Friday, October 31, 2008

Nursing Home Visits

Today I went to visit the saints in one of the nursing homes in Town. I sat to visit with one of my favorite couples. She asked me if I had a copy of the Koran. I told her I didn't, and she handed me one they'd found when they were doing some more sorting and clearing out at their home earlier this week. It belonged to her father-in-law. I expressed surprise, and she explained that he was intellectually curious and collected all kinds of books. I turned to her husband, who is always reading, and said, "So, you come by it naturally."
He grinned, and then asked me if he had ever told me about his father, H, going to Utah to evangelize the Mormons. About 1902 H and a friend had gone out to Utah by covered wagon (they thought that would make them more acceptable to the Mormons). They did a lot of speaking, drew large crowds, and converted no one. I pointed out that at least they didn't become Mormon. Years later, D and C took their sons out and retraced H's journey.
I love these stories. H was also a leader in the church, which was unusual, because he was English. He was the first one to write the minutes in English. I enjoy hearing these stories, and learning more about the saints here. These glimpses into their history are great gifts.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Drama Update and Daughter's Progress

The other night I wrote about the triangles at the workshop, and how B and D are now dating. Well, Tuesday night D gave B an engagement ring, and they plan to marry ASAP. Daughter finished her conversation with them and turned to me and said, "Thank you for teaching me to wait at least a year."

Daughter is working at distancing herself from the drama at the workshop. The other day she called me sobbing, and wanted me to come get her because she couldn't stay. I was in town, so I told her I would come and get her, but first we would sit down and talk to her Case Manager, because we needed to figure out a way that she could stay all day at the workshop. As I pulled into the workshop parking lot, she called again and told me not to come, this was something she needed to take care of herself.

When she got home, she explained that she had gotten angry at the way some of the clients were picking on two of the more unique individuals there. I know them both. One is autistic, tends to obsess, and has a great deal of difficulty with personal boundaries. The other has a foul mouth and is prone to outbursts over nothing. Both have annoyed Daughter greatly in the past. Case Manager told Daughter she was proud of her for standing up for these two. Daughter has now asked to have both of them over to hang out. One is the foster son of my secretary, who does therapeutic foster care, so we're going to arrange for them to spend some time together. As Secretary says, she doesn't worry about J touching Daughter inappropriately, because Daughter will call him on it immediately (or slug him).

Daughter acknowledged that she recognizes the situation with her other friends is not healthy, so she's working at connecting with different people at the workshop. I'm proud of her. While these new friends have their own challenges, I doubt there will be the sexual acting out and drama that has gone on with the old ones. For one things, both of these individuals live with parents who supervise them closely.

Daughter is still very anxious. She is sleeping on the floor of my bedroom so she can feel safe. She acknowledges the floor isn't very comfortable, but says she needs to be close to me at night right now. I hope she talked to Therapist about her anxiety today, but she wouldn't say anything beyond acknowledging that Therapist had come to the workshop to see her. I've found that if I offer suggestions and then give her time to make her own decisions, she usually will eventually recognize the wisdom of what I've said and follow it. If the anxiety doesn't lessen as she stops having the low blood sugars, we'll talk to Psychiatrist about it when she sees her on November 17.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Diabetes Doctor

Today we made the 50 mile journey to see the new diabetes doctor. Daughter and I both liked Dr. K. He made some major changes in the way we handle her meal time insulin, which makes much more sense and is more in line with what I've been reading elsewhere. He ordered some bloodwork. His first question, which is a good one and has never really been answered, is whether Daughter has type 1 or type 2. We've been treating her as a type 1, but there are some aspects of her response that are not typical type 1. The distinction is important, as if she is type 1, her autoimmune system has attacked the islet cells in her pancreas that make insulin. If she's type 2, it has more to do with obesity and being resistant to the insulin her body is making.
We go back on December 1. He is willing to talk about the insulin pump, but not right away, and would want an assurance from her psychiatrist that it would be safe to put her on one. He also asked questions about her medications-- her antipsychotic can increase her need for insulin. I'm cautiously optimistic. I just wish he weren't 50 miles from here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

On Being a Target

This afternoon I went to the nursing home to visit one of the saints. He had surgery almost 5 months ago, and something went wrong. He has neurological problems as a result, and they have had a difficult time getting answers. Yesterday they went to see a new doctor, hoping that he would be willing to do a procedure that might help. This poor man has had days when he couldn't speak, days when he was totally confused, and days when he was in pretty good shape. Today when I saw him, he knew me, and seemed pretty coherent.
He confirmed that they'd seen the doctor yesterday, and that they were going to do the surgery. Then he started in talking about the conspiracy. He is convinced that his wife is trying to get rid of him so she can have everything to herself. All the women are in on the conspiracy, including me. There was no reasoning with him.
As soon as I walked out the door, I started trying to reach his wife. I reached her the second time I called. She was home, and I could stop by. Today was their 63rd anniversary, and as I had anticipated, his attitude towards her had hurt deeply. This woman has amazed me with her strength. Since he has been sick, she has followed through on their plans to move into a smaller place in town and have an auction to sell their household goods. She has handled the move and the sale with the help of their children, and the entire time has been visiting him daily and continuing to pursue other medical options for him.
Early on she told me she felt like half of her brain was missing, because they'd always made all their decisions together. Now she's handling everything on her own. Now he's finally able to carry on a conversation, and he's attacking her and accusing her of terrible things. She knows that he doesn't mean it. She knows that she's just a convenient target for all his anger and frustration. He was supposed to be home and on his feet within 2 weeks of the initial surgery, and it's been 5 months! She knows it's not about her, but about what he's been through. She knows all of this, and it still hurts.
I understand. As the parent of a child who was deeply wounded by her birth family, I know what it is like to be the target. I know what it is like to have hateful words thrown at me. I know intellectually that she doesn't really mean it, and it still hurts. I've learned not to pay attention to the content of her rants, and I'm still exhausted at the end of them.
I told this wife/target that I know how much it hurts, and that unless you've been targeted, you can't understand what it's like. She quickly agreed. I told her I thought that she had made the right decision to go forward with the upcoming surgery. I assured her that I would be praying that God would bring healing through this surgery. I put the date of the surgery on my Pearl, and assured her I would be there with her. I assured her of God's presence with them both through this ordeal, and acknowledged that we couldn't understand the why of it all. I told her it was okay to say to her husband when he became abusive, "I'm sorry you feel that way. I love you. I'll see you tomorrow." I told her she could then leave, she didn't need to stay and take the verbal abuse. She was grateful for my visit.
I left feeling so inadequate. The very people who pour our lives into seeking healing for a hurting individual too often become the target of the individual's pain and anger. It's not right. It hurts. Then I remind myself that it reflects a little of what Jesus did on the cross. I am grateful for the opportunity to understand a little bit more of God's great love for us, and hope and pray that my life will reflect some of that love.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Daughter came home today and asked if she could watch an episode of Degrassi on the DVR. The rule is her bedroom has to be clean before she can watch TV. She managed to trash it again this weekend, and I was foolish and opened her closet door, and once again clean clothes were strewn all over the floor. I told her that she needed to take care of that first.
That led, of course, to a rage. I don't even remember the content of her rantings. I've learned to tune them out. She came into the kitchen while I was fixing supper, and handed me a written apology. She was upset because of something that happened at the workshop today, and she was wrong to take it out on me. It was all J's fault. I pointed out, again, that she chooses how to respond to these things, and the rage was her responsibility.
So here's the latest on the soap opera at the workshop. B, Daughter's best friend, had been dating J, whose parents once accused Daughter of phone harrassment (until I produced the phone records that showed he was making the majority of the phone calls). D, who Daughter once dated, has been a part of this interesting triangle with J and B. B once spent the weekend at J's house while his parents were away camping-- and his mother has told J he can't see B at all-- let alone have her over for the weekend.
Anyway, last week B broke up with J so she could get together with D (and they're now making wedding plans). B had to break up with J because J was going behind his mother's back. Yes, Daughter bought this, until I pointed out that hadn't been a problem 3 months ago when she spent the weekend at his house.... J is trying to pull Daughter into this mess. He's telling her not so nice things about B and D.
As I fixed supper, we talked about what was going on, and who had made poor choices. I thought she was seeing B and D's responsibility in all of this. After supper I called Daughter, and she was on the phone with B and D. B and D both have histories of failing to return of even answer Daughter's phone calls. I guess since J is out of the triangle they are trying to pull Daughter in. So, we had another long conversation with many tears about whether or not they are good friends or friends who can be trusted.
The big problem is that there aren't a lot of alternatives. There aren't that many high functioning clients at the workshop. Daughter wants to go live with family. She wants out of here. She wants a job in the community. I pointed out that she needs to work on the job skills we've been discussing at the workshop if she wants a job in the community. We had a long talk, and now she is going to camp out in my bedroom tonight. Poor Daughter. I told her she has to go to the workshop tomorrow, but Wednesday she'll be home with me to help with the senior luncheon and go see the new endo.

