Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Divine Providence

In Hebrew we have a term called

"Hashgacha Pratis".

It means

"Divine Providence".

Loosely translated - it's G-d's will.

On Sunday, Hun went out of town. Hun goes out of town often, here and there, but not typically on Sunday. I absolutely loathe when Hun travels away on Sunday.

Hun is an extremely hard worker. He works incredibly long hours and I appreciate it, but he is a workaholic.

I will not state outright on my blog what hours he is away, but I am a single parent when my kids wake and need to get ready for school and I am a single parent when they need supper and to be put to bed. So when Sunday comes around, that is my day.

NO! Not MY day for my selfish self. It's my day to get things done that I can not get to during the week because I am so focused on the children. Such things as, laundry, cleaning, hanging clothing that has been sitting in the laundry basket all weekend.... you get the point. I do however, NOT get out of bed until 9 am on Sundays.

My kids have swim lessons, so Hun takes the older three to the local community center, Bam goes in for his morning nap, and I get to work. After Hun returns, I leave him in the house with the kids and go out running. (I am currently training for another 1/2 marathon)

My kids have been taking swimming lessons for a few seasons already, and I can not remember the last time I was the one who took them. I had no choice this past Sunday, but to rearrange my day, let certain things go and reluctantly drag myself out of bed, way before 9 am.

I am not a morning person in the first place and even though I somehow manage every other day of the week, Sunday was tough.

So takes the first session of swim which starts at 10:15 and ends 11:15. I already arranged for a lovely friend to take her to that swim session to make it slightly easier on myself, and then I would meet her there with the other kids when she was done. I also had to take Bam with to swimming, which is not usually the case for Hun.

To make my morning more enjoyable, Ate decided to throw one of his "I don't want to swim" tantrums. He used to go swimming just fine and one week (with Hun) abruptly threw a tantrum at the pool, that many people were witness to, adamantly refusing to swim. Long story short, I think he was traumatized by one swim instructor who is less than warm and friendly. Leelah - the most amazing swim instructor who has been there for years, but teaches the stronger swimmers in the deep end, took it upon herself week after week to get Ate in the water, even wearing a life vest, in her group that Ro happens to be in. But it's still always a struggle with Ate.

So I said to Ate, who was screaming at an octave off the charts, that we would just pack his swim stuff up in case he changes his mind. His response,

So - we'll see how that works out.

Every Sunday I put the kids swim stuff together and pack another bag of some snacks so that while the kids wait for the other to complete the sessions they have what to snack on. Because Ro and Ate would not be at swimming until it was actually time for their lesson, I was about to forgo packing up snacks. But at the last minute, for some reason I changed my mind and quickly threw string cheese, pretzel rods, and a container of the baby's "fruit puffs" into a bag. I put diapers, wipes and a bottle with powdered formula and a bottle of water in my purse, got the kids in the car, and drove off in the pouring rain to swim lessons.

When we got to the locker room, Ro changed herself and I had to work on Ate a bit more. Babysteps - I kept thinking.

"Ate, how about we just get your swim stuff on, just in case..."

"Okaaaaaay, but I NOT GOING SWIMMING!"

I put his bathing suit on and we go to the pool. So is there and she goes to the locker room to change and decided to watch an indoor baseball game in the gym (rained IN, I guess).

When we get to the pool, Leelah sees Ate and says,

"Ate, why don't you get a life vest and come join us?"


So I say, as I coax him towards the hanging life vests,

"Ate, Mommy doesn't get to see you swim, I really want to see how you swim so nicely."


As I grab a life vest off the line, I notice one of the biggest cockroaches near a woman's foot and point it out to her. At this point she goes screaming and Ate can't get to the other side of the pool quick enough (which happens to be the deep end, where we needed to go).

Thanks to the (now smushed) cockroach, Ate decided it must be safer IN the water than out, and he has his life vest on and is with Leelah.

The duration of the hour had me sitting on a bench with the cutest naked baby (I removed his clothing due to the heat and humidity in the pool area), clapping, waving and cheering for Ate EVERY time he jumped in the water and swam, and occasionally to Ro as well, and also noticing one other woman there.

I knew who she was, from my community. She is a few years younger than me. I noticed her for a couple of reasons.

1) I knew she used to be extremely overweight and I noticed she was quite thin now.

2) She was wearing a turtleneck and leggings under a skirt at the pool and a heavy cap on her head and I was getting hot just looking at her. I was in a t-shirt and skirt with bare legs and a light bandanna covering my hair and I was sweating just from the humidity.

