A Time to Play

“If we have a heart to learn and a willingness to follow the example of children, their divine attributes can hold a key to unlocking our own spiritual growth.”  –Jean A. Stevens

After a little over a month in the hospital, Natalie, her daddy and I came home to our small basement apartment where it was actually dark and quiet at night, except for the occasional set of headlights that illuminated the curtains. I found another pediatrician who lived near in case Natalie got sick, but her follow-up appointments would be in Boston with the men I had come to trust.

The feeding pump was placed on the dresser next to the crib. Every night after reading the books she loved, I would attached her gastrostomy to the tubing that was her life line. The pump slowly pushed the 10% dextrose into her gastrostomy at the rate she needed. I checked on her in the night to make sure the pump was functioning properly. If I didn’t remember checking I would wake in a panic.

Natalie’s personality shined now that she was not plagued by hypoglycemia. She ate every 3 hours while she was awake. There were no more frantic meals, fatigue, or falling asleep in her food. So many times I thanked God for being in the right place to have Natalie diagnosed. What becomes of the children who do not have access to specialists who are familiar with this disease? I can’t think about it. It tortures my soul.

At bath time there was a game she and I played that made her laugh so hard she would fall over backwards in the tub. I placed a wash cloth on her head and pretend I did not know where it went. She would giggle and then tip her head forward until the wash cloth fell into the water. I acted surprised and she would laugh so hard she almost couldn’t catch her breath. Once the laughter coming from the bathroom was so boisterous  her daddy stopped reading  to investigate.  We replayed the trick and it was as if it was for the first time.

One blistering hot August afternoon the cool water in the pool of the apartment complex looked inviting. Dr. Crigler said the stoma around the g-tube was healed enough to go swimming. I dipped Natalie’s toes into the pool and slowly lowered her into the pool until her entire torso was under water. Natalie was joyous. She kicked and laughed at the new experience. I told her the world had so much more in store for her.

Lesson Learned: Forget past difficulties and live in the moment.

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