Sunday, April 15, 2018

Quiet Places

Good Sunday evening.

I begin with the weekly health update. On the good news front, the sensor Reagan wore last week lasted the full seven days, & it was so, so accurate the entire time. By accurate, I mean when we did prick her finger & check her number the old fashioned way, the meter reading & the sensor reading were within ten points of each other.

The previous sensors all flopped on me after around four & half days of use. This is (was) irritating for a few reasons. First, if we're ever to run this pump in auto mode, we absolutely must have a working, accurate sensor. If the pump doesn't know what her number is, there is no auto mode. I think we'll venture into auto mode land this summer when Reagan & I will be at the house most of the time (praise the dear Lord in Heaven for that) because I am going to hover, hover, hover until I feel like the pump knows what it's doing in auto mode. The second reason dud sensors are irritating is that the sensors are kind of expensive, so it hurts my head a lot to take one off of her after only five days when it is supposed to give us seven stellar days of blood sugar readings.

I know you're curious, so I'll tell you what I did differently with this last star of a sensor. I did not insert it in her belly even though in all the pictures that accompany the manuals the belly is the spot designated for sensor insertion. After several discussions with diabetics I know as well as some exchanges with diabetics I don't know who belong to Facebook groups of which I am a part, I decided we were going to use the underside of her arm. I also wiped her arm with Skin Tac before inserting the sensor. Skin Tac can be bought either as a wipe or liquid that can be painted on the body. It essentially makes the skin sticky, & this additional adhesive plus using the soft flesh on the underside of her arm did the trick. I realize this is incredibly detailed & dull reading, but it is a personal victory which continues to thrill me.

Between the seasonal pollen & the constant weather changes, Henry & I have been sucking down a lot of Mucinex & sharing the nebulizer since around Wednesday. I know my troubles began Wednesday because Trey texted to inquire about evening church services; I, too tired to text a reply, sent him this:

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I felt certain this one would convey a simple, "No, I am in the bed until the sun next rises." I am just so tired. I was tired Wednesday (obviously), & I am tired as I type. My own coughing interferes with my sleep at times, but until I can get Henry past this most recent round of the drainage/coughing cycle, I will be denied a decent night's sleep. Inevitably he wakes & gets in the bed with me. At this point, I usually get up to check Reagan's number since I am already awake. I then try to go back to sleep, but typically Henry's coughing keeps me awake &/or he moves so much I can't sleep. This actually all worked out well Friday night. Had Henry not kept me awake from around one in the morning until three in the morning, I may not have known we were under a tornado warning. As the whole family slept soundly, I stood & peered out the front windows. I watched the rain roar past the house in sheets & wondered if I should wake anyone. Ultimately it was not necessary to wake them, thankfully, but the loss of a good night's sleep on Friday night, the one night I can truly relax & sleep deeply knowing we have to be absolutely nowhere the next morning, is kind of devastating to me on both a physical & an emotional level. 

Can I tell you something? In the fall of 2016 our whole family fell victim to a horrible stomach virus. Reagan spent one night in the hospital. I brought her home on a Wednesday. She'd been vomit-free for over twenty-four hours at that point, & I decided we were all going to school on Thursday (Henry had been vomit-free for several days; he was Patient Zero). 

At four am that Thursday morning, I woke up, stumbled out of bed, & the virus claimed its fourth & final victim in our house. Needless to say, we didn't make it to school that Thursday. It was one of the worst stomach viruses I can recall, yet I remember that Thursday with some fondness because I spent the entire day in my bed. My mom was at the house all day. If a child needed something, she got it. She brought me popsicles. About two o'clock that afternoon, the nausea subsided, & I was able to lift my head off the pillow & truly enjoy being totally still & having to fetch nothing. 

I have been reading some Laura Ingalls Wilder lately, & I know exactly why. I am so incredibly tired of the insane pace of life. Trey works hard & pays our mortgage every month so that we will eventually own our house, a house I love but spend almost no time in five days of the week. I have thought about homeschooling. Reagan loves school (& I can't do math), so it's not something I see as a serious possibility, but it lingers in my mind. I do wish we would rethink the five-day, eight-hour school week. I know we won't because everybody works full-time, & so the school schedule has to mirror mom & dad's work schedule. Laura Ingalls Wilder would absolutely hate us all. 

