Nurses’ Health Study Research Results

December, 2017

Nearly 30 years ago I decided to join the Nurses’ Health Study and complete a 30 minute questionnaire about my habits and life style every two years. In the beginning, I colored in the little circles in black pencil on a computerized answer sheet and mailed it back to them, but now I do it online. They have kept up with me through my many moves so I haven’t been lost in the shuffle. I am in the second cohort of thousands of nurses called NHS2. They now have a third group of younger nurses born on or after January 1, 1965. If you are a RN, LPN, or nursing student born then and would like to participate, please do your part to continue this wonderful ground breaking research and sign up at www.nhs3.org . They are especially recruiting male nurses. They have also recruited and followed the children of NHS2 nurses to see the maternal influence on their children as they age. They like to recruit nurses because we are reliable and honest in reporting our life style. All our years of charting about our patients is definitely a benefit to this research!

Physical Activity and Heart Disease in Women

Middle-aged and older women who are more physically active have significantly lower rates of coronary heart disease (CHD). Women who walked briskly for at least 2.5 hours per week saw a 35% lower risk of developing CHD.

Get your walking in!

NSAIDS and acetaminophen may increase risk of hearing loss in women

Two-thirds of women in their sixties suffer from hearing loss. Among 55,850 women in a subgroup, using NSAID (Ibuprofen, Motrin, Aleve are common over the counter names) for over 6 years was associated with a 10% increased risk of hearing loss. Use of acetaminophen (Tylenol is common brand name) for over 6 years showed a 9% increased risk of hearing loss. There was a 7% higher risk of hearing loss in women who used either of these more than two days per week. However, duration of use of aspirin was not associated with hearing loss. They are doing more research in this area.

Diet Quality and Physical Functioning

It is important to maintain physical function as we age. They compared those with the healthiest diets with less healthy diets and found the group with better diets were 13% less likely to develop physical impairment. Higher intake of fruits and vegetables, and lower intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, trans-fats, and sodium were associated significantly with less physical impairment as they aged. The strongest positive relations were found with increased intake of oranges, orange juice, apples, pears, romaine or leaf lettuce, and walnuts.

Gluten Free (GF) Diets

GF diets have increased in popularity due to concerns about celiac disease and gluten allergies. However, little research has been done to explore how GF diets impact people without celiac disease. NHS found that eating foods high in gluten from whole grains can be beneficial to health. Men and women with the highest levels of gluten intake had 20% lower risk of developing diabetes, and 15% less risk of developing coronary heart disease. Gluten intake did not lead to weight gain in people under age 65.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight

They examined which specific foods and eating patterns led to less weight gain and more weight gain as we age.

These foods were associated with less weight gain: tofu, soy, plain or artificially sweetened yogurt, seafood, fruit (especially blueberries, prunes, apples, pears strawberries, grapefruit, and avocados). Chicken without skin, replacing 1 serving daily of sugar sweetened beverage with coffee or water, vegetables (especially cauliflower, summer squash, string beans, broccoli, and green leafy vegetables), replacing 1 serving daily of fruit juice with coffee or water, eating nuts (especially peanut butter, peanuts, and walnuts).

Eat your fruits and veggies for your health!

These foods were associated with more weight gain: corn, processed meats, peas, chicken with skin, sugar-sweetened beverages, baked, boiled, or mashed potatoes, fruit juice, regular full-fat cheese.

The American Journal of Public Health published a special edition in September 2016 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Nurse’s Health Study which is still available.

I hope you will incorporate these findings into your own life style and instruct your patients so everyone can be healthier!

But even more important than physical health is spiritual health. I thank Jesus Christ that He has satisfied the deepest hunger of my heart. “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life; he that comes to Me shall never hunger, and he that believes on Me shall never thirst.” John 6:35

Jesus is the spiritual bread of life.

 

 

Advertisements

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, 2017

“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I Thessalonians 5:18

Dear Readers,

It seems hard to believe that I began writing this blog four years ago after attending a Christian writer’s conference. My goals in recording what God has taught me during nearly 40 years of nursing is to glorify Him, encourage Christian nurses, and reveal to young people what nursing is all about.  I pray godly Christians will enter the field with realistic expectations.

