Sugar & bitterness


In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD. And she made a vow, saying, "O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head." I Samuel 1:10-11

I reread what I wrote yesterday about God's provision before writing this. As you look back over your life, do you see times that stick out as times of special grace or preparation? Were you ever wrong about what it was that God was preparing you for?

Yesterday was not about preparing my soul to separate from my family during my upcoming scan/treatment. It was about getting ready for the evening hours, and what they brought. Amelia, my youngest daughter, had been vomiting since Tuesday evening and both Aaron and I were surprised that she was still throwing up when Thursday morning arrived. I watched over her and kept pushing small drinks of fluid despite the continuing vomiting all day on Thursday. By afternoon, her hands and feet were cold and gray, her eyes heavy and swollen from retching, and her heartrate and breathing much too fast because of her high - and uncontrollable - fever. I left two kids with Auntie Melissa, and ran in to urgent care, where they directed me straight to the ER. We spent the evening there, where Amelia received IV fluid rehydration and a dose of potassium.

Aaron and I both fared well through the ordeal, emotionally. Two bright flares of panic: standing in the elevator listing off the tests being run, awareness flooded down on me like ice water. Every parent I ever knew on bone marrow transplant had this story: a routine visit to an ER for a kid just a bit "too sick", and suddenly the news that it is leukemia, or a genetic anemia, or other anomaly so much bigger than the sickness that brought them there. Working in such an intense pediatric environment has left a few scars. I whispered a silent prayer - please, don't let that be my story. Spare us. Another moment of panic: Amelia's potassium came back low. Mine has always been low, thanks to a genetic disorder called Bartter's Syndrome that causes excessive loss of potassium through the kidneys. My father and grandfather suffer from this as well, but have remained fairly healthy despite the chronic low potassium. However, my symptoms exacerbated a heart problem in high school, causing me to faint many times a day for years. This was a heart-wrenching time of life for my parents, and the possibility that I might walk that same road with my daughter is painful.

Amelia doesn't have leukemia - her blood counts all came back normal, as any sane parent would have predicted. Just that old nurse's phobia rearing it's ugly head. But the potassium issue continues to be a concern, and we won't know more until a few weeks from now.

So I was being prepared to don my mother/nurse cap in full last night. To use knowledge to protect my daughter, and push away knowledge that merely brings fear into my heart. That takes a lot of discernment and a lot of self-control. It was a testing time, for certain. Now for the next few days...to protect this rare and precious treasure, this 2-year-old soul and body that breathe vigor and happiness and fire into our days in the Thul house. Caleb's first birthday party cancelled and rescheduled for another time. It will be a peaceful day tomorrow - barring any more fast drives to the ER with Amy - cake, presents, and just we six Thuls honoring the 1-year anniversary of our first and only little boy's birth.