Dad's Ongoing Problems

I call my Dad several times a week. He's always grateful for the call. I fill him in on little things going on around here (he loves to talk about the weather), and check to make sure he's doing okay. I often ask about his weight, as we are always concerned about the possibility of him going back into congestive heart failure. Last week he acknowledged that he'd gained a bit of weight, but assured me he wasn't retaining fluid, because his ankles were skinny. I reminded him that the last time he went into the hospital (with 60 extra lbs of fluid), his ankles were skinny. He was silent.
The next day he told me he was definitely retaining fluids, and he was sure that it was caused by the medication he was taking to reduce his potassium level. My brother took him to his regularly scheduled doctor's appointment, and he'd gained 25 lbs. Brother said the doctor chewed Dad out and put him back on the heavy duty diuretic (that caused him to become dehydrated and caused his last hospitalization) for a few days.
Yesterday morning Dad called Brother. There was blood on his underwear from a sore on his butt that he hadn't known about, and thought maybe he should have it seen. (He has diabetic neuropathy, so is often unaware of these kinds of things-- that's how he ended up having a toe amputated last spring.) So, Brother picked him up and took him to the ER. Apparently it is an old, healing bedsore that he didn't know he had. It's probably dates back to his time in the nursing home last spring. Sister is taking a half day tomorrow so she can take him back to his doctor to have it looked at.
He has a visiting nurse coming in. Sister is going to ask that the nurse dress and monitor the sore. I suggested that the nurse should also be monitoring his weight and lungs. I talked to Dad a few minutes ago, and he's spending lots of time in the bathroom and not doing much walking because he's short of breath from the congestive heart failure. We're not sure how much longer he'll be able to stay in his independent living apartment.
Mom is doing better. The Nurse Practitioner we dumped had been taking her off lots of her meds, including her anti-depressant. As a result, she became depressed. She spent much of her time crying and refused to interact with her company. We expressed concern, and the new Nurse Practitioner put her on an anti-depressant. She's no longer crying, and is happy and laughing. Dad had gotten to the point he hated to go visit her, so he is greatly relieved by her improvement. Of course, with the powerful diuretic, he hasn't been to see her in a couple of days because he's spending so much time in the bathroom.
Daughter has an appointment with her neurologist in a couple of weeks. We'll be within an hour of them, so we may make a quick trip up to see them. Lately it seems like we only go if one of them is in the hospital. This year, that has meant we've been there multiple times. It is hard, trying to be helpful from a distance. I'm grateful Brother and Sister live closer to them. Unfortunately, Brother is traveling much of the time, and Sister has her hands full as the single parent of a 3 year old and a first grade teacher.
I'd love to move closer so I could do more, but God has yet to provide the opportunity for that to happen. In God's time. Frustratingly, God's time is not our time. I keep reminding myself that God is never late.
Apparently this is one of those days blogger isn't going to let me put lines between paragraphs-- my apologies to all who struggle through to the end.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Home and Exhausted

I didn't sleep well last night-- it was 72 in our room even though I kept turning the thermostat down. At home, I keep the thermostat at 60.
Daughter came in 5th (last) in her division. She was delighted with her ribbon and had a great time. Her blood sugars were running high today-- probably from adrenaline. By the time we got home, her blood sugar was back in range. She's downstairs fixing supper for us, I'm sitting in recliner with my feet up.
I think everyone had a good time. The athletes were so excited-- they all wore their medals and ribbons into the buffet we went to for lunch. A number of them came up to me to show me their medals and tell me how well they had done. I've been present at enough events now that they know me as Daughter's mom. I collected lots of hugs today. It's so wonderful to see these people experience success at something and do some of the things the rest of us take for granted. I love Special Olympics. She still has several more local bowling dates, and then the area bowling tournament will be in January. As soon as I know the date, I'll set up for her respite provider to take her (it's usually on a Sunday morning, and I'm not going to take a Sunday off for the area tournament).
I'm going to go to bed early tonight, and snuggle in under my blankets and comforter. Mondays are my day off, and I looked at my calendar today and was delighted to discover I don't have anything scheduled for tomorrow. I want to get some work done here around the house, but I'm not going to push myself too hard.

Not One of My Better Days

I think it would be safe to say that I wasn’t real with it on Saturday. I got up at a reasonable time and headed downstairs. I grabbed my pills and took them with some milk. Only problem was, they weren’t my pills, they were Daughter’s. She’s on some pretty heavy duty stuff—an antipsychotic and a medication to prevent seizures. I ended up very tired and light-headed. I tried to use cortisone cream to brush my teeth (it doesn’t taste very good). I went back to bed in the morning, but in the afternoon we had to go to the workshop to join up with the people going to the Special Olympics. I slept on the bus. At supper time I had iced tea, which revived me some.

Hopefully I will still be able to sleep tonight. There is wireless here at the hotel, but it’s not free, and it won’t take my credit card. If I can’t get it to work, I may need to wait and post this tomorrow after we get home.

Daughter had a low on the bus on the way here. She ate spaghetti for supper, and I cut the insulin from what I thought she’d need. She’s still threatening to go low, though, so I guess that didn’t work so well. Even with all of this, it’s good to be away, even if it is just for the night.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

High School Musical

Like all the preteen girls, Daughter wanted to see High School Musical on opening night. I agreed to take her, provided she finish her chores. She did, so we went. The theater in Town is seldom very busy. We get there a few minutes before the show, find a parking place up close, grab tickets, snacks and go in and find great seats.