As many baby boomers like myself retire, we need young men and women to fill the ranks who will give compassionate excellent care to their patients from a heart filled with Christ’s love. Nursing was often a challenging and difficult occupation, but the rewards were great whenever I had the opportunity to point one of my patients to my dear Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank the Lord for each of you who come from over 130 countries around the world. When I began to write this blog, I didn’t know if anyone would ever read it, but nearly 7000 people have now discovered it. The main countries where you, my readers, reside are USA, Brazil, Canada, United Kingdom, Philippines, Germany, India, Australia, Italy, and France. Thank you for those of you who have told others about my blog. I’m hoping that I will have time to complete recording my nursing career journey over the next months.

I retired 18 months ago, but have been busy ever since with Spanish language school for seven months, relocating, and several travel trips thrown in there. People warned me that retirement could be busy, and I have found that to be the case! But it has been  enjoyable to make new friends in different corners of the world. I thank God for a good measure of health He has given me.

As we celebrate my favorite holiday here in the USA, Thanksgiving, I thank the Lord for each of you. I pray you will receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior if you have not already done so. If I can answer any questions you may have about salvation or pray for you specifically, please email me at pamela.aprn@gmail.com.   For those of you who are fellow believers, may you continue to grow in His grace and keep ” looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

thanksgiving

Geriatric Nurse Practitioner

April 25, 2005

I thank God for carrying me through the first three weeks of working as a geriatric Nurse Practitioner at the 500 bed nursing home. The insurance company assigned me to provide medical care for 32 residents who have enrolled in their program as an alternative to Medicare. Judy has worked for the company for awhile and is my excellent preceptor. After she orients me, they will move her to another facility in the state. I need to do an complete physical examination on each of my patients, type it into the insurance computer in their format, and then call the family member to introduce myself. I only have nine more physicals to finish by the end of the month. In May, I will do a shorter assessment on each patient and call the family with a quick update. If the patient has a new problem, the nursing staff calls me to assess the resident that day and treat the problem as quickly as possible.

So far, the only downside is that there is no air conditioning because the home was built in 1935. I feel sorry for the patients in the heat, especially on the top floors which are the hottest. My office doesn’t have any windows or air conditioning, so the medical director said I could do my charting in the doctor’s night shift room which is empty during the day and has a window air conditioner. I have enjoyed working with Dr. R. who is a board certified geriatrician and likes to teach me about geriatrics. My biggest adjustment is assessing the patients with advanced dementia (memory loss) who are unable to communicate their needs. I have to depend on the nurse’s assessment and input from family in addition to my physical assessment. The staff is wonderful in giving the residents activities to stimulate their memory.

May 3, 2005

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

I have a bad head cold after being at the nursing home for just one month and have already used up my sick time. We are not permitted to work with a respiratory infection because the elderly are susceptible to catch it resulting in serious complications. I’m just not sure I can work full-time anymore. God comforted me with I Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

Dear Lord, Thank You that this cold is a very little thing in light of eternity. Help me keep the big picture. If You want me to work today, put Your healing hand upon me. If not, I rest in You and trust in You. Thank You that You do all things well. Amen.

May 27, 2005

“For He shall deliver the needy when he cries; the poor also, and him that has no helper.” Psalm 72:12

God has so graciously been carrying me along at work and things are going more smoothly. I finished all 13 of the new patient’s physical examinations and 52 monthly visits plus all the sick visits for the month of May. I have now completed eight weeks of work at the nursing home.

My biggest concern right now is my vision which has become more blurry from all the long hours of charting on the computer. I saw an optometrist and she could not correct my left eye beyond 20/60 and said my left optic nerve doesn’t look right. I thank God that I don’t have a retinal detachment. My uncle went blind when he was about my age from retinal detachments.

June 1, 2005

After three hours of very uncomfortable eye tests with bright lights, the ophthalmologist said he couldn’t find any retinal or macular tears. He is referring me to a retinal specialist who can’t see me until August. Trudy, my dear friend who has battled glaucoma for many years, said that her eyes are in God’s hands. If she loses her sight, God will be her vision.

July 4, 2005

Two weeks ago a Nurse Practitioner (NP) at the insurance company resigned, so they assigned me to cover his patients in another nursing home as well as my own. So now I am responsible for 96 patients. When I interviewed for the position, they assured me that I would only have 70-80 patients. My new supervisor said this is their goal, but I’m the only one who is credentialed at the hospital which owns the second nursing home. I am so exhausted that I feel like I’m at the breaking point.

July 11, 2005

Mary, a NP at the main nursing home, told me there is a 32 hour position open that is not associated with the insurance company, and they want to recruit me for it! She also said the nursing home is losing money with the insurance company and will probably soon terminate their relationship. I like the administration at the nursing home, but have not had much support from the supervisors at the insurance company.