I despise having to hurry. I despise being bone-tired. I despise being away from home all the time. I am always hurrying, always tired, & always away from home. I am trying to find ways to change these things. Obviously summer will provide some much-needed temporary relief, but I will not spend the remaining years of my children's youth as I have spent this last year, namely tired & dissatisfied with most aspects of my life & my family's life. 

School & church are about all I can handle, & I am not handling these with much grace lately. People tell me to relax, not to worry about such & such, but that is at times impractical advice, advice meant to coddle me (or shut me up). As an example: I am a member of several Facebook groups set up to foster discussion among & support for diabetics & their caregivers. A week or so ago a post in one of these groups caught my eye. It was a plea for insulin. I didn't respond to the post, but I thought about it all day. I assumed the group's admins would address the post, & one of them eventually did. The rule in most all of these groups is that members cannot use the group to exchange insulin since it is a prescription medication. From what I gathered, the mother of a diabetic had not been rigorous about making sure her child sees an endocrinologist, which a child must do regularly in order for the endocrinologist to continue filling scripts. A group admin addressed the issue, stating that as the parent of a diabetic, you are responsible for seeing to it that your child sees a doctor regularly & ensuring that necessary prescriptions are filled & picked up in a timely fashion regardless of the messiness of your personal life. 

I do the minimum, y'all. I am not a flashy mom or even a flashy human. We don't make most of the birthday parties. I sort of hate crafts, though I try not to stifle the children's creative interests. I don't decorate twenty-five cookies & bring them to the child's class (for a variety of reasons). I don't join committees (at least not willingly). 

I get us to church (most of the time). I get us to school. I make sure they both have a lunch & their clothes are clean. I make sure Reagan has done her homework. I make sure there is insulin & a fresh battery in her pump. I make sure she has her meter with her at all times. I make sure there are meter strips, alcohol wipes, & a sufficient supply of raisins (in case of a low) on her at all times. I know when her next endocrinologist appointment is. I know when I last filled the insulin prescription, & how many days have to lapse before insurance will allow us to fill it again. What in this last paragraph can I let slide? I have not even mentioned one thing pertaining to me or my job.

I don't think I am overly demanding, nor do I think I am nuts. I think expectations for everything are completely out of control, particularly where young people are concerned. Eight-year-old boys are on the ball field at ten o'clock on a school night. Young children & their parents slink out of church to get to a ball game. My five-year-old's school folder is filled with invitations to elaborate birthday parties for his peers, parties that would eat up every moment of our weekend were we to attend, to say nothing of the expectation to bring a gift & stand by & not cringe while my kid consumes cake, ice cream, a Capri Sun, & maybe a bowlful of chips.  

Well, usually when I've circled around to ranting about birthday parties, it is time to quit. I close with this, another gem from Laura Ingalls Wilder. 

I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with birthday parties or ballet lessons or baseball. I do think school & church attendance are enough to fill most any family's schedule, assuming it is also a family goal to spend some time together at home relaxing without the dictates of a schedule. You throw in two working parents, a child with a chronic illness, laundry for four, & a small dog, & there is so little time left after school & church. I truly believe there are people — fully grown adults — who have never become acquainted with themselves because they have spent their entire life surrounded by crowds, engulfed in noise, stumbling from one party to the next, from one ballgame to the next, never for a moment shutting it all out & thinking their own thoughts.  

There are so few quiet places left, it seems. The solace & peace the family once provided for most is being continually encroached upon by seemingly innocuous activities, to say nothing of the destruction selfishness & adultery & divorce cause. In the same way God created sex & Satan twists & perverts it for his purposes, God created the family, & if you think Satan won't use whatever he can to corrupt the family, you are naive. It doesn't have to be alcohol or a mistress or any of the usual suspects; families fall apart or simply fail to serve their intended purpose for a host of reasons, some as simple as mismanagement of time & resources. I just want to raise kids who value quiet places as much or more than they value attending every party & playing every sport & participating in every activity.

In The Screwtape Letters, Screwtape (who, if you recall, is a demon), makes this statement: Music and silence — How I detest them both!

Satan detests silence. When I crave silence, both literally for myself or metaphorically for my family, I don't think this desire is simply attributable to me being an old, crabby woman. God literally tells us to BE STILL. In the noise of everyday life, it is easy to lose ourselves, to misalign our priorities, to misunderstand what might be easily intelligible absent the din of noise. 

A short list of things not mentioned this evening: Paul Ryan's retirement announcement, Henry Cavill finally shaving his awful mustache, or current US foreign policy. So you see, you got off easy with this tribute to Laura Ingalls Wilder.


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