All night my alarm woke me every two hours. I stumbled out of bed, shut our door softly, and walked silently down the hall to the corner bathroom between Kim and Erin’s rooms. Both of Erin’s doors—the one in the hallway and the one to the bathroom—I kept closed. I didn’t want Kim’s crying to disturb anyone else’s sleep.
Once I turned on the bathroom light, I gently shook Kim awake and whispered, “I have to check your blood sugar, sweetie. Give me your hand.”
“No, Mommy.” Kim whined and the tears started. Every time.
Part of me empathized, and I longed to take this burden from my little girl. I wished I could trade places with her.
But another part of me—the don’t whine, deal with it, always do your best, don’t be a cry baby part—wanted to lecture and scold and grab her hand and just get the chore done as quickly as possible. These middle of the night blood tests didn’t have to include a shot; they were precautionary, intended to make sure her blood sugar was in the normal range. Action only happened if there was a problem.
The empathy won. I sat on the edge of Kim’s bed, held her close, kissed her forehead, and prayed, “Dear Jesus. Please help Kim to not worry so much about having her finger pricked. Please let her blood sugar be OK so she won’t need a shot. Amen.”
Every test that night was fine. As soon as she knew she was safe, Kim relaxed, grabbed Jennifer, and snuggled back under the covers.
Thank you, God sang my heart. I stroked Kim’s hair for a moment before I silently walked back to my own room and crawled under the covers.
Always a morning person, my alarm normally woke me at 5:00 so I had an hour to shower and do devotions in peace and quiet. This first morning Kim was home I stayed up after her 4:00 test. I wanted to be ready when the nurse came back at 6:30. And I wanted extra time to pray for Kim as well as my own attitude and fear.
Since Kim wasn’t going to school today, I let her come downstairs in her pajamas and slippers when Mrs. Swanson, the home care nurse, arrived. Please God, calm Kim. No more crying, I pleaded.
Kim cried and fussed while I nervously reviewed what to do with Mrs. Swanson. She watched carefully. This time Kim’s blood sugar was lower than it should be. “First get her a glass of apple juice. Then give her a normal dose of insulin,” she advised.
While I poured Kim’s juice she asked Mrs. Swanson, “Why do I have to have a shot if my blood sugar is low? I didn’t have to have a shot all night.”
“That’s because you were sleeping. Now you are ready to start your day. You’ll eat breakfast and lunch so you need the insulin to work so your blood sugar stays fine and you get all the nutrition you need to grow.”
Kim gulped the juice. I prepared the syringe and through the crying, gave Kim her shot. Just like the night before, Mrs. Swanson told me I did well and I walked her to the door.
I ran up the stairs to wake up Erin and make sure she started getting ready for school. I heard the shower, so I knew Van was up too. I made the bed quickly and ran downstairs to start breakfast.
We all sat down to breakfast, said grace, and shared what we expected for the day.
The phone rang at 7:05. I picked up the receiver and said, “Hello?”
Dr. Curtis’ voice surprised me, “Why didn’t you call me this morning?” he asked. “I want you to call every morning at 7:00.”
“I thought that meant after the home hospital nurse stopped coming,” I explained.
“No, I want you to call every morning, no matter what,” he replied.
“OK.” I gave him an update on the night before and this morning.
“Perfect,” he responded. “Are you keeping track of her blood sugar every time you test it?”
“Good. Call the office this morning and set up an appointment for tomorrow or Friday so I can see Kim and check her progress. In the mean time, don’t forget to call me tomorrow morning, or any time you have a question or problem.”
“I will, thank you.” I turned back to the table. “That was Dr. Curtis. He wanted to see how you were doing, Kim.”
Van did the dishes while I supervised Erin get ready for school. Just like every morning, the house bustled with activity as we all tried to get ready to leave on time. Not having to nag Kim to hurry, to stop playing, to get dressed made this morning easier.
After we took Erin to school and were home again I asked Kim to get dressed while I started laundry.
“Why?”she complained. “I want to stay in my pajamas and watch TV and color like I did in the hospital.”
“You can do that, but I thought we’d go to Toys R Us and get some Play-doh and sidewalk chalk so you could do that today too.”
Kim threw her arms around me and flew upstairs to get dressed. The first load of laundry in the washer, I heard Kim tramp downstairs.
“That was fast. Did you make your bed?” I asked.
“I’m sick. I thought I didn’t have to do that.”
“Kimberly Joy Putman,” I admonished, “you are not sick like when you don’t feel well. If you want to go to the store and play with Play-doh, you have to make your bed.”
Kim sighed, “OK,” and trudged back up the stairs.
With our shopping completed, Kim was ready for lunch. “Can we go to McDonald’s?” she asked.
Not today. I’m not sure how much you can eat there. I didn’t bring my book that helps me.”
Kim sulked all the way home.
Her attitude ate away at my patience. “If you don’t stop whining, complaining, and nagging, you will take a nap after lunch and there will be no play doh or sidewalk chalk today, young lady.”
“Can we have tuna then?” Kim asked a minute later.
“Tuna sounds great,” I agreed. “Do you want to try pricking your own finger before lunch?”
Kim answered with a glare that could have melted a glacier. I sighed and grabbed her hand. Without a word, not even a prayer, I pricked her thumb, squeezed, and popped the strip into the machine.
Kim howled.
My response was sharp, “Stop it. You have to get used to this, and making a fuss every time isn’t helping. Your blood sugar was fine, so you don’t need a shot. Come sit down and eat your lunch.”
After lunch, I sent Kim out to the patio to decorate it with her chalk. I made an appointment to see Dr. Curtis the next day and called the school to see if I could meet Kim’s teacher before she started school on Monday.
All afternoon I stewed about what to do about Kim and her fear. I knew my attitude that afternoon hadn’t helped, but I didn’t think I could take much more of this constant battle.
And this was only my first full day at home with Kim. It was not off to a good start.


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