Not last night. They had it scheduled to show in the biggest of their 5 theaters. Generally, all their movies start at the same time, which makes it nice for parents who want the kids to go to one movie while they go to something else. Daughter and Boyfriend went to see Batman while I went to see Mama Mia several months ago. Last night, I had decided I go to see HSM, though I had agreed I'd letter Daughter sit with the friends she was meeting while I sat elsewhere.

We got there and the parking lot was full. There was a line into the parking lot. People were parking on the grass over by the old drive-in theater next door (the screen was destroyed by a tornado several years back, and hasn't been rebuilt. They'd cancelled the 7:00 showing of Sex Drive so they could show HSM in two theaters. Saw V was also opening, so there were lots of teenage boys in addition to the preteen girls. The boy in front of me was too young to see an R rated movie, so the theater owner was calling the boy's father about whether he could go in and see it.

We got tickets, but I refused to wait in lines for snacks. I sent Daughter to the drinking fountain to get water to take her pills. We were in the add on theater, so while there were lots of people, it wasn't sold-out. Daughter found her friends and I found my seat.

The movie? It was okay. The musical productions rivaled things we hadn't seen since the old Fred Astaire movies. The movie was late starting, so it was late getting out. When we exited a little after 9:00, the lobby was packed with people waiting to get into the 9:00 showing of their movies. I suspect it's been a long time since Town saw an opening night quite like that.

One advantage of it opening in the theater was that Daughter could only see it once this weekend. When HSM2 came out, I think she watched it 4-5 times that first weekend. I'm sure that once it appears on the Disney channel she'll watch this one all the time, too.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Last Class

Well, this evening I went to my final class on Office Access. Our respite provider fell while she was here Tuesday, badly bruising her knees. She's off work for a week, which meant she couldn't come tonight. The agency offered to send someone else, but I had to check with Daughter first. I offered her a choice: go to class with me or stay with someone she didn't know. She wanted a respite provider. Of course, they couldn't find one.
I took Daughter with me. I wasn't going to miss the last class. I let her take my laptop, and with her earphones she watched a DVD. She was very cooperative. I'm glad I took this class. I learned how to use some software that is going to be tremendously useful in the office. I made a new friend. I discovered I can still learn, and I can sit in a class in the evening for 2 1/2 hours. I discovered I can have a life apart from my Daughter. I hope that Daughter discovered that she doesn't need me here with her every evening.
I'm going to check out what else they're offering at the career center. I will be taking another class. I haven't decided if it will be a computer class, or basket weaving. They offer one night classes that enable you to complete specific baskets during the class. That might be fun.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Shadow

Sometimes it feels like diabetes is a shadow that hangs over everything we do. Monday Daughter called me from the bus. "Mom, I have a problem. I can tell my blood sugar is dropping."
"What is your blood sugar?"
"I can't check. The batteries on my meter are dead."
Now the batteries on her meter last a couple of years, so it's not something we think about very often. My mind immediately began to work on all angles of the problem: Did we have any AAA batteries in the house? It would be at least 30 minutes before the bus dropped her off, should I hop in the car and try to meet them someplace? If I were to pick her up, would that feed into the perception that diabetes is exceedingly dangerous and prevents her from leading a normal life? If I didn't pick her up, and she dropped further, would the workshop point to that as proof that I was an unconcerned parent who didn't take Daughter's health needs seriously enough? Were the bus aide and driver going to be able to stay calm?
"What was your blood sugar before you got on the bus?" I spoke calmly, seeking to gather more information.
"It was 113, and I ate some crackers."
"All right. I want you to eat another package of crackers and that should hold your blood sugar until you get home. You'll be fine."
When she arrived home, her blood sugar was 99. She'd been right, she was dropping. She'd eaten 30 grams of carb in the form of peanut butter crackers, and her blood sugar was still lower than it had been 90 minutes earlier. I had dug through the drawer on the TV cabinet and the electronics drawer, and had managed to find a couple of AAA batteries. I'm going to buy some more, and I will have her carry a package in her kit. Two years from now, she'll be prepared and can replace her batteries wherever she is when they fail.
The reality of our lives is that diabetes is always hanging over our head, like a shadow. There is always the concern that she will be someplace and won't have whatever it is she needs to handle a problem that comes up. Her kit is always supposed to be stocked with her meter, lancet, extra test strips, glucose tabs, emergency crackers, alcohol preps, an insulin pen, and pen needles. Occasionally, though, when things have been going smoothly, we relax. Then something happens to remind us that diabetes is always there, shadowing and impacting everything we do. I have worked hard to make as much of her care as possible her responsibility. She is responsible for keeping her kit supplied. That means that sometimes we've been out and she's had to wait to eat until we get home, because she's run out of test strips. I provide the supplies she needs, I do most of the calculations of carbs and insulin, but it is her disease. There is never a break.
Since Monday's low, her blood sugars have been running in range. The last two mornings her blood sugar has been 125, the best we've seen in a long time. I begin to wonder if maybe the reductions I've made in her insulin are working, and she's going to be stable for a while. I hope. But even when things are going well, even when we aren't fighting lows, she's testing and taking shots at least 5 times a day. Even when things are going well, I'm calculating the nutrition value of every bite she puts in her mouth (well, at least the ones I know about). Even when things are going well, the shadow is still there.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

An Accomplishment

Daughter always has big ideas about crafts and projects she is going to do. She has a very poor record on following through and completing her projects. She always wants to make gifts for the family at Christmas, and I usually end up doing the bulk of the work. This year I decided to try one more time. I was ordering some things for the church, and needed a few more things to get free shipping. I found some Christmas pillow craft kits. They looked simple-- no sewing involved. They looked like something Daughter could do on her own. I ordered some (either I'm a slow learner or an incurable optimist).
A couple of weeks ago they arrived. I pulled one out of the box and showed Daughter how to do it. Daughter sat and worked with it a bit, and declared she couldn't do it. Saturday she wanted to buy some more craft material. I asked how many unfinished crafts she had. She acknowledged there were a few. I suggested she complete something before she asked for more craft material. Sunday she announced she was going to do six pillows while I was in a meeting. I suggested she aim for one, and explained that I feared she would find six too overwhelming and quit. She agreed. She didn't do anything.
Today she came home from the workshop and proudly showed me two completed pillows. I was amazed. They didn't have any work today, so she sat and tied pillows. She did a good job. She was so excited and proud of herself. I have to admit, I was impressed. I needed some good news. She's put two more kits in her bag to take to work tomorrow.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ditching the Glucose Tabs

Today we had an opportunity to see if other forms of glucose are more effective in treating Daughter's lows. She'd done well through the week. She had a slight low Thursday morning, but that was the only one she'd had. Her blood sugars had run a little higher than we like, but I wasn't complaining. So today we went to the fsetival in Town. We were standing in line for the famous sandwiches that Tiny Village's service club serves at various events. Daughter thought she was low. She she checked. Her blood sugar was 55 (we treat anything below 70). So, I dutifully pulled out the liquid glucose I bought since she'd "worn out" glucose tabs. When she'd rechecked, she'd dropped to 51. Sigh. I gave her glucose gel. She gagged and struggled and managed to eat about 70% of it. After her sandwich, she was up to 69.

