By Ben Campbell
This was a complete SHOCK to me and my wife as we sat in the Emergency room at Arkansas Children’s Hospital just before 7 o’clock in the morning. We had been up for over 24 hours, we were tired, we were living life in a blur, we were in disbelief. Our five-year-old has been completely healthy his entire life. We’ve never had blood sugar issues with him. He has hardly even been sick – other than ear infections a fews years back. Now, there is a different diagnosis – one we had no idea was heading our way.
Type 1 diabetes in an autoimmune disease where your pancreas does not create enough insulin to regulate the sugar in your body. In other words, your body when type 1 diabetes sets has much more sugar than it should. One resources describes it in this way:
“Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are mistakenly destroyed by the body’s immune system. T1D seems to have a genetic component and can be diagnosed early in life but also in adulthood. Its causes are not fully known, and there is currently no cure. People with T1D are dependent on injected or pumped insulin to survive.”“Diabetes Basics”, JDRF, accessed April 22, 2021, https://www.jdrf.org/t1d-resources/about/.
When we arrived at our local hospital’s Emergency Room, our son’s sugar was 744. For those who might not know much about your blood sugar, normal blood sugars range anywhere from 80 to 100. In other words, our son should have been in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) – a term for the overabundance of sugar in your body that is having difficulty excreting itself. Of course, this is where the treatment of insulin comes into the picture. Insulin helps to regulate this entire process of sugar staying a low levels in your body. But, this whole process was a wake up call for us – we had no idea this was even coming.
Our son, however, was a superhero! In fact, we had minimal fits and crying (though we had our share). He did so well with two IVs, one COVID swab, and even an ambulance ride. Of course, this was on top of the finger pokes and insulin injections. He was such a trooper!
The miracle of this entire week has been how we ever ended up “catching” the diagnosis at all. We had noticed Beckett having a “few” (and I mean VERY few) symptoms like excessive thirstiness and excessive bathroom breaks, but these were IT. Beckett had no other symptoms. No headaches, bellyaches, or blurry vision. My wife was working at our local hospital and came home from her shift. While she was eating dinner, I had told her of an accident Beckett had at school earlier that day. She proceeded to say, “Let’s just check his sugar to make sure.” And, of course, you know the rest.
How in the world do you explain this? What made my wife think to check our son’s sugar? The only explanation is the Almighty, all-powerful, all-knowing God. There is NO other explanation. Only the Lord could have placed this instinctive action in my wife’s mind to check his sugar. It was a God-ordained instinct. In fact, all the doctors and nurses kept asking and asking the question, “What made you check his sugar?” She just looked at them and said, “I don’t know, other than God.”
What Have We Learned?
So, after a two-night stay at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, what have we learned?
- Life is ever-changing. One of the major implications this past week has taught us is that life can change in a moment’s notice. Our lives changed in less than 24 hours – actually, less than 12. Though life change is difficult to swallow sometimes, it does, however, tend to make us stronger and (for Christians) more like Jesus. In fact, the Lord Jesus often uses these types of situations to grow us and make us more like Him (James 1:1-2).
- This world is cursed. Have you ever really wondered how the world got this way – that is, wicked and evil and frustratingly worrisome? Obviously, we all question this often, because of our experiences with the cursedness of this world. But, we as Christians should not be surprised by the fallen world in which we live. In fact, we should have a better grasp on it because of what the Bible says about it. This world is evil, but one day Jesus will redeem it to good.
- We under-appreciate healthcare workers. We cannot say enough about the staff of Arkansas Children’s Hospital – they were phenomenal. They were quick to affirm our care for Beckett and tell us that “This was not our fault – this thing just sets in.” Healthcare workers are a good gift from God’s common grace to mankind. Thank God for modern medicine and those who study it. Without it, our family would have been in a totally different situation.
- Diabetes is a wicked disease. This disease is absolutely wicked. For the rest of his life, my son will be 100% dependent on insulin in order to stay healthy and live a flourishing life. If it were not for insulin, our son would not live. His blood glucose would put him in a comatose state. Friends, he’s five years old. He has not even been to kindergarten yet. He’s not learned how to read, nor has he learned how to spell (though he is VERY close). I say this to get my point across – my son has barely lived his life. His life is just beginning. In all reality, diabetes could have taken our son from us.
- God gives good gifts! BUT praise God for modern medicine! In His grace, He has provided all kinds of resources and treatments to manage our diseases and our sicknesses. Because of God’s common grace, my son can live a completely normal life. He can do anything he wants to do, except join the military.
- There is hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ. If I were to tell you what sustained us throughout the past week, it would be the hope our family has in Jesus Christ. How else can you explain the reason my wife thought to check our son’s blood sugar? The exceptional medical care? The support system we’ve experienced over the past week? All of this has confirmed to our family that our God is faithful and sovereign and is in control over everything this world throws at you.
If I were to tell you something we’ve learned over the past week, it is that God is sovereign and He has all things under His control. You can trust this truth.