3) She seemed to have a look of concern on her face and kept changing her position, standing, sitting, squatting ...

But most of the time I was focused on the baby that would have liked to jump out of my arms into the pool, and the boy who was happily swimming - THANK G-D.

Swimming ended at 12:05 and I gathered Ro and Ate and went into the locker room to get them dressed. So showed up and was trying to hold Bam on her lap sitting on a very narrow bench, but I could see he was wiggling a lot, and tried to rush to dress the other kids so I could take him.

But I was interrupted by a woman. It was the woman who I noticed before, by the pool. I will call her Anne.

Anne approached me and asked me,

"Umm .... do you .... umm .... would you .... do you .... maybe .... have some .... umm ... food I could have?"

Right away I knew something was not right.

I did not see her child near her, I did not even know who her child was, boy or girl? Was he/she out of the pool?

She was diaphoretic (sweating profusely). Was that due to sitting at the pool in heavy clothing?

Her speech was slurred and slow. Does she always talk that way? Meaning, does she have some sort of mental/psychological break that causes her to speak this way?

Remember, I don't really know her.

"Are you okay?"

"I .... ummm .... I'm not sure."

She was not completely coherent.

I said,
"First of all, sit down."

I had her sit on the bench and lean her head down.

I grabbed my bag of snacks, the one that I was so close to NOT bringing with me, and handed her a pretzel rod.

I was concerned for her, but also her child, because I had not seen the child with her at this point.

After gathering all my information, including the fact that I knew she was once overweight and now was thin. She was sweating, pale, shaking and her eyes were fixed and she seemed to be just on the edge of some disorientation, I asked,

"Are you diabetic?"

She first responded,

"I always bring food ....... I brought some fruit ..... it's in my car."

"I think you might be having hypoglycemia."

"Yes," she said.

"Do you have a child here?"

"Uhh, yes ...... here, somewhere."

She was eating the pretzels at this point, and a boy walked up wrapped in a towel just then.

I asked him,

"Is this your Mommy?"

He nodded.

I did not want him to get scared so I just told him that his Mommy got very hot at the pool and she just had to rest for a moment.

At this time, many things were going on at once and I was beginning to feel pulled, but trying to focus on her.

So could no longer hold Bam, because he was wiggling too much, so I told her to put him on the floor. The locker room floor is not typically where you want to put your baby, but that was the least of my concerns right now. Ate and Ro still needed help getting dressed, and were asking for snacks as well. I also wanted to get her son's clothing and help him get dressed.

Another woman who had a child at the swim lessons had returned to the locker room and handed Anne a coke and then immediately walked away. This told me that Anne had already said "something" to this other woman that caused her to bring the coke. However, the fact that the woman just handed it to her and walked away meant that woman did not utilize the same skills I did to assess the situation as dire requiring someone to remain with Anne. Anne had no idea when she walked over to me that I was actually a nurse.

As Anne was eating the pretzel and drinking the coke, she became slightly more coherent and I asked her if there was someone for me to call, otherwise I would need to straight out call the paramedics. She called her mother, but I was not sure if she was actually getting the message across. She then said something about her father coming but she needed to call him. She dialed the phone and I spoke to her father telling him that his daughter could not drive herself and her son home at this time and the gist of what was going on. I told him I would help finish getting his Grandson changed and would get her upstairs to the door and stay with her until he arrived. He said he would be there in about five minutes.

I quickly finished getting everyone changed and Anne was well enough to stand up and get upstairs, where I sat her down. She was still weak but I was able to talk to her a bit more about the situation.

She told me that she used to have high blood pressure and high sugar and was overweight and she took Glucophage (diabetic oral medication) and lost a lot of weight. Her sugars came down but she was losing too much weight so the Doctors told her to stop taking Glucophage. Now her sugars were low and she had monitoring instruments (at home) and keeps her sugars stable only with diet (no insulin) and trys to eat regularly and take food, like fruit with her when she is out.

I asked her if this has happened to her before. She said it never happened to this degree. She asked me if being by the pool could have any influence. I said, the only thing that may make a difference is that the temperature by the pool along with your heavy dress may have caused you to burn more calories (like with exercise), and in that sort of situation you would need to be prepared to take in more sugar, to make up for the sugar burned.

I was still unclear about whether or not she was officially diagnosed as diabetic, or just hypoglycemic, but it seemed like she was unsure as well, and was never given enough information or education on the situation.