Obviously the liquid glucose was not the miracle. The gel might have been a little more effective, but it's hard to say since it was the second treatment. But even it it is more effective, Daughter wasn't able to finish a full treatment, and I don't think it's fair to ask her to use something that she has to choke down.
She didn't take any insulin for her sandwich, and I had her take some after we had some apple cobbler. We wanted apple dumplings, but the YWCA had run out of them. The weather was beautiful today, so the crowd was huge. We waited in line for over 20 minutes to get our sandwiches.
We went to Walmart after the festival. I bought some more glucose tabs for Daughter. I've decided that since one treatment didn't work with our new, more expensive forms of glucose, I'm going back to the cheap, compact, easily portable version.
We got the results of her blood work in the mail today. Her cholesterol was up a little bit, but the rest was pretty good. We'll take it with us when we go see the new endocrinologist on the 29th.

Enjoying Time with Seniors

Yesterday was another wonderful day. I've written before about how much I enjoy my time with our youth, and yesterday I got to spend time with another age group I enjoy. I went to the nursing home and spent time with some of our seniors. An elder and I took communion to the five saints who live at one of the nursing homes in Town. We had an opportunity to just sit around and visit. All of these folks are over 85 years old. One had questions about things he had heard a minister say on TV, so he quizzed me and challenged me, and I loved it. He kept apologizing, and I kept telling him how much I enjoyed these discussions, and how it stretched me and helped me grow. I'm not sure he really believed me. He and I regularly disagree, as he thinks he's a "waste of space," and I see him as a "source of wisdom."

Daughter made it through the day without calling me, which was nice. Her blood sugars still don't make sense to me, but at least she didn't have any lows yesterday. It's 10:00, and she just stumbled out of bed, wanting to know today's schedule. She's gone down to eat breakfast, and then I'm going to wash her hair. After we do some work around the house, I told her we could go to a festival in town. She liked that idea.

I still have some work to do for tomorrow, but it's a sunny, cool fall day, and I think we need to get outside and enjoy the weather. I'm looking forward to wearing a sweatshirt today. Maybe I'll pull out the one for the university most of my neighbors hate. It's always fun to go against the flow.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mommy Time

Daughter's first call came about 11:30 this morning. Her blood sugar had dropped a little, and she was concerned because there was someone different handling meds today, and she didn't think she would take good care of her. I assured her that she'd be fine, and that she had the same instructions to follow as all the other staff.
The second call came at 12:30. Daughter was in tears. She couldn't tell me what was wrong, she was just stressed and worried. She insisted she needed to see one of her doctors right away. I considered my schedule. I needed to go to town to visit some folks in a nursing home. Tonight I have the second Access class. Daughter had left frustrated this morning, because I had told her she had to apologize to her respite provider tonight. She'd told her that she had vacuumed the stairs Tuesday, and she hadn't. I suspected this was about me "abandoning" her two nights this week, so I decided it would be better to pick her up early if I wanted to go to class tonight. If I didn't deal with her need then, she'd manufacture a crisis to keep me from going to class.
So I did my best to reassure her and help her make it through the rest of the day, but I wasn't surprised when that didn't work. I asked her what she wanted, though I already knew. I told her I'd come get her in about 30 minutes. I stopped and dropped some things off with one of the saints, and then went to the workshop. When she came out, she was no longer crying, but she hugged me (in public--which is usually much too embarrassing). When she hugged me, I could feel her shaking.
She stayed in the car while I went in to the nursing home to visit my people. As we drove home, I asked her if she needed some mommy cuddle time when we got home. She sounded relieved, "Yes!" She still hadn't been able to tell me what's bothering her, but when we got home I looked through the mail, then picked up a book I've been reading, and sat down on the couch. Daughter snuggled in next to me, and Cat claimed my lap (at least Kitten didn't decide she needed to get in on the action.) Daughter quickly fell asleep. I sat with her and read for about an hour, and then she graciously allowed me to leave, though she fell back to sleep on the pillow.
Mommy cuddle time is getting awkward. She's 21 and almost 5 inches taller than I am. Her psychiatrist tells me that emotionally, she's 8 or 9. Now that she's had that time with me, she'll be able to pull it together while I'm gone this evening. It would be nice if I knew the source of her anxiety. There are so many things it could be, from a hormone imbalance that is also contributing to the blood sugar challenges to guilt that she lied to the respite provider to anxiety because her routine has been disrupted by this class I'm taking to anxiety about having another severe low. Whatever the cause, I hope that an hour on the couch with me will be enough to carry her through the evening.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Here We Go Again

We have been better organized lately, and it is working well for us. Daughter knows that there is no TV unless her room is done, and she has been keeping it clean, or so it seemed. Today I was doing laundry and needed some more skirt hangers. I went up to her room and opened her closet. There was about a foot of clothing dumped on the floor.

When she got home tonight, I mentioned that her room needed some attention, and told her I'd opened her closet door in search of hangers. She was not happy, but wandered upstairs, knowing it was a battle she couldn't win. She wasn't gone too long before she came back down and plopped herself in the chair in my study. "I need to get out of here now."

I rolled my chair over and put my hands on her knees. I gently explained what had led her to this declaration. "I don't want to clean up my closet. If I had a place of my own, I wouldn't have to listen to her. It's not fair. I'm 21 years old, I should be able to live on my own." I said more, but you get the idea. By the time I was done, she was smiling, though her eyes were still downcast. I reminded her that we have the same goal, equipping her to live independently. I assured her that as soon as she was ready, she could do it. I told her it wasn't going to be today or tomorrow, though.

She said, "One thing I have to learn before I can live on my own is how to do my own laundry." I agreed. I pointed out I didn't want her to have too much piled on her, so when she had kept her room clean for a month, I'd begin teaching her how to do her own laundry. (I've actually gone through it with her before, but she hasn't mastered it yet. She's still working on properly sorting her clothes into the three bag hamper in the bathroom.)

She sat here and moped for a while, and then headed upstairs. She stopped in the hall to jump in frustration once. It reminded me vividly of a time when she was 5 or 6 years old. We were in the family room in the basement of the home we lived in then. I had sent her upstairs for something, and she wasn't happy about it. She dramatically jumped up and down several times at the foot of the stairs. I calmly pointed out that it didn't have much of an impact on the concrete floor, but if she wanted to do it again when she got upstairs, I was sure it would be much more dramatic. She walked up the stairs, glaring at me the whole time. When she got to the top, she very carefully stopped, jumped three times (still glaring at me), and then went off to follow my directions. I waited until she was gone before I laughed.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


My MS Access class tonight was interesting. The instructor was asked to teach the course a week ago, and yesterday learned that it was going to be on Access 2007, which he has never used. When he got to class, he didn't have the password to get us into the computer. The person who could give us the password was in a meeting, and couldn't be disturbed. They were having a big dinner at the school tonight, and the sound system for it was hooked up to the speaker in our classroom. In 2 1/2 hours, we made it through the first unit, which was supposed to take 30 minutes.

