College of Nursing, home care nurse

Home Care in the Cemetery

Fall Quarter, 1976 – Senior in College of Nursing

I had a wonderful quarter of working in Public Health with the County Board of Nursing. They assigned me to care for a family of ten Laotian refugees and a pregnant lady who needed prenatal care. My RN preceptor showed me how to assess them, watched me do it correctly, and then turned me loose to visit them weekly by myself the rest of the quarter.  After the Laotian family escaped from the communist takeover, the Catholic Church brought them to Columbus, Ohio. They placed the family in the empty caretaker’s house at the rear of the large Catholic cemetery outside the city limits.

I visited the family at night who lived behind the cemetery.

I visited them at night after the father came home from work since he was the only one who could speak some English. I asked God to give me courage as I drove through the spooky dark cemetery to their house isolated in the woods. When I entered, they looked at me with suspicion before resuming their dinner of rice and vegetables. Weariness marked their faces. I examined each one of them and took each one’s history using the father as the interpreter. They all suffered from parasites and lack of food when they first arrived in the USA. The doctor diagnosed the grandfather with tuberculosis and took his medications daily. At each visit, we became more comfortable with each other and their health improved. I never discovered much about their story due to the language barrier. I wish I could have shared the good news about Jesus’ love for them, but none of them could read English.

The Lord has laid a burden on my heart to minister to German-speaking people in some way after I graduate. I asked the Army Nurse recruiter to come to my dorm room to explain what it was like to be an Army nurse as a way to go to Germany. But she said there were no guarantees as to where I would be stationed. If I was sent to Germany, I would need to live on base with the other nurses and work rotating shifts in the American hospital. A Christian friend who is in the Air Force and stationed in Germany wrote a long letter discouraging me from joining the Army. God did not give me peace about joining.

Then I heard about a scholarship to Germany where the University chose one student a year to study abroad. I applied but did not get an interview, so God closed another door. I’m learning to wait on the Lord. I read with delight Isaiah 30:18.

And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you; for the Lord is a God of justice; blessed (happy) are all they that WAIT for Him. (KJV)

Dear Lord, Help me to wait patiently upon You as to where You will have me to work when I graduate. I trust in You to provide a job and guide me to a place where I can be used by You. Amen.

I also took an interesting German history course that helped me understand the culture better. For my third course, I audited German Scientific Writings to review my grammar. Dr. G, the professor, made many sarcastic remarks about being “born again”. One morning I awoke at 5 a.m. thinking about him and knew I would not have any peace until I spoke with him about his soul. After much prayer and reading in II Chronicles 20:15  that “the battle is not yours, but God’s, ” I went trembling to his office. After I shared the gospel with him, he verbally ripped apart the Bible and Jesus Christ for the next 30 minutes. He gave me no opportunity to say anything else, but I had great peace when I left his office knowing that I had obeyed God. I leave the results with God who convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Remembering how much the Apostle Paul hated Jesus Christ before he received Him on the Damascus road encourages me. (see Acts 9)

I have mixed feelings about the conclusion of college in only three short months.  I am not looking forward to a 40 hour work week , but I know God will provide and strengthen me.

Reflection

Home care was one of my favorite courses in college. Twice in my career, I worked as a home care nurse. I enjoyed the autonomy of and getting to know the patient within the context of their family. But I did not enjoy driving through snow and ice, traffic jams, and road rage.

After not speaking German for many years, I met a delightful German couple at church. I used the Duolingo app to brush up on my German and was happy to recall it fairly quickly. Duolingo is a wonderful free website to learn numerous languages. They say learning a foreign language is good to prevent memory loss, so enjoy. Auf wiedersehen!

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