Tyler on Christmas Day.
You can already see the lines under his eyes and the hollowing of his cheeks,
though we didn't realize at the time what these were indicating.
"And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God..." Revelation 12:6
Despite having taken a semester course on Revelation, there is still much of this book that eludes me. However, I've always loved the above verse where God prepared a special place of protection for the woman described in the preceding verses. Looking back on the events of the past three weeks, I can clearly see how the Lord has done the same for my family.
It's a little-known fact that when Dylan was born, a very misguided pediatrician accused me of parental neglect when I mentioned that we'd not had to take a child to the doctor for illness in over two years (we had taken them in for well-child checkups). She told me that it was impossible that none of our three older children could be so healthy and therefore concluded that we were denying sick children a physician's care. As a result, she called in Social Services on me. I was dumbfounded, hurt, and angry that she would say such an outlandish thing. I cannot begin to imagine what would have happened if my parents had told me I couldn't go to the doctor when I had those awful, double ear infections as a child. Memories of those ear infections are enough to ensure that I would never, ever avoid taking in a sick child.
For several weeks after, I wrestled with the injustice of it all. What should have been a very happy occasion - the birth of our beautiful baby - was marred by the terror of possibly dealing with Child Protective Services and the threat of them coming to my home (once we left the hospital, we never heard from them again, thankfully). How could any good come from this?
I believe that God allowed this atrocious woman to say what she did as a prevention. When Tyler got sick, his symptoms did not initially warrant an expensive trip to Urgent Care - he was not so violently ill as to convey the possibility of dehydration; the lack of fever seemed to indicate a mild illness (although the oddity of that was what eventually caused us to take him in); and his weight loss could have easily been attributed to his being under the weather. However, I could not shake the accusation of parental neglect, and I think that ultimately inspired us to action more quickly than we might have otherwise done. While I hope to never see that pediatrician again, I can see how the Lord used a seemingly-horrible experience for good.
When I did take Tyler to Urgent Care, I asked for a pager so that we could sit in the car to wait instead of collecting more germs in the waiting room. For reasons unknown, the pager never went off, resulting in our having to wait even longer to see a doctor. This was frustrating at the time, but it ultimately caused us to see a different doctor than we would have if the pager had worked. This doctor's bedside manner was amazing: he did not needlessly alarm me, but once he was certain about the diagnosis, he was very direct, thorough, and calm when he explained what was about to happen. I cannot imagine any other doctor handling the situation better than he did, and I am also certain that had the pager worked, we would have been seen by a different doctor who very likely would not have been as good. Also, the delay meant that the diagnosis came around 5:30PM, just a few minutes after my dad had gotten home from work. When I called to ask him if he and Mom could come get the middle two Spark Plugs, he was home and available to jump in the car right away. Any earlier, and we would have had to wait for him to arrive home.
I can even see how Jon's CSF leak prepared us for Tyler's diabetes diagnosis. We were already accustomed to a life-threatening medical condition (though thankfully, when both CSF and diabetes are closely monitored, the health risks are greatly reduced); we knew how frequent sick days affect daily life; and we've experienced dealing with the frustration of insurance issues, frequent doctor's visits, and the other headaches that often accompany such health problems.
All of this isn't to say that things are easy or that we've sailed through this with shining colors. We have to take everything a day at a time, and we continually need the prayers of everyone around us. Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is the second most common childhood disease (asthma is the first), which means that the doctors know exactly what to do for Tyler (as opposed to Jon's CSF leak, where doctors are, at present, completely baffled). As wonderful as that is, he is more prone to illness in general, and viruses will also be more problematic for him than for the other Spark Plugs. We're currently awaiting test results to see if Tyler also has Celiac Disease, and we'll also have to get the rest of our family tested for genetic markers that may indicate the likelihood of anyone else developing T1D.
I know that the Lord is already preparing us for the future, whatever it may hold, just as He prepared us for everything we've recently faced. It really doesn't matter whether or not we'll be dealing with Celiac Disease or multiple T1D diagnoses. He is working out everything for our good and His glory, and knowing that brings the peace that surpasses any earthly peace we might have formerly known.
As a friend of mine likes to say, "God's got this," and that's all that really matters!