It was all worth it, though. I've already learned some things and picked up some ideas. Even better, of the 5 people in the class, two of us are women in ministry, there to figure out how to better set up our church membership databases. We're going to get together and share ideas. My closest friend in this area moved to another church over a month ago, so I'm delighted by the opportunity to connect with another colleague. If that's all I get out of this class, it will be worth it. Oh, and four of us were probably fairly close in age. I wasn't the oldest person there!

Daughter did well with her respite provider, and was glad to see me when we got home. We successfully reapplied for her Medicaid today.

Back to School

Tonight I'm going back to school. I'm going to be taking a class on Microsoft Access at the local career center. The class runs from 5:30 to 8:00 on 4 evenings over the next 2 weeks. I want to do some work on our membership database at the church. I know we can do more with it, I just don't know how.

I've never taken a class about computers. When I was in seminary 25 years ago, one of my classmates offered an evening seminar on the use of computers in the church. I didn't attend to the seminar, because there was no use for computers in the church. Now, I can't function without one.

I do have some concerns about going back to class. I'm not sure I can sit still for 2 1/2 hours. I wonder if I'll be the oldest person in the class.
Daughter will be with her respite provider tonight. We go into get her Medicaid and the waiver that provides the respite money reauthorized today. It is nice to be able to take an evening class without worrying about what to do with Daughter. I hope that I will be able to do some of these things without her on a more regular basis. It's hard finding a babysitter for a 21 year old, so I am truly blessed to have the waiver that provides the respite.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Beautiful Fall Day

It has been a beautiful day here. The temperature was up in the 80's, so we opened the windows. We're also in the middle of the harvest, so we had combines and tractors hauling wagons going up and down the street all day. Farm equipment is noisy. It has made conversations and listening to the TV or radio a challenge, to say the least. One of the farmers once apologized for his difficulty hearing, and explained he'd spent too many hours on a combine. I believe it.

For the most part I love living in Tiny Village. There are pieces of it, though, that are less enjoyable. Last week, when the weather first warmed up, one of the farmers spread manure on his field. We couldn't open the windows that day. Then there are the flies. We have a large turkey operation and a large hog operation right outside town.

But there was a beautiful sunrise this morning, and a grand sunset tonight. We have unobstructed views, and I think that those are worth the minor annoyances.

The Election

In the last week, I have had two people who have passed on to me an email insisting that Barack Obama is a Muslim. I thought that this rumor had been put to rest months ago. These individuals have been sincerely frightened about what might happen if Obama wins the election. They refuse to believe anything in the media that contradicts what the email said, because "you can't trust the media-- they're all liberals." I responded to the email I received today. I don't have a problem with people supporting McCain, but please do it on the basis of policy and experience, not false rumors that only serve to sow fear and further divide the country. Friday McCain assured his supporters that they didn't need to fear an Obama presidency, and was booed.

Going into this election, both candidates swore that they would run clean campaigns and not engage in destructive attacks. Both seem to have forgotten that pledge, and it grieves me. As a country we need to learn that it is possible to disagree with someone without them being an enemy. We need to recognize that we can learn and grow when we engage in an open, respectful debate with those who disagree with us. Those who vote differently than we do are not the enemy.
As voters we have a responsibility to look beyond the sound bites to the issues and the candidates positions on them. Both candidates have websites full of information to help in the pursuit of policy positions. helps sort out when the truth has been stretched. Support your candidates, campaign for your candidates, but do it on the basis of policy and experience, not rumors and fear. Do it with respect for those who disagree with you. Remember, we all want what is best for our country, and working together we can achieve it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Another Wonderful Day

A colleague and I sit down together a couple of times a year to plan out worship themes. We don’t have complete sermons, just a theme, sometimes some rough notes, occasionally a hymn that we think will go well with the theme. I print the Scriptures and sermon titles in the newsletter monthly, and the sermon title goes up on the sign out front by Tuesday. This week I did something that I haven’t done too often. After giving the secretary all the hymns and such for the bulletin on Tuesday, I went in on Thursday and changed it all.

In the course of my conversations with the saints this week, it became apparent I needed to address the economic meltdown we’re currently experiencing. So, I threw out all my plans and started over. It went well. They were attentive, and several people thanked me. We closed with the hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” which fit well with the main message of the sermon. They sang it with great gusto this morning. One woman came up to me after worship and whispered that her daughter has lost her job and home. Her firm was bought out, and the top 5 people in her office were eliminated.

This evening we had youth group at the park. We did some planning on the Thanksgiving dinner they’re going to have with some of our seniors next month. They told us who they wanted to invite, and what they would bring. They’re excited about it. It looks like we’ll be serving about 35 people. I made them volunteer for tasks, and 4 of them agreed to clean up duty. Some of the parents will help, as well. I love these kids. They assured me tonight I wasn’t old, but I loved them even before they told me that. My co-advisor does therapeutic foster care with teenage boys coming out of a residential treatment center. One of her boys is returning home this month, so both he and the one who will be moving in were there tonight. The kids all signed a card for C, and when we closed, they each shared what they would miss about him. They also warmly welcomed B. Once again they made sure our special needs kids were included.

Daughter hasn’t had a low since Tuesday. I suspect part of that is she’s been eating food she hasn’t been testing for and covering with insulin. When caught, she always claims it was “an accident.” She’s yet to convince me of that, though. I still haven’t figured out how one can accidentally go to the refrigerator, open the door, remove food, and consume it. At this point, I’m just grateful for the break from the lows, so I’m not going to worry about it too much.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Now I Know Why

Today I discovered why we’ve always used glucose tabs for Daughter’s low blood sugars. We can get 50 glucose tabs for $5.49. That’s enough (theoretically) to treat 12 lows. Recently we’ve had to treat lows 3 or 4 times. So it costs about .46 to treat a low, or $1.38 if we have to treat three times. Of course, we have to follow up with a complex carb. Daughter carries packages of crackers with her to eat once her blood sugar has begun to come up. Theoretically, the complex carbs will keep her blood sugar up.

So today, I bought glucose gel and glucose liquid for lows. Enough to treat two lows takes up as much space as enough glucose tabs for 5 lows. Then there’s the cost. The liquid glucose was $2.99 to treat one low. The glucose gel was $3.99 a treatment. If they work, and one treatment will bring her up, they’ll be worth it. If they’re no more effective than glucose tabs, we will quickly be going back to glucose tabs. We also bought cake gel, which was a little less expensive and a little bit smaller, but it still was about 3 times the cost of the tabs.

On a cheerier note, I got gas for $2.92 a gallon this morning. I’m glad the price of something is going down!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Health Care in Rural America

Daughter has 4 doctors, currently based in 3 different cities. The close ones are 22 miles away, one of her specialists is 100 miles away. We have tried to find doctors closer to home, but there are challenges. Daughter is not an easy patient. As Therapist pointed out to me, she’s even abnormal in her abnormalities.

