On a Learning Curve

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


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A Request for My Readers

I started to write a different post. I had a bad week last week. Bad by anyone’s definition. S’s diabetes wasn’t cooperating, and we narrowly avoided a trip to the ER. I needed help with childcare and was frustrated not to find any. I was attacked by an aggressive German shepherd during my long run on Saturday with two other friends. And all of this happened with Ryan on deployment.

But we pulled through last week. S is healthy again, and life with Type 1 diabetes continues to be a roller coaster of surprises! I filed reports with the sheriff and animal control, and my friends rallied around me last weekend. An RN named Amy drove up after the attack and acted as our Good Samaritan, too.

Instead, I’m going to write about our next-door neighbors. They had a much worse week than I did. Their sweet 7-year-old daughter was rushed into emergency brain surgery last Thursday. It turns out that she didn’t have a virus; she has a brain tumor. That surgery saved her life. And this morning, she is back in the operating room. This could be the most important day of her life–for her and for her parents.

Please join me in praying that the Great Physician would guide the skillful hands of Sofie’s surgeon this morning. Please don’t debate the existence of God or comment about the unfairness of this situation. Yes, life is unfair. No, I don’t know why bad things happen to good people. I just know that God answers prayers and that He heals. We have witnessed His healing in our own family; we also have a daughter who lives with an incurable disease. We know that He can and does do wonderful things with horrible circumstances.

So pray. Sofie is almost halfway through a 6-hour surgery. She needs healing, and her parents need peace.

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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.