I interviewed with Dr R., and he offered me the position of 32 hours weekly with every Friday off, and full time benefits. He said they would bring me in at the top of the pay scale for Nurse Practitioners. This is such a gift from God!

Dear Lord, Thank You once again for Your wonderful deliverance and that You won’t test me above what I can bear.” Amen.

July 18, 2005

“Leaning on Jesus’ bosom.” John 13:23

God carried me through some grueling eye tests from the retinal specialist doctor. He strapped my head in a machine, put a magnifying glass straight on my eyeball, and then told me to look at a very bright light without moving. The tears were streaming down my face because it was so uncomfortable. Then I started silently thanking Jesus that He is the light of the world. I remembered the verse above and the wonderful hymn “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”.

The doctor said part of my vitreous (like jelly in my eye) is covering the retina like wrinkled plastic wrap. There is nothing he can do about it, so we’ll just “watch it”. My new glasses arrived this week and I am seeing so much better. Thank You, dear Lord, for my vision today!

I told Bee, one of my coworkers, that I know the Lord Jesus Christ will be my eyes if I go blind. She came up to me a few days later and said, “I wish I had your faith. I feel so guilty about not teaching my adopted son anything about religion.” I shared with her the good news about Jesus Christ and how much He loved her that He died on the cross for all our sins and rose again. He wants her to receive Him as her personal Savior. I also gave her some literature and a children’s Bible study for her son.

August 10, 2005

I thank the Lord for a refreshing vacation with two ladies from church at beautiful Lake Tahoe in California. What stunning mountain scenery! We even caught some fish in the sparkling deep lake. The nursing home becomes my new employer tomorrow!

The Lord gave me a refreshing vacation at beautiful Lake Tahoe in California.

Reflection

I enjoyed my next five years of working in geriatrics at the nursing home. Every day was a new experience and challenge as I progressed in my knowledge of assessing and treating older adults. I also learned that I needed to communicate clearly with the family members since the resident often couldn’t remember the information I gave them. Even though I didn’t stay with the insurance company very long, God used that to get me in the door at the nursing home and guided me to a much more manageable job with less stress.

Prayer for Our Veterans

Nurse Case Manager

I dialed the phone and on the third ring, an elderly man answered in a deep gravelly voice. “Hello?”

“Hi, Mr. G, I am your nurse case manager from the veterans’ clinic and work with your doctor. Your veterans’ clinic home care  nurse said that you came back to your assisted living apartment from the nursing home today, so Welcome Home!”

Mr. G. sadly replied, “I wish I was still in the nursing home. They were so nice to me there. I won’t take any pills until my nurse, Jane, comes here and puts them in my pill box!”

“Mr. G, I’m afraid the nurse from Medicare has to see you for a few weeks first until you are stable, and then Jane will be back.”

“But I don’t like the Medicare nurse! I love Jane. She’s wonderful! I fought in World War II for this country and gave this country the best years of my life. If it weren’t for guys like me, you would be speaking German or Japanese right now! I should be given the nurse I want! Why are you dumping me now???” he shouted into the phone.

I took a deep breath and prayed silently, “Dear Lord, give me the right words for this dear veteran. Help me to explain the rules to him.” “Mr. G, Jane is not allowed to see you twice a week like you need right now. She is only permitted to see you once or twice a month after you are stable for health maintenance visits. Please let the other nurse come to visit you for a few weeks, and then Jane will come back. If you don’t like the Medicare nurse, call me and I will ask the agency to send a different nurse.”

“Well, OK. If that’s how it has to be. I’m so lonely ever since my wife died and went to heaven to be with the Lord. I’ll be glad when I see the Lord Jesus Christ and her again. Thank you for your help, Pam. You’re OK! Could I tell you one more thing? God loves you, and so do I!”

My eyes filled with tears. “I love you too, Mr G.” I slowly hung up the phone and prayed,

Dear Father, Thank you for all our veterans who served our country. Thank You for the freedom I have in the USA. Bless and strengthen and protect our troops right now around the world. I pray that each one would look to you and receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Amen.

Thank You, Lord, for our Veterans!

Thank You, Lord, for our Veterans!

Reflection

Mr G. died the next year at the age of 93. I thank the Lord for him and our other veterans that I might enjoy the freedom I have here in the USA. As a nurse case manager working for the federal government, it was sometimes very challenging to explain the complex rules and insurance regulations of the various programs available to veterans. As we honor our veterans here in the USA on November 11, I pray God would bless and strengthen them.