With the severe low blood sugars Daughter has been experiencing and the lack of help her endocrinologist has provided, I am seeking a new endocrinologist for Daughter. The first challenge in finding a specialist where we live is distance. There are two possibilities about 25 miles from here. For various reasons, neither of these two are good choices. The one who is thought of more highly doesn’t have good interpersonal skills, so we’d prefer not to go there if we can avoid it.

There are three more options if I’m willing to go 50 miles. I’m willing to go 50 miles. This brings us to the second challenge: insurance. Two of the three possibilities are out of state, making it less likely that they will accept Daughter’s Medicaid. Medicaid is her secondary insurance; my Blue Cross/Blue Shield is primary. Dr. K (family doctor) has had good luck referring people to the one who is in state and 50 miles from here. I called, and he will take Medicaid. Dr. K has made the referral. We’ll see him on October 29th.

I hope this endocrinologist will be more responsive to Daughter’s needs. It would be nice if I could center all her medical care in one city. I have tried to do that, but distance and insurance pose major challenges. We’d have to go at least 50 miles to do that, and I don’t want to go 50 miles for her family doctor. The other issue is simply that there is a shortage of many specialists in rural America. Finding a good psychiatrist for her has been especially challenging.

There are many advantages to life in Tiny Village, but access to health care is not one of them. I am fortunate that I can rearrange my schedule to carve out half a day (or longer) to take her to an appointment. I hope and pray that this new endocrinologist will be a good match for Daughter and her needs. If I have to, I will take her 100 miles to see the right doctor. My hope is that this time, the right one will just be 50 miles away.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Good News, Bad News, part 2

I left bright and early this morning to take the continuous glucose monitor to City so that they could figure out how to fix Daughter’s blood sugar problems. I had a call a little while ago from the dietician at the diabetes clinic. The good news is that I have been vindicated. The endo doesn’t want to make any changes in insulin, because over all her blood sugars are good. In other words, I hadn’t messed up her insulin, as the endo accused me of after the night I took her to the emergency room. The other bit of good news is that she had a severe low while she was on the monitor that didn’t respond the way it should have to glucose tablets.

So what is the bad news? We don’t have answers as to cause or cure, or even a plan for further testing. They tried to tell me that I hadn’t given her the right kind of protein for breakfast that day. The low fat sausage she had for breakfast probably had too much fat and not enough protein. I pointed out that she had the same breakfast she has every morning of the week. If the problem were the breakfast, she’d go low other days, too. They wondered if maybe she’d been exercising or had extra activity. The day was just like any other day except that her blood sugar dropped to 35 and didn’t respond well to treatment.

They also thought she had “worn out” the glucose tabs and suggested that I try giving her honey instead. Let me explain why I give her glucose tabs. She can carry them with her in a little tube. They’re very portable. She’ll eat them, but she doesn’t particularly like them, meaning that she isn’t tempted to eat them when she’s not low. There are a number of other things she could use, but she likes those other things, and there is a high probability that when she had a low she would find that she had eaten them all and she wouldn’t have anything to treat the low.

So what did we learn from the monitor? We learned that Daughter has unpredictable, serious lows that don’t respond well to treatment. At least I have been vindicated on that front. What are we doing about it? I’m supposed to experiment to see if honey, glucose gel or cake gel is more effective for her. Why is she having the lows? No idea. Daughter and I seem to be the only ones who are worried about what is causing them. I asked again about the possibility that this related to one of her other medications. Again I was ignored.

Tomorrow morning we go see her family doctor. I hope Dr. K will be a bit more helpful, or will refer us to a different endo. One of my concerns is that each time Daughter has one of these lows, her blood sugar is lower before she recognizes it. I’m concerned that she is developing hypoglycemia unawareness, which can be very dangerous.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Happy Anniversary

This afternoon I went to the nursing home for a surprise party for a couple who are celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary. Their son and daughter-in-law live out of state, and set this up after their visit a week and a half ago. This couple is amazing.

Following their marriage, his plane was shot down and was captured by the Germans. He was held in a POW camp for a couple of months. He was fortunate, as by the time he was captured the war was almost over so his captivity was relatively short. That didn’t mean it was easy for C, who was at home with their infant son.

He is a cancer survivor. Several years ago he was going in for more cancer surgery (a different cancer) when his heart stopped on the operating table. I walked into the surgical waiting room as an official came out to tell C that they were doing CPR on her husband. The next day, Easter, they told C that if he D survived, he would probably be severely brain damaged. Well, he survived, and he isn’t brain damaged. He sits in a recliner in the nursing home reading books. I always enjoy my visits with him.

Earlier this year, C decided to move out of their home and join D in the nursing home. They read their books, and when I go in we discuss politics and what’s going on in the world. They are both very content in their life together. They are amazing people, and I was honored to be there today to share in their anniversary celebration.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Good News and Bad News

As I was standing in the ICU this morning visiting with a member, my cell phone rang. I checked, and it was Daughter. Since she hadn’t felt good this morning, I decided I’d best answer. Her blood sugar had dropped to 35 (that is very low—one of her lowest). I ascertained that her blood sugar was up and told her I’d call her back when I left the hospital. I finished my visit and considered my schedule for the rest of the day.

I was taking communion to two of our shut-ins this afternoon. One of those visits would take me about 30 miles from Daughter at the workshop. I called her back and told her I would pick her up right after lunch. It was out of the way, but I didn’t want to be 30 miles away if she dropped again. So, I picked her up and dragged her along as an elder and I visited shut-ins. Both women we visited knew her and welcomed her warmly. She’s really good about these visits, and sits quietly and patiently through the conversation. Her blood sugar dropped again a little after 3:00, right after we finished the last visit. This time it only dropped to 50.

The good news is that this low will be seen in the records I turn in to the diabetes clinic on Thursday morning. The bad news is that Daughter had to suffer through it. Fortunately, both of these lows responded relatively quickly to treatment. The frustrating part is that she ate a bunch of bread after the second low, which makes it hard to record the exact carbs and calories on the log we have to turn into the endo. At least she acknowledged what she’d done when I realized that some of the bakery rolls I’d bought for communion were missing. '

One other bit of good news: I found gas in the City for $3.15 a gallon!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Medical Technology

This morning I took Daughter over to the diabetes clinic to be hooked up to a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). For the next 3 days, this little device will record her blood sugars 24 hours a day. It will give a much clearer picture of her ups and downs, and hopefully enable her doctor to figure out her current insulin needs.
Daughter has been hooked up to a CGM several times in the past. It involved having a sensor inserted in her abdomen and a wire running from it to a little box that she had to carry with her. She had special plastic bags to protect the box when she was in the shower. If the lead came loose from the box, numbers would be lost and we’d have to recalibrate the CGM. Several times a day she was required to enter the number from her meter into the box.

Today Daughter became the first person her endo has had connected to a new, much smaller system (see the photo). She won’t have to enter any blood sugar numbers. The sensor is hooked up to a very small transmitter on her abdomen. There are no wires. I’ll take back it and the loaner meter they provided, and the both will be downloaded into a computer and calibrated and analyzed. It will be much easier.

