack Daniels presented Julieta Venegas at the Gusman Center in Miami for her “Otra Cosa” tour. The stage, unexpectedly dark, was illuminated with one spotlight where Venegas sat at a black piano. She shined with the intensity of a million suns.

She opened the concert with the song, “Limon y Sal” and the audience burst into applause.

Tengo que confesar que a veces
no me gusta tu forma de ser
luego te me desapareces
y no entiendo muy bien porque
no dices nada romantico
cuando llega el atardecer
te pones de un humor extraño
con cada luna llena al mes

During last Sunday’s performance, Venegas began with slow, melodic songs and wrapped up the show with heart-pounding dance beats. Everyone, of course, was on their feet even though the sound system was problematic. Venegas exemplifies the difference between an interpreter of music and a true artist because she has an intimate relation with the instruments she plays.

Since the 1996 release of her first self-titled album, “Julieta Venegas”, she has delighted fans with her extraordinary voice but what caught my attention at the concert was the diversity of the audience, children with their parents, single ladies and men, gay & straight couples, Spanish and non-Spanish speakers, who sang along with Venegas. Next to me were a non-Spahish speaking gay couple, who, delighted by her music, sang along in their awkwardly-sweet Spanish. It is the sign of a true artist when that artist can connect to an audience that intuitively gets her. Venegas’s music is inclusive, barrier-less, and its power is transmitted to the listener at  a primal, subconscious level. (Listen to “Bien o Mal” here.)

Venegas rocked the stage! She left her fans in awe. We wanted more and more. She is what I call a complete musician—one that sings, writes her own songs, and plays her own instruments. Julieta Venegas can sing any song from any other artist, like she did at the concert when she sang “Sin Documentos” by Calamaro, and no matter what song she sings, I know it’s her. Right away. Because Venegas’s voice is unmistakably extraordinary.

For more information about the “Otra Cosa”, which will continue on May 28 in Valladolid, or Venegas visit her website http://www.julietaveneas.net. For tickets information you can visit Livenation.com

Posted in Culture Clash, Themes

Jorge Drexler Opens Up at the Fillmore Miami Beach

Jorge Drexler

Almost Dorothy is happily puffed up and ready to introduce Paloma Gensollen to the Almost Dorothy family. Over the next year, Paloma will write about Latin music, art, culture and mayhem in South Florida. She’s what you call an emerging writer, a newbie, with nice shoes and a lion’s heart of gold. Paloma is real cool plus she’s the one who helped make me into a voodoo doll. Enjoy Paloma’s writing. Love ya, Almost Dorothy

Back in my teenaged-wonder-years (a really fun one, by the way), I was introduced to Jorge Drexler through his song “Mi Guitarra y Voz” from his album Eco. This song became my best friend and soon enough the complete collection of Jorge Drexler’s albums became my buddies. His music became part of my skin, his lyrics my national anthem. All I wanted was more. This Saturday, January 29th, 2011 the Rhythm Foundation presents Jorge Drexler at the Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theatre.

“Que viva la ciencia! Que viva la poesía! Que viva siento mi lengua cuando tu lengua está sobre la lengua mía. El agua está en el barro, el barro en el ladrillo, el ladrillo está en la pared y en la pared tu fotografía…Hay tantas cosas yo solo preciso dos; Mi guitarra y Vos” – from “Guitarra y Vos” (Eco)

Jorge Drexler

Drexler began writing songs in 1989 and released his first album in 1992, La Luz que Sabe Robar. A couple of years later, Drexler closed (or opened) an important chapter in his career in Uruguay with his second album Radar. Saying “goodbye” to his homeland, Drexler expanded his wings, flew to Madrid, and that’s where he recorded his third album, Vaivén. On this album, he collaborated with Joaquín Sabina, Luis Eduardo Aute and Javier Alvarez.

Since moving to Madrid, Drexler has released a total of 10 albums, along with several re-releases. In 2005, Drexler won worldwide recognition when he received an Oscar for his song “Al Otro Lado del Río” from the movie Motorcycle Diaries. This is the first time in the history of the Oscars that a Spanish song won the award. In 2008, Jorge Drexler released his ninth album Cara B, which he recorded live on a tour around 7 cities in Cataluña, Spain. Amazed by Drexler’s music, the film director Manuel Huerta joined the project and made a documentary film of the tour—Un Instante Precisio.

“Yo solo quiero que sepas: no estoy aquí de visita, y es para ti que está escrita esta canción” –Fusión (Eco)

Just like his song “Todo Se Tranforma” from his album Eco, Drexler has also evolved and transormed as a musician. His most recent album, Amar La Trama, is Drexler’s first live album where he transorms a television set into a record studio. Unlike his previous works, this time Jorge Drexler puts aside “house music” and experiments with instruments and is accompanied by a live band. It is fresh.

“Nada es mas simple, No hay otra norma. Nada se pierde, todo se transforma” – from “Nada se Pierde” (Eco)

Everything changes, according to Jorge Drexler’s, but his sound is singular, unique. It makes you move, the rhythms fuse to your body and the melodies lift you up. With several nominations for Grammy Awards, the Latin Grammy Awards and the Spanish Music Prize, among other awards, Miami is sure be moved by Drexler’s voice. I will see you all at the Fillmore. I’ll be the one screaming my head off with Almost Dorothy.

Information: Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater, 1700 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach 33139. Tickets are $68.50 front orchestra, $43.50 orchestra, and $33.50 mezzanine – plus fees. Purchase them online or at Ticketmaster outlets, or the Fillmore box office, or call (800) 745-3000.

by Paloma Gensollen