While Kim played outside, I studied the meal planner the nutritionist from the hospital provided. Kim loved to eat. She wouldn’t like the limits diabetes placed on her. Oh, goody, more whining and fussing. Won’t this be fun? I wanted to cry, but focused on my market list instead.
“Kimberly, we have to go get Erin,” I told her. “Wow! You created some beautiful drawings with your chalk,” I added as I crossed the patio to the garage.
“Can I stay home while you get Erin and keep drawing?” Kim implored.
I gave her my best teacher look. “Absolutely not. You are not old enough to stay here by yourself; you know that.”
“But nothing. Not only are you not old enough, I am not leaving you alone. What if you have a reaction to the insulin? No one would be here to help you.”
“I hate diabetes.” Kim declared.
“Me too,” I agreed. “Now, quit arguing and get in the car so we can get to school on time and get your sister.”
Erin bubbled with excitement over the fun things her third day of school involved and showed off her story. “I wrote about Kim in the hospital. Mrs. Chavez let me read it to the whole class!”
“Read it to us,” I said,
“My sister, Kim, was in the hospital. She has diabetes. She has to have shots every day and it hurts. I went to see her and we made puppets and had a puppet show for Mommy and Daddy. I love my sister and wish she didn’t need shots.”
“That was a beautiful story, Erin,” I remarked. “Let’s stop at the store and get some treats for your after school snack and for dessert tonight.”
I bought apples and oranges, sugar free popsicles, sugar free Jell-o and pudding. When we got home, the girls ate their popsicles and Erin joined Kim to add to the colorful patio art. I made some pudding and some Jell-O. Before I knew it, the doorbell rang. I looked at the clock, surprised to see it was time for Mrs. Swanson’s visit.
“Hi,” I welcomed the home hospital nurse. “Kim and Erin are playing outside. Will you check over my menu plan for the week and make sure it’s OK before we call Kim inside?”
We sat down side by side, and she nodded as she read my plan. “This is good. How was Kim’s blood sugar today?”
I showed her the chart I kept and she smiled, “You are doing well. Let’s see how you do with her evening shot.”
Good thing you didn’t see my before lunch test episode, I thought.
I called Kim, but she ignored me. Only the knowledge that Mrs. Swanson watched kept me from yelling with irritation. Instead I walked out to the patio, knelt in front of Kim, and hissed, “Get in the house immediately. Sit down, say hello, and cooperate. You HAVE to do this, so get used to it.”
Kim followed my directions, but whined and fussed through the blood test and shot. I did my best to ignore her while I concentrated on what I had to do. Finished, I told Kim, “You can play outside for five more minutes; then it will be clean-up time so you can wash up before dinner.”
Mrs. Swanson’s next words surprised me, “You and your husband seem to be fine with all of your new responsibilities.
Yeah, right. I thought. This is not fine. There is not one single thing fine about it.
“I thought it would be best if tonight was my last visit…”
“What?” I asked incredulously. “You really think we can do this alone? I thought we had three more days of your help.”
“You do,” Mrs. Swanson assured me. “The advantage to my not coming now is you can call and have me help you the first time Kim gets a cold or the flu. Sickness changes how much insulin and how often she needs it. I thought I could help walk you through that.”
I managed to keep my overwhelming desire to cry under control. “Our pediatrician does have me call him every morning. And Kim has an appointment with him tomorrow afternoon, so for now, I’ll say OK. But if Dr. Curtis thinks you should be here, can I call you?”
“Of course. But I really do think you’ll be fine.”
I walked her to the door, thanked her for all her help, and called Kim and Erin in to wash their hands before dinner.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur. Why? How? Help. I can’t. clouded my every thought. I forced myself to be more patient for the last blood test before Kim went to bed.
But as soon as both girls were prayed with, sung to, and tucked in for the night, I let loose and cried. Van held me and I soaked the front of his shirt. While I sobbed, I prayed: Oh, God, I know You are in charge. I know I can trust You. But this is all so hard for me. It’s like living in the fog, and I’m afraid I’ll go over an unseen cliff. The constant battling with Kim makes me want to scream. Please, God, give me patience and kindness and peace. Because all I have now is fear and worry and annoyance. In Jesus Name. Amen.