There was a company rep there to do the insertion and get it started. I took advantage of his time there to quiz him about a number of things. The closed loop system (an insulin pump hooked up to the CGM) is probably about 5 years from market in the U.S. (The next best breakthrough and/or cure has been 5 years away since Daughter was diagnosed 8 years ago). People in the clinical trials love it, but they will be introducing it slowly. Later this year it will be introduced in Europe, though all it will do is cut off the basal insulin when the blood sugar goes low.

Insurance companies and Medicaid pay for the pump without too much trouble. Some insurance companies are beginning to cover the CGM, which studies have shown to be very effective in helping achieve better blood sugar control (which reduces complications).

Then I asked him of his opinion of the endocrinologists in the area. I found his input and insight helpful. There is a new adult endo who is aggressive in his treatment of diabetes and is putting lots of patients on the insulin pump. I’m really beginning to believe that Daughter’s problems will best be addressed by going on an insulin pump. It’s more work, but it might be worth the effort.

As frustrated as I get by the fact that the answer is always 5 years away, I must admit that diabetes care has improved tremendously since Daughter’s diagnosis. When we first started this, she had to take the exact same amount of insulin and eat exact same amount of food at the same exact times every day. On Saturdays, we’d get up and get her breakfast and insulin at 7:00 and then go back to bed. Now she doesn’t have to eat to cover insulin peaks, which gives us much more flexibility with regards to food. As I look back on how far we’ve come, I’m grateful, though occasionally impatient as I wait for the next great breakthrough in medical technology that will improve Daughter’s health.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My Favorite Cuckoo Clock

Daughter doesn’t have a great concept of time. She wants very much to arrive at events early. The result is that if I allow it, she will begin bugging me about leaving two hours before we need to leave. I have learned how to manage this some. For example, if I lay down for a Sunday afternoon nap. I will tell her what time she may wake me up. If I don’t, she’ll come in to report the time every 15 minutes. When we are going someplace, I will tell her what time we need to leave, and what time she can begin bugging me about it. I have found her sitting and staring at the clock waiting for the moment when she can begin to bug me.

I have told her that being her mom is like having my own personal cuckoo clock following me around. When she becomes too obsessed with time, I look at her and say, “Cuckoo, cuckoo,” she will then back down a bit, at least most of the time.

Today we were a little later than usual getting home from church. She had Special Olympics Bowling this afternoon. Normally on bowling Sundays we come home, I sit down for a few minutes, and then we head into town and get lunch before bowling. When I walked in after church today, she was frantic. “We need to leave now and drive through someplace!”

“We have plenty of time. We will go to the Mexican restaurant because I want to sit down and be waited on.”

“But, Mom, I want to get there early so I can be on lane 1!”

“You will be there in plenty of time, and what lane you are on isn’t important.”

We went to the Mexican restaurant. Of course we had plenty of time, and when we finished lunch I thought it was still too early to go to the bowling alley. I decided to get the car washed since the car wash was between the restaurant and bowling. There wasn’t a line, the car was filthy, and it would fill a little bit of time.

Daughter wasn’t thrilled, but she could see that she would still get there early. When the workers started to dry our car, they found that there were still bugs on the windshield, so they told us to go back through. This time, there was a line. I could feel Daughter becoming increasingly anxious beside me. She was staring at the clock in the car. “Remember, that clock runs a few minutes fast, you still have plenty of time.”

“Oh, that’s right, I forgot!”

She pulled out her cell phone and began checking the time on that every 30 seconds. We got through the car wash with fewer bugs, and headed to the bowling alley. By this time I felt like I was sitting next to a keg of dynamite. As we turned the corner towards the bowling alley (still early), she sighed. “Oh, good. There aren’t that many cars there.”

She ended up on lane 6, and had friends bowling all around her. I survived another outing with my favorite Cuckoo clock.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Providing Opportunities

Yesterday Daughter and I picked up one of her friends and I took them to McDonald’s and a movie. D finished high school in 2004, and is living in one of the supported living homes in Town. She was so nervous at McDonald’s—she had never ordered her own food before! I was amazed. Now Daughter is probably higher functioning than D, but still, I would have thought D would have ordered her own food before.

I let the girls sit at their own table, and I went over to a small table, looking forward to reading while the girls talked. That thought ended when 3 of the men from the workshop entered accompanied by support staff. One, T, is related to some of the saints, so he knows me and has taken a liking to me. As his mother puts it, T is an 8 year old with 40 years of experience. When he saw me, he made a beeline for my table. So, instead of reading my book, I talked to T. His two buddies went over to bug the Daughter and D, but T sat with me and played with his yo-yo.
When I realized how sheltered D was, I decided I’d best go to the movie with them. I think I was the oldest non-grandparent in the theater. The girls had a great time. There were previews for High School Music 3, which opens in 3 weeks. I suspect that I will be back at the theater in 3 weeks for the big event. At least since this is coming out in the theaters, Daughter will only be able to watch it once that weekend. When the last one came out she watched it about 5 times the first weekend.

She told me after we dropped D off how glad she was that she didn’t go to Best Friend’s apartment to hang out with BF and 3 guys. She told me she would have been very uncomfortable there. She is spending less time with BF, and I am very grateful.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Flash of Brilliance

Daughter has talked about wanting to hang out with friends tonight several times this week. Yesterday she came home and told me Best Friend had invited some of them over to her apartment for supper and movies tonight. It would be two men and two women. Best Friend’s boyfriend, Daughter, and Daughter’s former boyfriend. It was obvious Daughter had some misgivings about this plan, as did I. I won’t even try to list all my concerns, but they were many, to say the least. I suggested Daughter wasn’t real comfortable with this plan, and she agreed. I reminded her she could always say I was the world’s meanest mother and wouldn’t allow her to go. She didn’t like that idea. We went to bed last night with nothing resolved.

This morning Daughter was up with the alarm and listening to her Christian music, which usually means she’s in a great mood and will be pleasant to be around. This morning, though, she was surly, and growling at me for no discernable reason. I asked her what was bothering her, and she said something about the endo. I suspected that was only part the issue. Finally, I said, “You know, I’ve been thinking. What about if instead of hanging at B’s apartment tonight, you and C went to a movie?”

The effect was instantaneous. Her whole demeanor changed and her voice became excited. “There’s a new movie that’s opening tonight and it’s supposed to be really good!” She couldn’t tell me the name, but said it had to do with dogs. I went to the website for the cinema in town, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua is opening tonight. There is a showing at 7:00. She was going to go recruit C to go with her today. C is a woman a little bit older than Daughter and a lot more stable and much safer than the group that will gather at B’s. I haven’t decided what I will do while they’re at the movie, but it will probably be cheaper (and easier) to buy a ticket and go to a movie. I haven’t decided what movie yet, but I’ll figure it out.

Every so often I am able to tell what’s bothering Daughter and offer a suggestion that heads off a major problem. I’m grateful that this morning I had one of those flashes of insight that enabled me to be brilliant.

God Always Wins, But Are We in the Final Inning?

