Information Overload

The door to Kim’s hospital room closed behind us. Our hearts heavy, Van and I walked down the hall hand in hand, each lost in our own thoughts. As soon as the car doors slammed, we started talking.
“How are we going to do this?” I asked. “How are we going to explain this to Erin? How am I going to be able to give Kim shots? She already screams and fusses over any little scratch, and now she’s going to need shots every day? It’s going to be a nightmare, and then there’s school. . . ”
“Stop,” Van interrupted. He pulled over, took off his seat belt, and held my hand. “Don’t panic. God has always taken care of us. He won’t stop now. I’m as confused and worried as you are, but that’s because we don’t know anything yet. We’ll figure it out, and we’ll do fine.
“Father, God,” he prayed, “Calm our hearts and our minds. Help us be able to learn all the things we need to care for Kim. Put a hedge of protection around her tonight so if she wakes up, she is not afraid. Give Debbie and me the wisdom and patience we need to adjust to this new way of life. Guide us through every step of caring for Kim and Erin. We love You and we trust You. In Jesus Name, amen.”
“Amen,” I echoed.
Van started the car. “Once we get home, we’ll talk about what the plan is for tomorrow. After that, we’ll take one day at a time.”
“OK,” I managed. I knew Van was right, but my stomach churned with worry.
After we checked on Erin, we went into the living room and sat down facing each other.
Again Van took the lead, “I think you should go to the hospital in the morning while I stay here with Erin. I’ll make apple pancakes, just like any other Saturday morning. Once you’ve talked to Dr. Curtis, we can decide whether we both need to be there. Find out if Erin can visit. Call me when you know what’s going on. I’ll find someone to take care of Erin and join you ASAP.
“That makes sense. What am I going to do about Monday? It’s the first day of school. I can’t imagine leaving Kim in the hospital all day alone, but how do I write sub plans for a class I’ve never met?”
“One thing at a time, Sweetie,” Van cautioned, let’s just make it through tomorrow.”
Finally in bed, tears leaked as I poured out my heart to God.
Oh God,
How will I ever be able to do all of this? What if I make a mistake and something happens to Kim? And what about Erin? Kim is already the squeaky wheel. Please don’t let Erin get lost in the added time and attention Kim needs.
Van and I need Your wisdom, patience, and peace.
Please help us.

I woke up extra early the next morning. I didn’t know what time Dr. Curtis planned to be at the hospital to see Kim, and I didn’t want to miss him. I grabbed some books, crayons, and paper for Kim and made sure I had paper and pencil for taking notes.
Before I left, I checked on Erin. “Mommy, are you going to see Kim?” she asked. “Is she OK? When will she be home? Can I go with you?”
I took a deep breath and tried to answer around the lump in my throat, “I am going to see Kim right now. She will be OK, but she has to stay in the hospital for a few days. You are going to stay here with Daddy and have apple pancakes. I’ll call soon and let you know if you can come with Daddy to visit Kim.”
“I want her to come home now,” Erin said.
“Me too, but I think it will be a few more days before that’s possible.” I hugged her and kissed Van. I prayed all the way to the hospital.
Dearest Jesus,
I pray Kim’s night in the hospital alone was not traumatic. I know there is a lot of information I need to learn. Please help me remember it all. And help me to be cheerful and patient with Kim and everyone else today.
Amen.

The door to Kim’s room was open. I forced myself to smile and peeked around the corner. Kim was happily engrossed in something. A breakfast tray sat on the bedside table, and she chewed on the end of a pencil.
“Hey, sweet girl, what are you doing?”
“Mommy!” Kim squealed. “I get to pick what I want for lunch and dinner. Look at all the things there are!” Then she remembered why she was in the hospital. She looked at me and frowned. “I do not want any more shots.” she declared. “And the nurse keeps pricking my finger and squeezing it. It hurts,” she complained.
Before I responded, Dr. Curtis came through the door. “How are you doing, Kimberly?” he asked.
Kim repeated her unhappiness to him. He looked over the clipboard before he said anything. “Sorry, Kim,” he responded, “You’ll get used to the shots. Pretty soon, you’ll even give them to yourself.”
“No, I won’t.” Kim insisted.
Dr. Curtis turned his attention to me. “She’s doing well,” Your noticing something was wrong made a difference. We’ve already been able to get her blood sugar within normal range.”
Relief flooded through me. Maybe this won’t be so hard after all.
Wrong.
“However,” he continued, “Juvenile Diabetes is very different than adult onset diabetes. The danger is that her blood sugar will go up and down. Too high or too low are both dangerous. While she’s here, and for the first week at home, she’ll need to have her blood tested every two hours. We’ll look for a pattern and find out how much insulin she needs. Our goal is to only have to give her two shots a day: one before breakfast and one before dinner. That way she won’t need to deal with shots during school.”
He continued talking while he checked Kim. He was patient and gentle even though Kim interrupted him several times: “Why? I don’t want to! It will hurt.”
The rest of the day was a stream of information. I learned about what Kim could and could not eat, how to weigh and measure everything she put it into her mouth, how to prick her finger and get a drop of blood on a minute square of the end of a strip, how to work a blood glucose meter, how to determine how much insulin–two kinds mixed together–to draw into a syringe, and practiced over and over how to use the syringe on an orange. I listened to a nutritionist, an endocrinologist–a doctor who specializes in glands and hormones, including the pancreas which produces insulin–and a social worker.
I learned Kim’s injections needed to be rotated so she wouldn’t develop lumps in any of the injection sites: both upper arms, both calves, both thighs, both sides of her stomach, and both sides of her bottom. I cringed when I heard she would get injections in her stomach. Somehow it sounded more painful.
Van and Erin tip-toed into the room around lunch time and surprised Kim. She was happy for the time being since she was eating the lunch she chose. “Want some of my soda, Erin?” she offered.
Erin nodded her head. She stared at the needle taped into Kim’s arm. “Does that hurt?” she asked.
“It did when they put it in, but now it’s OK,” Kim said.”But it’s really hard to move around. I even have to wheel it into the bathroom.”
“Will you have it forever?”
“Nah. Just while I’m here. But I have to poke my finger and then get a shot. Sometimes in my stomach. Every day. Lots of times. It hurts.” Kim told her sister.
“I brought you a present,” Erin said and held out a wrapped package.
Kim smiled from ear to ear. She ripped the paper off the package and hugged the teddy bear close. “Now Jennifer and I can play with a new friend!” Jennifer was her Snoopy dressed in pink pajamas. Kim never went to sleep without Jennifer. Every single person who came into her room and called “Jennifer” Snoopy, was given an adamant, “Her name is NOT Snoopy; it’s Jennifer!”
While Kim showed Erin how to play with the bed, Van and I stood in the corner talking. We were both ready for a break. We decided to switch places. Van needed to learn how to give shots and hear some of the information I already had. Maybe between the two of us we could keep it all straight.
Van would stay through dinner to hear any new information Dr. Curtis had when he made his late afternoon rounds.
I stopped at the nurse’s station. “Can I could bring Erin with me after dinner so we can all pray together and sing our good night song?”
The nurse smiled, “Certainly, anything we can do to help our young patients feel more secure. You’re a good sister, she added. “I bet you make your sister feel much better.”
For the first time that day, I saw Erin smile.

Thank you for joining me on my journey with God in uncharted water. Please let me know how He is working in your life.