I hope you watch the following video about a dear World War 2 veteran, Harry Walmer, who gave much for his country. I have had the pleasure of meeting him and thanking him for his service. Despite his 100% disability from the war, he continues to rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ and looks forward to that day when he will go to heaven to be with his Savior.

Harry Walmer story

I also pray that we would all be good soldiers of the cross for the Lord Jesus Christ as we are in a spiritual warfare daily. May we be able to echo with the Apostle Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8

Job Transition Again

Job Transition Again

February 23, 2005

“I will sing of Thy power, yea, I will sing aloud of Thy mercy in the morning; for Thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble.” Psalm 59:16

Dear Lord, Let me be occupied with You today and not myself. Thank You that You dwell in my heart and have given me a new song. Thank You that You will do this job through me today. Not I, but Christ. Amen.

Dr. S., my boss, told me that the Chief Executive Officer of the Rehab Organization was going to be let go because they are so far in debt. I asked the Lord if He wants to look for another job, and He opened the door for me to have three job interviews this week with the largest health insurance company in the USA. They place a Nurse Practitioner (NP) in each long term care nursing home to assess the residents monthly who enroll with them rather than Medicare. The goal is to prevent and treat problems quickly in the nursing home and prevent hospitalizations. Their NPs  now work in 13 states. The company is even taking their model to England. They are doing well financially, and their stocks are selling for $90 a share. The salary and benefits are good, but I would have to work 40 hours per week rather than my current 30 hours per week.

I observed Kathy, one of the Insurance NPs, work at a nursing home yesterday. She worked for the company in another state for 5 years, left for 2 years, and just returned to work in this state the past month. She spoke highly of them and told me the positive and negative things about the company. It would be exciting to get in on the ground floor in this state since they just started here last July. So I’m asking God to make it crystal clear what He would have me to do. I thank Him that He goes before me. I want His choice – not mine. He knows that I am frail as dust, and I want Him to use my life for His glory and honor.

March 3, 2005

The insurance company offered me the job last Friday and I accepted. The manager is placing me in a beautiful 500 bed nursing home 20 minutes south of my home. The commute should not be too hectic since it is all highway, and I will be driving opposite the rush hour traffic. I told Dr. S. and the rehab staff that I am leaving, and they are sad to see me go. He and my sister both said the insurance company does not have a good reputation among health care providers. So I’ll see how it all works out. I am trusting the Lord to guide me with His eye.

20171104_151017

My new job location at a 500 bed nursing home.

March 9, 2005

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless You abide in Me.” John 15:4

Dear Lord, Thank You that I am seated with You in heaven right now positionally. Help me look down from Your point of view. I look forward to seeing what You will do in and through me today. Cause me to rest in You and relax and let You do it all through me because I AM NOTHING. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

I stopped in the nursing home and Lee, NP, who now works for the insurance company, gave me a nice tour. It is a gorgeous clean facility with rehab, long term care, and three dementia units. They also have radiology (Xray) and pharmacy in the facility and medical staff on site 24/7. They will assign me to work on one of the dementia units and one of the long term care units. My caseload will be about 80 residents who I will assess monthly and as needed if they have a new medical problem.

I spoke with Dr. S. and I offered to work one Saturday each month on the rehab unit at the hospital which he gladly accepted. This should help me keep in touch with patients who are improving rather than declining and with what is happening in the hospital world so I don’t lose all my skills. I thank God for the health He has given me so far.

March 31, 2005

“Leaning on her Beloved.” Song of Solomon 8:5 Thank You, dear Lord, for the delight of leaning on You, my Beloved. Carry me through this time of transition. Thank You that Your grace and strength are sufficient. Amen

Today was my last day at the hospital, and it was very emotional as I tearfully said goodbye to everyone. They gave me such a nice party.

April 3, 2005

My friend Anna and I had a delightful few days touring Philadelphia. The famous Liberty Bell was much smaller than I thought it would be. The trolley tour through the historical part of the city was interesting. This is where the USA all began in 1776! Then I took a decorative painting course which was rather intense but fun to create new things. My new job starts tomorrow!

liberty bell

The famous Liberty Bell from 1776 in Philadelphia was smaller than I anticipated.

painted mug

This is one item I learned to paint at a fun course I took!

Reflection

And so God led me to learn another specialty in nursing – geriatrics. I was thankful He opened this door into long term care because it was less stressful than working in the hospital. The rehab unit at the hospital closed within the following months because of financial difficulties, so once again God provided and delivered me. It is truly wonderful to trust in the Lord and follow Him!

