On a Learning Curve

Life may not be easy, but it's always an adventure.


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A Quick Visit to the E.R.

Today has not gone as planned.

Neither did yesterday. Yesterday started out with the usual morning drama in our household: G taped S’s toothbrush to the bathroom ceiling, and the girls decided that fighting would be a better use of their time than getting ready for school or their dental appointments. Yes, I wrote that she taped a toothbrush to the ceiling. Apparently that’s how 11-year-old sisters show that they love their younger sisters.

After a visit to our beloved dentist, S sort of melted down on the car ride home. She and I both agreed that she needed to go to bed. Then she decided that she needed to vomit. Twice. I left G and H with a checklist of assignments to finish downstairs, and I camped out in the bathroom with S until Ryan relieved me about 4 hours later. I then made two trips to Target: Ketostix and then the children’s ibuprofen that I had forgotten on the first trip.

S opted to sleep on the bathroom floor last night. She hates getting sick in her bed, so I made her a towel pillow on top of the bath mat and covered her with two towel blankets. She slept peacefully there most of the night; however, she was sick again twice during the early morning.

This morning S looked terrible. She hadn’t eaten anything since Monday’s breakfast, and she wasn’t keeping liquids down. I convinced her to check for ketones, and the stick turned dark purple immediately. That’s a bad thing for someone with Type 1 diabetes. S has been diabetic since she was 3 years old, and any illness she gets usually exacerbates her blood sugar control. A phone call to the endocrinologist confirmed my fears: We needed to head to the closest emergency room for fluids and bloodwork. We needed to make sure that she wasn’t heading towards diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

There are times that I find it inconvenient to live in a semi-rural county, but this wasn’t one of them. The ER admitted S right away and started her on a saline solution. S handled her first IV bravely and was relieved to see that one stick was all it took to draw blood and administer fluids. After her first half-bag of saline, she took Zofran. 15 minutes later she took Tylenol. Can I tell you how amazing it was to watch my little girl rehydrate and return to her usual self? Her ketones decreased from large to small, her 24-hour headache disappeared, and tests showed that she did not have DKA! Because she’s been running a low-grade fever, she also got a chest x-ray. That’s where we met our friend Melissa, a friend from church who is studying radiology. She wanted to print out a copy of Sarah’s lungs–how cool would that look in our homeschooling portfolio?!–but her supervisor nixed her idea.

Unknown to me at the time, our pastor had prayed for S’s healing with a few other area pastors. Our substitute grandmother–the famous Mrs. Debby–had called him with our news, and Pastor Rob followed up by heading to the hospital. Except that we left the hospital before he arrived. Oops. Sorry, Pastor Rob.

I decided that today would be a day off from schoolwork for everyone. That’s the beauty of homeschooling. We’ll make up the lost day another time. S is resting, H is asking me how to spell words like mustache, and G decided to try out the chalk pastels. Later, I think we’ll decorate the girls’ Christmas tree.

G's latest creation: Advent wreath and manger scene in chalk pastel.

G’s latest creation: Advent wreath and manger scene in chalk pastel.

Today hasn’t gone the way I had planned, but that’s okay. All is well with our girls, our community reached out in love, and I’m learning to be flexible.


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A Conversation with My Childhood Self

This is my second post for Compassion’s Blog Month. My assignment? Have a conversation with my childhood self. Here’s what I would want my much-younger self to know:

Laura, you’re going to learn a lot of lessons in the coming years. Some of these lessons will come easily, while others will cause you some pain. But take it from your grown-up, almost-40-year-old self, you’re going to learn plenty!

1. Don’t take yourself so seriously. You’ll have plenty more bad haircuts, and there’s no sense in crying over your hair. It will grow out.

3rd grade school picture, c. 1983. Notice my monogrammed sweater and wings.

3rd grade school picture, c. 1983. Notice my monogrammed sweater and wings.

2. Take some art lessons! Don’t quit piano in 9th grade! Your academic aspirations won’t suffer if you foster your creative side.

3. Do some strength training and put some muscle on your upper body. You’re not going to like what’s in store for your knees.

4. Don’t be so shy. Yes, it’s no fun that I’m saying the same thing that your mom tells you, but you’re going to do a whole lot of relocating in your adult life. Force yourself to be more outgoing so that you’ll know how to make friends wherever you live.

5. Don’t get too attached to the thought that you don’t want to move around as an adult or that you’d never marry someone in the military. Hint, hint.

6. Forget about waiting tables over summer break. You’ll never have a career in the restaurant world, but you will spend a ridiculous amount of time teaching and coaching children.

7. Seriously consider writing at least one research paper farther ahead than the night before it’s due. You’re really going to appreciate sleep when you’re older!

8. Continue to memorize Scripture. Powerful verses are going to come to mind exactly when you need comfort and wisdom the most.

9. Learn to trust God completely. Know that He is sovereign. You might think that you’re going to fall apart at times, but He won’t ever leave you to face your struggles alone.

10. Don’t judge others when you don’t know their circumstances. You’ll be amazed at who your true friends are later in life.