At this point I did tell her I was a nurse. I told her that because of her condition she should

a) Always carry her sugar testing instruments with her. In a situation like this, she should test her sugar, eat something and then test about 15 minutes later and log the information to bring back to her Doctor.

b) Always have the food, or juice on her being. It should not have been left in the car.

c) Get herself a bracelet that identifies her condition and wear it all the time. If I had found her passed out on the locker room floor and called the paramedics, no one would have known why she was unconcsious or how to immediately revive her. A bracelet would have told paramedics to test her sugar and they would have given her intravenous glucose injection which could easily revive her immediately.

d) she must call her Doctor immediately and have further testing and further education on her condition.

I also told her father all the previous information because she was still shaken and I could not be certain how much information she was taking in.

Her father asked her if this happened before and she also replied that it never happened to this degree. I told him that a few more minutes and I might have found her in "Insulin Shock" (she does not take insulin, but her low sugar would have caused the same effect). His response told me that he also did not have a clear understanding, because he told me that he thought it only happened to HYPERglycemics.

She said that she was starting to feel so lightheaded and had cloudy vision (halo effect - like seeing circles over your eyes). That typically happens just before someone passes out.

I was now comfortable leaving her with her father and I gathered up my kids and left.

I realized then - the "Hashgacha Pratis" (Divine Providence)

A) I am never, ever at swimming with my kids, Hun is the one who takes him, and obviously he would have been in another locker room and his lack of knowledge in this regard would have given him no input.

B) She could have walked up to anyone else in the locker room. In fact she did. And that person (only slightly helpful) walked away to get the soda without first making sure she was in a safe environment with someone else. And then returned with a soda, but only handed it to her and walked away without making sure she was going to remain okay. I know she was trying to be kind and helpful and did not know how dire the situation was. But even if I was not a nurse and did not recognize exactly what was going on, I still would not have left until I knew she was okay to potentially drive herself and her son, etc....

C) In the end though, it was me that she came to, and I was able to give her information that she needs so she does not end up in this predicament again. And if she G-d forbid does end up in the same situation, she needs a tell tale sign so that she would receive the proper help.

It was also not so convenient to have my kids standing around, but I realized that they, especially my older girls, had received a valuable lesson as well. That when we recognize someone is in trouble, we need to go all out to help them. And we need to make sure that EVERYTHING is okay before we walk away.

I have no doubt, that I was meant to be there, exactly when I was. And hopefully Anne will be safer in the long term for it.

But I am still going to send Hun back to do the swim lessons next Sunday.


8 have shown Orah a little love:

Orah said...

screaming cockroach woman here! i left the locker room before you (pickup from indoor baseball game) so i missed this all, but am very impressed with how you handled the entire situation- i doubt i would have been able to help as much as you did. hashgacha pratis indeed.

gianna said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
adinab said...

ok, before we get into how scary that whole scenario is, i have to talk abt that cockroach-EEWWWWWW! Those things totally freak me out. And by the pool where pple are barefoot????? DISGUSTING!

ok, now that that's done with. That scenario is pretty scary. Eric's a diabetic-who take glucophage (or however you spell it) and being that he's a horrible eater and not consistent with when he eats, his sugar often drops and he needs to take sugar tablets and kind of rest on the couch or in bed until it gets back to normal. I wonder of she was having an episode like this. a lot of diabetics don't realize how important it is for them to eat regularly. it IS really lucky you were there. most pple wouldn't have known what to do. orah bueler you're my hero!!

adinab said...

oh, and by the way, thanks for calling me lovely. you're pretty cute yourself-and it was cobi's indoor game she was watching with estee.

that's it. i'm done now.

Heidi @ Tayterjaq's Rebels said...

You are amazing! I don't think I could have been that calm and helpful and I have experience with episodes like that. I can remember these incidents often with my husband. When he was first diagnosed with diabetes, he was on some kind of medicine to help. Within a year he had it under control to the point of not needing the medicine anymore but we didn't know he used to pass out all the time. Not fun!

Candice said...

That was an awesome story. Good job Orah!

You were definitely in the right place at the right time.

Melissa E. said...

Wow, you knew just what to do. Good thing you were there! That woman must've been scared--I get hypoglycemic, too, and it is very freaky. Mine is post-prandial hypoglycemia (after eating), and stems from RNY Bariatric surgery, at least as far as they can tell. Scariest thing in the world, to know you can't stand up and that if you don't eat something you'll pass out!

Rayli said...

kinda reminds me of my near fainting episode in Miami. thank god you were there to take care of her. i totally would have stayed too.

btw, there is never jut ONE cockroach. ew. now i have to think about that every day when i go there. gross.