Back to Rufus Rufus Visits the Nicosia Family

The Nicosia Family, Columbia Falls, Montana

January 6, 2003
I made it to Carla's house in Columbia Falls, Montana today. I arrived at Carla's house just before she came home from morning kindergarten. Carla knew it was me in the box even before she opened it! I had fun eating lunch with Carla and her younger sister, Anna. After lunch, Carla introduced me to her Ruby bear. We had fun playing until it was time to go pick up Carla's brother Michael from school (he's in 2nd grade).

We were on the run after that - we picked up Michael and Carla's dad took us to Michael's doctor appointment, then we went to basketball practice, and then we all went to watch Carla's mom, Susan, being sworn in as the new Mayor. What a first night! We came home, ate dinner, and went to bed. Our bedtime sugars were a little high, but no ketones. Could've been from all the excitement today.

January 7, 2003
I got up early this morning and went to Kindergarten with Carla. It was Library Day. When all of the kids went to the library, I stayed in the classroom and took a nap. I really enjoyed meeting Carl's teacher, Mrs. La Roque, and her assistant, Mrs. Bahr, and all of the students. There are 12 girls and 8 boys in Carla's class. It was in the high 30's here today, but no new snow. Carla wants to take me ice skating and sledding. We had a busy afternoon, but a quiet evening.

Carla's blood sugars are running high again. I hope she's not getting sick! We're going to bed early tonight. Also, I met a second grader, Michael, today and I'm going to visit him, too, so he can take me to his classroom. I'm also looking forward to meeting Courtney T. She's in 4th grade and I'd like to meet her class while I am here.

January 8, 2003
I went to Kindergarten again today. Ruby came with us. We visited Mrs. Roger's kindergarten class across the hall. Today is "early out" so we went home at 10:15. Carla, Ruby, and I went home and played with Anna. Carla's blood sugars are better today. We took a map of the U.S. and marked all of the places I've traveled to already. We talked to a reporter today about doing a story while I'm visiting. We hope to get all of the children with diabetes together at Glacier Gateway Elementary School. Carla and Anna took an early bath and we all went to bed early.

January 9, 2003
I went to school again today, but Ruby stayed home with Anna. Carla was feeling much better, so she went outside for recess. I stayed inside with Mrs. Bahr. I have my own chair at Carla's table. I love going to school and talking to the kids about diabetes! We had to hurry home after school and wait for the repairman to fix the water heater. We came home and took a nap and watched Disney. Carla got out a Columbia Falls Wildcat sweatshirt for me to wear. It's below freezing but still no new snow.

We went to a meeting at City Hall. Carla let me tap the gavel to call the meeting to order (Carla's mom said we had to be quieter!) Carla fell asleep on the way home. Her sugars have gone back up, but she doesn't have ketones. Her mom is checking her blood sugar every two hours - Carla sleeps right through! I know Carla's mom is worried about her. I helped Carla's mom and Anna make the pretzel snowmen treats for us to take to school tomorrow. I hope she's feeling better! We get to go to a Wildcat basketball game tomorrow night!

January 10, 2003
I went to school again today. Carla loves taking me everywhere. We took Carla's dad, Mike, out to lunch for sandwiches. It was fun! I went to gymnastics with Carla. Then we all went to the Columbia Falls High School Wildcat basketball game. Wow! Another busy day! Carla and I checked our sugars and we both had numbers within a good range. We ate popcorn at the game and Carla lost a tooth!

January 12, 2003
We woke up at 8 a.m. to get ready for church. Anna was still sleepy and Carla had lower blood sugars (54). Carla's dad stayed home with us while her mom took her brother to church. We ate a good breakfast. In the afternoon, I stayed home with Michael when Carla and Anna went to a Barbie Birthday Party at a friend's house. This first week has gone by too quickly. It's snowing! It's cold, too - 12-20 degrees!