Pressing Onward

January 2, 2005

“…they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11

As I reread my journal for January 1, 2004 I realized how differently the year turned out than I anticipated. I was preparing to go to China at this time a year ago, and my dear friend was dying of lung cancer. Two knee surgeries, adrenal collapse, and missing 18 weeks of work has resulted in my job being on the line again. 2004 was one of the most difficult years of my life. But as a sister in Christ said at the New Year’s Eve service, the hurdles get bigger every year, but God is always there to meet me. He has carried me every step of the way for which I praise Him. So I must press onward and forward to know Him better and set my affections on Him in heaven above. God has given me many valleys so that I may grow and lean harder on Him. He doesn’t want me to look at the trials, but simply behold Him. I have no goals this year but to keep pressing on toward the mark, be a better student of the Word of God, and anticipate His soon coming.

Today at 4 a.m. I got up to get a drink of water. I had a terrible esophageal spasm that felt like someone was strangling me. It made me so dizzy that I fainted and woke up on my left side on the bathroom floor. I lay there a few minutes until the dizziness passed. I was able to scoot over on my bottom to the commode, roll over on my right knee, and pull myself up. I saw stars and had a bad headache. I thought I had a migraine headache for about 30 minutes until I felt the lump on my head. I checked my blood pressure and it was only 94/60 (quite low) standing. My head felt fuzzy, so I called the ambulance to take me to the emergency room. They checked me out and said everything was normal. My nurse friend who works night shift at the hospital brought me back home. At times like this, I wish I didn’t live alone, but God knows and took care of me once again.

January 15, 2005

“As the deer pants for the water, so my soul pants for Thee, O God.” Psalm 42:1

I finished physical therapy yesterday for my knee replacement that I had done November 8. I still have a little “lag” in my left leg which means I still can’t quite straighten it all the way. Climbing stairs is becoming easier. It’s still difficult for me to carry groceries into my kitchen, so I’m going to have them delivered through the winter. We have been having horrible ice, snow, rain, sleet, and fog storms all week. I’m looking forward to going to Florida next week to visit my parents before I return to work.

I had a number of medical tests to determine why I had the esophageal spasm and they said it was from acid reflux. So now I take medicine to reduce the acid and sleep on a wedge pillow to keep my head higher than my stomach. I thank God I haven’t had any more of those painful spasms since doing this.

I just read a chapter from F.B. Meyer’s book about the apostle Paul. Paul endured so much as a prisoner, being beaten, then shipwrecked, and finally arriving in Rome. “Do not fret at the limitation and disabilities of your life. They are required as the make weight and constitute your opportunity. Storm and shipwreck, centurion and sea captain, soldier and fetter, Caesarea and Rome — all are part of the plan, all work together for good, all are achieving God’s ideal and making you what in your best hours you have asked to become.”

Dear Lord, Help me not to shrink from these trials of weariness, pain, and weakness that You have ordained for me. Please carry me today. Thank You that Your ways are higher than my ways. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

February 5, 2005

I thank the Lord for the pleasant week He gave me with my parents in Florida. My dad is becoming more forgetful, but he and my stepmom still won when we played word games! We especially enjoyed breakfast cooked on the griddle in the center of our table at DeLeon Springs State Park, and seeing the giant manatee at Blue Springs State Park where they spend the winter in warmer waters.

DeLeon Springs State Park, one of my favorite places in Florida.

 

We cooked our own pancakes on the griddle in the middle of our table! So delicious….

 

The giant manatee, or sea cows, spend the winter at Blue Springs State Park in Florida.

My first week back at work went fairly well. It was very busy, but God carried me through. Dr. E., the main boss, is giving me two months of grace period and then they will evaluate Dr. S. and my billings quarterly. The goal is to bill $28,000 per month which is reasonable. If we don’t reach the goal, they will decrease my salary by 15%. If we exceed the goal, we will both receive a bonus. They are also moving my desk from the basement to the middle of the nurse’s station so I can be more visible on the unit. They also want me to teach in-services monthly for the staff, do emergency drills quarterly, and work on three research projects. I also will join trauma rounds of the trauma unit once weekly. I’m trusting the Lord to give me the strength to do it all in 30 hours weekly.

Reflection

It is rather difficult for me to reread my journal from this challenging time in my life. How I thank God that He won’t test us above what we are able to bear and that “underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27) when He carries us through the valleys. Dear Reader, if You are going through a valley in your life right now, I pray that you will fix your eyes upon Him and that He will encourage you to keep taking one step at a time along the path, knowing that He wants to teach you many wonderful lessons in the darkness.