This morning my devotional reading pointed out that God always has the final word, and asked where we were looking for that in our lives. Now the thought resonated with me, and I have often reminded my people that God always wins. I like using the analogy of a game with lots of thrills and a constantly changing score. I point out that it is much less stressful to watch such a game when we know what the final score will be.

The problem I had with today’s question was that we don’t know how long the game will last before God wins. Over the course of my time parenting Daughter, there have been moments of deep despair. I am confident that God called me to be her mother, but there have been times when I have wondered why, times when the situation seemed hopeless. At those times, I have often questioned why I was called to this task. I find comfort in my belief that God didn’t call me to this task for it to end in tragedy. That belief has kept me going through some of the more challenging times.

When I read the question this morning, though, my thoughts weren’t first of Daughter. They were of the current mess we find ourselves in with the economy. I’d like to believe that God’s final word of victory with regard to that is coming soon. I’d like to believe that the rescue plan will fix things, or the people who win the election will have all the answers. I don’t think it’s going to be that easy, though. I think we have a lesson to learn in this mess. I think we are learning about the consequences of greed and living beyond our means. I also think there are many who still don’t get it, who still don’t understand how we got into this mess. Until they understand, I don’t think it will be over. Until they acknowledge (and repent) of their part in this mess, I think the mess will continue. In short, I don’t think the game is anywhere close to being over. I also suspect that our idea of a victory in this particular game may be very different from God’s idea of a victory.

I learned from painful experience that carrying balances on credit cards is not a good idea. I learned the importance of living within my means. I learned that I don’t need all the latest gadgets and a closet full of the latest fashions. I don’t think our country has learned that yet. Until we do, the game continues, and there is suffering ahead. I hope we will come to realize that there aren’t any easy answers, or quick fixes, and that all of us are going to have to make sacrifices if we want the current mess fixed. I know that God has the final word, which is a word of hope, and I think there is more suffering ahead before we are able to hear and recognize that hope, which is going to look very different from the way we’ve lived in the past.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Medical Rant

Daughter’s blood sugars have been over 200 the last two mornings, and the goal is for them to be under 110. (Some people are never satisfied.) I want to know the why of the erratic readings; endo wants to criticize everything I’m doing. I know I’m not perfect, but I’ve managed this disease fairly well for the last 8 years, so I know that what is going on now is different.

I just got off the phone with the nurse at the diabetes clinic. She’s going to talk to the endo. Endo is only in the clinic once a week. (One of the joys of living in rural America—specialists are hard to come by and often have very limited hours). I’m probably going to have to take her over to the clinic Monday to get hooked up to a continuous glucose monitor for 3 days.

I called and made an appointment with her primary care physician this morning, but PCP’s first available appointment is Friday, October 10. I took it. I want her to help me sort through the issues of the different medications she’s on and whether any of them could be causing these issues. There are two that I’m wondering about. The medications are prescribed by three different doctors, and my experience has been that each one views their treatment as most important and expects the others to adjust. I also want to talk to PCP about switching to an adult endo.

Daughter is on my insurance and has secondary coverage of Medicaid. The Medicaid is supposed to assure Daughter always has access to medical care, but my experience has been that it has been more of a barrier to medical care than a help. The reimbursement rate is so low that most physicians won’t take it even though my insurance (which is very good) is primary. I can’t even take her in on just my insurance and pay the co-pays and such with any provider who accepts Medicaid from anyone. For them to accept money from me would be to commit Medicaid fraud. So the question becomes, would either of the two adult endos within 30 miles of her be willing to see her given that she is on Medicaid? Would either one of them be a good match for Daughter? Both are men which is already a challenge, as Daughter still has problems letting men touch her because of the sexual abuse she suffered prior to her third birthday. She doesn’t like it when current endo, who is a woman, touches her as she’s checking for signs of neuropathy.

I’ve been putting off finding a new endo because I hoped we would be moving. I didn’t want to change and then move and have to change again. However, since it seems that God wants me here for now, I guess we’re going to have to make the change. Daughter currently sees specialists in 3 different cities, from 25 to 100 miles away from here. There are times when her medical needs and appointments take up a great deal of my time and energy. I am grateful that I have flexibility in my schedule and an understanding congregation.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Daughter has called me twice today. She's been so happy and bubbly each time. She had the opportunity to go with a work crew today to clean off-site. She was so excited! She had observed once, but today she actually was filling in for someone and had a responsibility. It will be reflected in her next pay check.

Her blood sugars began to drop this afternoon, but since they start feeding her anytime she's below 100 (we don't treat at home unless she's below 70), she never dropped below 80. Of course, they fed her peanut butter crackers 3 times. The extra 450 calories didn't do much for her diet, but at least she didn't suffer with hypoglycemia. Since she's back up to her regular dose of insulin, I'm pleased she didn't have more difficulties than that.

Running Away in Place

Yesterday evening I made it over to Bible study after missing a couple of weeks because of other responsibilities. We were looking at Jonah, which is a book I have always loved. God tells Jonah to go to Ninevah, and Jonah gets on a boat headed in the opposite direction. He is deeply depressed, and is sleeping through a major storm. The others on the ship wake him up as they seek to determine whose God is punishing one of them on the ship. Jonah acknowledges that it’s his fault, and encourages them to throw him overboard (I find it interesting that he couldn’t even take the initiative to jump in himself). Anyway, they throw him overboard, the storm calms, and Jonah spends 3 days and night in the belly of a great fish. Eventually he prays, the fish vomits him out, and he goes to Ninevah to proclaim God’s judgment. The people of Ninevah repent, and God decides not to destroy the city. Jonah becomes depressed again because God isn’t going to destroy Ninevah, and sits and pouts in the desert. God comes and points out the foolishness of his ways, and Jonah eventually stops pouting.

I recognized myself and some of my recent struggles in the story of Jonah. Off and on since Daughter’s graduation, I have been searching for a call to a different church. I would very much like to be closer to family so I can be more helpful in the care of my parents. I’d also like to get back into a metropolitan area so there would be more opportunities for Daughter. For a while the search was on hold, because after three psychiatric hospitalizations in the summer of 2007, I decided she wasn’t stable enough to handle a move. Since I restarted the search, there haven’t been opportunities available in the area in which I am searching.

As I have been focused on moving, I find I have had less patience with some of the quirks of the people here. They haven’t changed, but my patience has lessened. I finally realized my anger wasn’t at them, but at God. I have not been willing to wrestle with God on these issues. I’ve been praying, but it hasn’t been the kind of deep wrestling I need to do with God. Last night I realized that like Jonah, I’ve been running away. I haven’t jumped on a boat headed away from Tiny Village, but I have been running away from God, just doing it right here in place. This morning I woke up hungry for more intense time with God, and so I spent more time than usual with Scripture and prayer. It’s a beginning. The conversation and struggle need to continue.

I had also seen my work here as being done. A number of major projects have been completed, and I thought it was time for someone else to step in with new ideas and direction. This past weekend, though, pointed out to me that exciting things are still happening, and growth is still taking place. My work here is not complete. I know that at the right time God will call me to the right place. There are times, though, when I wish I knew where I would be going and when it would be happening. For now, though, I rejoice that God is providing me with the new challenges I was seeking right here in Tiny Village.