January 13, 2003
I helped Carla and her mom make Italian sauce after school this morning. They let it simmer all day! Carla loves pasta and sauce, but since she was diagnosed in May 2000 at age 3, her mom gives her a larger helping of meatballs and sausage, and not as much pasta. I have learned that Carla and her family use intensive insulin therapy to control her diabetes. Carla is checked 5-6 times on a 'normal' day and she takes 4-5 shots. Carla uses NPH in the morning and Lantus at bedtime. To cover meals and snacks (such as the birthday party), she gets Humalog. Her Humalog does is based on the number of carbs in the meal. While her mom and dad watch her diet carefully, they are also very aware that she is still young and it is important to let her be a child. When Carla was still in the hospital, upon being diagnosed, the diabetes educator, Angela, told them it was important to control the diabetes and not to let the diabetes control Carla.

We are all going to Michael's basketball practice and then home for dinner. Carla's dad is the superintendent of schools in Columbia Falls, and tonight is his meeting night. Tomorrow I am going to the school with Carla to meet all of the children with diabetes at the local schools, K-8 grade. The newspaper reporter is coming to do a story on my travels and the Children with Diabetes Foundation. Then I am going to spend the night with Courtney so she can take me to her class and read my journal.

January 14, 2003
Thank you, Carla, for letting us get to know Rufus. Courtney Tomburelli had a very exciting day today. We met with the reporter and had all of our pictures taken. Our first day at Mr. Johnson's fourth grade class was amazing. Everyone in our class had a chance to look through the journal about all my travels and read some of the letters. They were so excited to be able to share Rufus with Courtney that they all decided to sign their names.

Just a little instruction to Courtney Tomburelli. I am a ten year old little girl who was diagnosed with diabetes in March 1995. At the time that I was diagnosed, I was 2 1/2 years old. Now that I am ten years old, I am a very healthy girl who is very active. When Courtney turned seven years old, she got very ill and started losing weight again. It was Christmas and should have been a very happy time, but with a sick little girl it was hard to be happy.

After Courtney lost 7 pounds in three weeks, we made a decision to make a run 4 hrs to Seattle to have a biopsy done. Her father, Joe, and mom, Tammy, had a feeling that she had celiac disease. After getting no support or satisfaction from our local doctors, we drove all night to Seattle to see the Children's Hospital there. She was biopsied bright and early in the morning and was confirmed that long with diabetes, she also had celiac disease. This has been very difficult for the family because it is very hard to have a balanced diet when you are extremely limited to what you can eat. Since Courtney was diagnosed, her parents have been made aware that 1 in every 20 diabetic people have celiac and most do not know it. Now that we are on a wheat-free diet, Courtney is back to being healthy and very happy.

Courtney is a very loving girl who shares everything with her little sister, Angre (7) and Joey (6). It is Tuesday night, January 14, at 8:20 p.m. and we just took Grandma for a birthday dinner. Courtney and Rufus are now tucked safely in bed. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share in this wonderful idea, and we hope that all our little diabetic children are healthy and safe for many years to come. God Bless. Thank you for coming to share in our lives, Rufus. We will miss you and always remember you.

January 15, 2003
Today I woke with the Tamburelli family and headed back to Mr. Johnson's class. I spent the day getting to know more kids and teaching more about diabetes. I made a new friend, Elizabeth, today. She is not a diabetic, but was so interested in what I was doing that she brought me more clothes and a cat to take with me on my travels. Thank you, Elizabeth. I really appreciate the wonderful support. Courtney had an opportunity to care for me one more night because I'm sad to say that Carla was not feeling very well today. Hope you get better soon! As Courtney's mom picked us up from school, she was amazed by all the interest in me. I was in Columbia Falls for a short visit, but 90% of the kids walking in the halls knew my name and made a point to say hello to me and wish me the best. Courtney with whole time was smiling and enjoyed every minute.

Courtney was on a roller coaster ride today with her blood sugar. At breakfast, she was a 432 - wow, have not been that high since I got really sick. At 11:00 she was 49, ate some apple, chocolate milk, meat, and hour later was 349. Renea (nurse) called Mom to see what she thought. Twenty minutes later, 205. The nurse and I have no idea just what happened! Hope we don't do that again.