Knee Rehabilitation

November 16, 2004

I thank the Lord for the progress I’m making here in the rehabilitation center after my knee replacement on November 8. I now only need Percocet for the pain every three hours which my stomach can tolerate right after I eat a snack. It was great to sleep 7 hours last night! I did better in Physical Therapy (PT) today as they walked me on a straight cane rather than the walker, but I am still a little wobbly. The Occupational Therapist (OT) taught me how to put on my support hose with a sock aide so now I can shower and dress myself totally independently. They even had me marching and raising my knees high! I met the recreational therapist and enjoyed doing an oil painting which distracted me from the pain for awhile. She said my church choir could come here to sing for the residents any time they like. I so appreciate the visitors from church and their sweet encouragement to me. I never realized before how much visitors help.

The oil painting I enjoyed doing in rehab which helped distract me from my knee pain.

November 21, 2004 – Sunday

I’m awake for now so I want to record snap shots from the past few days. I am now able to go 5-6 hours between percocet pills for the pain. At my request, they added magnesium and calcium to my medications. An hour after I took them, the deep burning pain went away and I could walk much more easily! I missed church so much this morning, so I turned on the TV and watched a couple church services. My nursing assistant, Angela, walked in and said she enjoyed hearing these men preach and that she had received Jesus Christ as her personal Savior.

I asked her if she knew of any other patient who would like to sing, pray, and read the Bible with me? She said she would think about it. Thirty minutes later she brought Teresa to my room and the three of us had such a precious time together. We sang “How Great Thou Art”, “Rejoice in the Lord” and then I read Romans 5 from the Bible. Teresa had some questions about eternal security, so I tried to help her with that. Then we sang “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” and “It Is Well With My Soul” and Angela closed us in prayer. Teresa has cancer and will meet with her doctor and family tomorrow. She asked me to come to her room tomorrow and sing hymns again with her.

November 24, 2004 – Thanksgiving Eve

Home sweet home!! Mary brought me home yesterday afternoon. We enjoyed the most wonderful dinner together that she brought me. I slept fairly well last night, but it’s a little tough to get out of bed. Today PT comes. A friend will take me to the Thanksgiving service at church tonight and another friend has invited me to her house for Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year! Two other families invited me for Thanksgiving dinner, so I asked them to bring their left overs on Friday and Saturday nights so I have three Thanksgiving dinners in a row and fellowship with my friends. Dear Lord, You are so wonderful. Thank You so much for saving my soul, for Your loving kindness, and for all the help from my brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen.

December 8, 2004

I had a good post operative visit with Dr. R. He was pleased with my progress of being able to bend my knee to 100 degrees now, do straight leg raises, and climb steps with 50% of my weight on the hand rails.  He said I could go to aqua therapy since my incision is well healed. I can also drive again even though I’m still taking Percocet for the pain.  He wants me to take the entire 12 weeks off from work so I heal well. If I go back earlier, I’ll be stiff, sore and swollen and may have a setback. My home PT showed me how to do all the water exercises at the local indoor pool, so that will save me money. I only pay $33 per month at the pool compared to $20 each PT session three times a week.

When I got in the warm whirlpool, it felt so delightful that I almost cried tears of joy. I am exactly one month out today from my surgery. We had an ice storm yesterday, so I had to cancel my endocrinology appointment. I don’t dare walk on the ice or snow yet because I certainly don’t want to slip and fall.

December 18, 2004

It has been a rough week. I’m having so much pain at night that I can’t sleep. I decided to go to outpatient PT to see if she can help me with the pain. Kimberly, PT evaluated me and said I still have swelling, I’m doing too many exercises, and I need to rest more. She instructed me to only do 2 sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise just once daily in the pool or on land. She reminded me that a knee replacement is extremely painful and takes time to heal. I’m thankful that tomorrow I complete my twice daily Lovenox shots in my abdomen to prevent blood clots. My stomach is all bruised and tender from the shots. Dr. S. mailed me two fun books for Christmas. It was so kind of him to remember me.

Reflection

And so ended 2004. It was a year of stretching with two surgeries, an international trip to China, and adrenal collapse. But through it all, I could see how much God stretched me and caused me to know Him better through these trials. Truly He filters everything through His loving hands for His glory and our good.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing this, that the testing of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect  (mature) and entire, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4