Sunday, December 9, 2007

Anniversaries


Anniversaries have a funny way of sneaking up on you. I'm not talking about those special times that we try to remember like wedding anniversaries or the anniversary of the first time you tasted chocolate, rather, I'm referring to anniversaries of times that you'd prefer to forget. That is what happened this weekend.

One of the joys of packing so many people into one household is that we have more opportunity to share communicable diseases like the common cold, flu, and other seasonal ailments. Ethan was the latest victim and he spent most of Saturday morning on the couch after throwing up a few times. Poor guy just felt lousy. Amelia and I, veterans of the selfsame bug that seemed to be attacking our son, had plenty of sympathy, but as it was a virus, there was not a lot we could do except treat the symptoms. Ethan has the added complication of being a juvenile diabetic, which means that in addition to being nauseous and having an upset tummy, he also had a liver trying to dump excess sugar into his system and a compromised manner of dealing with that extra sugar. It is hard to say whether his diabetes helped him get sicker or his illness threw his diabetes into a tailspin, but the end result was that we couldn't get his blood sugars under control and he was slipping into DKA. We ended up taking him to the ER and after about 4 hours there, we were admitted so that the Dr.s could closely monitor his blood glucose and give him intravenous fluids which would get rid of his ketones, over time.

Now, to the anniversary part: rewind almost exactly three years ago, Ethan was 18 months old and had been sick for about a week and we'd been to the Dr. several times that week and couldn't understand why he was so bad off. One week before Christmas, Ethan was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when we had a friend, and ER doctor, help us confirm what was going on with Ethan. He was taken by helicopter to the OU Children's Center in OKC and spent a few days in the Pediatric Intensive Care unit while the experts helped him come out of DKA. That was the beginning of our education about Type I Diabetes.

We learned that simple things like colds and flu type illnesses that most people shake off in a few days can rapidly throw a diabetic child into DKA, but this was the first time for it to get this bad. On the one hand, we're very thankful that in three years, this is the first time that Ethan has been hospitalized at all. We've been very diligent about caring for Ethan, and we've been very blessed. At any rate, this weekend has been stressful not only on our little guy, but also on our family. Amelia's grandfather is in hospice and will soon pass into his reward. A bittersweet time for any family. Her parents have been occupied trying to be there for comfort of family and to organize the efforts of the family as they gather during these final days. It is the end of the school semester for me and I've been finishing up papers and projects. Eleanor has been potty training (with limited success).... there has just been a lot going on before throwing this hospital stay in the mix.... it should be no surprise that I've been a bit emotional this weekend.

Intellectually, I know that everything is going to be alright, both with Ethan's health and our life stress, but emotionally, the last time this type of event occurred, our lives were thrown into turmoil and all I can seem to do is fret and worry. However, I do want to throw in here, God is still good and has abundantly blessed us. Just like last time, people have bent over backwards to help us and completely take care of my family. God has placed us, surrounded us, blessed us with a rich pool of family and friend from which to draw strength and comfort. The church family at Minter Lane, in general, was a great comfort to us with their care and concern. The Teel family, specifically, has somehow formed some close bonds with us and (not for the first or last time) has stepped forward to exhibit the tangible love of Christ to us with their concern and hospitality. The Matt & Heather Dodd family have repeatedly been there for us when we needed them and this weekend was no exception. Martha Tucker, Patsy, my Mom and Dad, Amelia's co-workers, the Myricks.... people from our circle of friends and family... I'm just overwhelmed at God's provision. My role as a chaplain at Hendrick was reversed a bit as I experienced the flip side of the work at the hospital. Instead of being a comforter, the staff showed to me personally what I see them provide to Abilenians every week.

Maybe I don't really want to forget these anniversaries after all. When I can put on the glasses that God gives me to see his presence in my life, these crises don't seem all that bad. God is good. I am blessed. Come Lord, Jesus, heal my son. Increase my faith and help me trust you more. Oh, and thank you for my friends and family.

I won't forget these important anniversaries, but I wish they wouldn't sneak up on me...


-jde

2 comments:

Jess said...

Jeff,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. And your right it is glorious to see Gods work in our lives. We will be praying for you guys but especailly Ethan. I have been learning about diabetes and in particular about DKA and I understand how hard it must be for you guys. We are sending lots of prayers and love your way, kiss Ethan for us too.
Love, Jess, Eric,Corbin,and Ri

Anonymous said...

Dear Ones to our Heart,
So sorry to hear about your weekend and about Ethan Jeffrey. You know he has my heart. I wish I could be there to help you like I was able to while you were in Enid. Thankful maybe the worst is over. Thanks for the update. Hopefully we will see you over Christmas. Take care of each other as I know you do.
Loving you all in Him,
Grammy