Thank you for Rufus. It was very special to Courtney and she will always remember you, Rufus. Lots of love, the Tamburelli's

January 16, 2003 Renae (school nurse) just brought me to spend a couple days with Cody Seliger. He is a second grader at Ruder Elementary, in Mrs. Christensen's class. He was diagnosed in August 2002, one week before school started.

Cody is sharing me and my travels with his class. Today he told us how he hopes he won't have to change schools. The school nurse would like him to be where she is most of the time. This has Cody pretty upset.

School is out and we're off to meet Cody's family. His mom (Lorinda) picked us up. When we got there, his sister (Brittany, 5) was waiting for us. She was so happy to meet me. Cody tested and was low, so he had a snack. I was fine, so I spent a little time with Brittany. She has been pretty sick with a virus.

We have dinner, do home work, read, and watch tv. It's time to test. We both have great levels. We have a snack. Cody's mom is happy because Cody has a good sugar level. He has been on a roller coaster since the changing schools subject came up again.

Cody helped me get my pj's on and we're off to bed.

January 17, 2003
Cody and I slept like rocks. It's time to get ready for school. We test, have our shots, eat, and get dressed. What a good morning! Cody's sister is not doing well at all. We talked and he decided it would be best for me to stay with her. I agree! Brittany has to go to the doctor. She got some medicine. If she isn't better by tomorrow, she has to go back.

Cody is home from school. We test and we're both low. We get to have ice cream cups. Yum yum! We play computer and just mess around. Cody's friend calls and wants him to spend the night. Mom and Dad say ok. I help get things together for the sleepover. I think it would be best to stay with Brittany. I hope she gets better so she doesn't have to go back to the doctor tomorrow.

Brittany turned the tv on for me after dinner. We just laid around and took it easy.

January 18, 2003
Good morning! Brittany is feeling a little better. Yippee! No doctor today. Cody will be home soon. We'll play for awhile, then I'm off to see my friend, Carla. I hope she is feeling better, too! Carla, we thank you so much for sharing Rufus with us. We had a great time with him and he was so much help with Brittany and Cody. Rufus, you are loved dearly and always welcome at our house. The Seliger Family - Dan, Lorinda, Cody (8), and Brittany (5)

January 19, 2003
I am back at Carla's house for the rest of my visit in Columbia Falls. We stayed home and played and read books. I am getting ready for my trip to Virginia. Carla is feeling better and her sugars are almost back to normal.

January 20, 2003
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is today. I stayed home with Anna when Carla went to school. Anna is having trouble saying good-bye, too. It is very cold outside, so we stay indoors to play. We picked up Carla from school and went to Leslie's house to sew. Carla's mom worked on a quilt for Carla while we played and watched movies. We had a special lunch with sugar free jello (raspberry and banana) for dessert.

January 21, 2003
Today I went to school with Carla to say goodbye to everyone. The picture of our school visit was in the paper on Saturday so lots of kids came to say goodbye. Carla is really going to miss me. We sent a postcard to John Drew and Jacob Smith telling them about my visit in Montana. I am grateful that I get to visit all of these families and share their stories. I must finish packing now so I can go visit Amanda. Carla has a younger cousin named Amanda, so she thinks it's pretty neat that I'm visiting someone with that name. These visits go by too quickly!

I'll miss you Rufus.


We love you, Rufus! Happy travels - Mike, Susan, Michael, Carla and Anna Nicosia

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Copyright Notice:
Rufus and Ruby, the bears with diabetes, is the creation of Carol Cramer, who owns the copyright to Rufus and Ruby. The graphics of Rufus are from Rufus Come Home, written by Kim Gosselin and illustrated by Terry Ravenelli, and are used by permission of the author.

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Last Updated: Thursday April 10, 2003 12:01:02
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