pham pharm

by Beth Ann Morgan

I am not a medical professional and am not giving medical advice. I’m a mother simply sharing the home system we developed in order to dispense our children’s medication in the most safe, sanitary, and systematic way possible.

Over the years, I’ve given up to 24 different medications, nebulizer treatments, vitamins, probiotics, etc. in one day. Keeping it all organized would have created a tremendous challenge if not for Christian. My handsome, in-house genius staged an area of our kitchen countertop for what we’ve fondly dubbed as our Phamily Pharmacy.

He thought of everything, cups full of syringes and Sharpies, breast milk labels and pumping supplies, hand sanitizer and paper towels. It was amazing to walk in after he’d prepared it for John’s initial discharge home and see it all ready-to-use. Not only did it make everything as clean and safe as possible for John, but it also gave me confidence that I could keep track of everything and focus on my baby, not organizing.

I also kept a log. Between tracking John’s tube feedings, Abby’s weights, several different medications, doses, times of dispensation, ordering refills, etc. it got crazy. Keeping the log seemed like a lot of work at the time, but I would do it all over again. I referred back to it whenever I needed to call the pharmacy, insurance company, or doctor.

Sometimes I was so tired, I needed to check and see when I last gave the medication. Giving it at the wrong time or incorrect dose, much less skipping it all together, could kill someone. God protected us, for it could so easily happen to anyone, especially a sleep-deprived parent.

Yes indeed, I am truly thankful.


mason jar marbles

by Beth Ann Morgan

Ever had one of those days with your kids when you realize you need a fresh strategy? I was talking to my friend at the playground on Friday. She’d had one of those days and broke into tears as she shared her concerns with me. I listened, relating to her on many levels as I am far from a perfect parent. And then I told her a lifesaver I had discovered roughly three years earlier.

Marbles and mason jars.

Prior to this miraculous discovery, I’d had many ultra-challenging days with my kids. Not that I don’t have them occasionally now (today was a whopper!), but marbles and mason jars have helped all of us tremendously.

My husband had told me on one such day that his childhood teacher, Mr. Wells, always kept two big jars on his desk with marbles in them. When the students behaved well, he would add marbles to the “good” jar, and if the marbles made their way up to the top, he would grant the class extra recess time. But if the students behaved poorly, Mr. Wells would pour marbles into the “bad” jar and adjust recess time accordingly.

“Did it work?” I asked.

“Extremely well,” my husband said. “We wanted to please him.”

It made sense. If it worked for Mr. Wells, perhaps it could work for me. I decided to give it a whirl. When we explained the system to the kids, we let them pick the reward they would receive once the good jar was filled. A special treat. Staying up late. A fun family outing. And then we explained that if the other jar filled first, they would lose the opportunity to earn that particular reward.

Wow! Overnight, the kids transformed from complaining and melting down to encouraging and sharing. It was amazing. Not that they suddenly became perfect, but the difference was marked. I could see they wanted to please me.   They not only received several rewards, but they also felt good about making wise behavior choices.

Who would have thought so many miracles would be birthed in a mason jar?



By Beth Ann Morgan

When the ambulance arrives in the middle of the night, you know that the loved one on the stretcher will receive everything they need upon their arrival at the hospital. The paramedics bundle their patient with blankets and slowly wheel the gurney toward the door. You have two minutes to throw a few things into a bag.

What should you pack?

We got really good at this. Our first experience came only three days after Abby’s initial discharge home. She’d awakened to nurse around 3:00 am but had seemed drowsier than usual. I took note of it, but after all, it was 3:00 am.

She woke again at 5:30 am with a soft wail, and I got nervous. I tried to nurse her but quickly found she couldn’t breathe and nurse simultaneously. Her tired blue eyes stared up at me.

“Something’s wrong.”

My husband flew out of bed and grabbed the pulse oximeter. Sure enough, she was 61 (normal is 95-100, normal for Abby at this point was 80-85). We scrambled around, the phone in one hand, baby in another. Oxygen. Overnight bag. Grammy coming for the kids.

Our little Corolla rocketed down the back roads faster than any ambulance could have transported us. Looking back, we now know that if we’d waited for the paramedics, we would have lost her that night.

Every second counted.

In the two minutes I took to pack for myself, I jammed my cell phone into my coat pocket and threw a phone charger, medicine, a sweatshirt, and underwear into Abby’s already over-stuffed diaper bag. When the helicopter came, I had to leave the bag behind in order to make the weight limit to ride with Abby.

I didn’t bat an eye. “Let’s Go.”

Nothing in that bag mattered more.

I’m posting a list of TEN ITEMS TO PACK IN AN EMERGENCY of essentials that I’ve used, but your list will likely differ. This basic list is not all-inclusive, but if you’d like my full EMERGENCY PACK CHECKLIST, I’m happy to send it to you as part of the FAMILY CRISIS PLAN when you enter your email address. I also encourage you to prioritize all items in the event that you don’t have enough time to pack everything.

Occasionally the patient must forego the luxury of patience.




By Beth Ann Morgan

One reason I personally love sleep is the sweet closure it brings. Each dazzling sunset signals the end of one day, followed by the birth of the next, a blank page offering the possibility of yet another tomorrow. And even though the tremendous difficulties of yesterday may greet me with the dawn, the fact that God has brought me through one more day renews my strength to persevere minute by minute.

I remember a time when my youngest, Abigail, was medically critical. The situation was dire, and I had to keep going nearly round-the-clock for three nights in a row. As I went downstairs during the fourth night to get another box of diapers, the sun peeked over the horizon.

“NO!” I’d screamed. “No, no, NO!” Sobs overtook me as I collapsed with my box onto the sofa, my head in my hands. “It can’t be morning. It just can’t be!” Another day had come and gone, this one without any sleep at all.

How would I get through the day?

I could barely put one foot in front of the other, let alone do anything requiring cognitive skill. I did the only thing I knew to do. Pray.

“Please, God. Help me.”

Thankfully, God doesn’t require anything fancy. He answered all of those dark, desperate prayers I whispered in the wee hours of the morning. He gave me hope when there seemed so little to be had. He took care of me when I was so busy taking care of others that I neglected myself.

And He protected me on my commute to the hospital in Philadelphia time and time again. Just when my eyelids grew heavy, ideas would pop into my head, ideas I knew were from Him, not my exhausted brain.

I’ve collected my personal list of Ten Non-Caffeinated Ways to Fight Sleep Deprivation for use at the bedside, on the road, wherever and whenever I’m struggling to not only stay awake but also focused on the tasks at hand and the people I love.

I pray it helps you do the same – please feel free to pass it on.


Photo credit: a la Pinterest