August 2, 2004
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.” I Peter 4:12 (KJV)
“In every trial, there are gleams of light and relief, but full deliverance is often delayed by our anxiety to obtain it. God Himself and not the deliverance is to be the satisfaction of His servant. Consequently, the deliverance is often postponed until we are without prospect or expectation of it. Then it may happen in a manner so far beyond our conception that we must see and understand the love and interest which surrounded us during the whole period of our trial.” –None But the Hungry Heart
As I begin my second week of recuperation here at home after my knee surgery (arthroscopy), I thank God for this encouragement. My chief boss called me to talk this week. He kindly said to take all the time I need to recover. He knows I’m not hanging out in the Bahamas:) He asked if I have osteoarthritis, chondromalacia (rough kneecap), or torn meniscus (cartilage). I told him that I have all three. Shocked, he said he was at a loss for words to say something to make me feel better. God is my comfort and strength.
I spoke with one of the nurses at church who had her knee replaced. She encouraged me to have it done as soon as possible so I don’t ruin the other one. She was able to drive ten days after surgery but said the pain is intense the first few weeks.
August 9, 2004
I tried to return to work last Thursday for four hours, but it was difficult because I became weak. The stress of surgery has made my adrenal glands crash again. It took me three hours to do one admission and see nine patients. I can only stand for about 30 seconds, so I went back to work too soon. I am going to write out surgical guidelines for myself for the next surgery to help me remember. I spoke with two nurse friends at church who both work in orthopedics at the community hospital. They both recommended Dr. R. who did my first two knee arthroscopies.
I tried to go to church yesterday but became weak after driving two blocks so I turned around and came home. I lay on my couch and listened to a good Bible message about thinking right. I keep asking God to help me to see this exercise in my life from His point of view and to help me not to wrestle, but just nestle in His loving arms today.
August 14, 2004
I saw Dr. R. for a second opinion on my knee. He needs the operative report and photos from Dr. M. He’s not too eager to do a total knee replacement on me because it only lasts 8-10 years on someone my age. If I can wait 11 more years until I turn 60, the knee replacement will last 15-20 years. He ordered water therapy in the pool which I did yesterday and today. I am still getting weak and dizzy once or twice a day, so I’m not sure when I will be strong enough to return to work. I’m off work without pay now since I used up all my sick and vacation time. I know the Lord will provide.
Dear Lord, Carry me this day. I give it to You in all my weakness. Thank You for this path of affliction for Your glory and my good. Help me to trust and rest in You. In Christ’s Name, Amen
August 26, 2004
“The Lord will give strength unto His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.” Psalm 29:11 (KJV)
God graciously carried me along this week. The endocrinologist and naturopath both agreed that my adrenals are my main problem causing the weakness and dizziness and have restarted the cortisone and other supplements. I am getting custom inserts for my walking shoes to try and align my knees better since my kneecaps point out instead of straight ahead.
Dr. E. called me again to say hello and see how I was doing. When he worked in internal medicine, he had a patient with adrenal insufficiency and said he knew what a difficult problem it is to have and treat. He assured me that they will not replace me and not to worry about my job or come back too early. If I need to come back just 3 or 4 hours daily, that can be arranged. It was so nice of him to call and reassure me.
I thank God for the compassion of Dr. E. and Dr. S. and for allowing me to work with these two men. They are refreshing compared to my two previous nurse managers at the LPN school and the insurance company. But I realize that none of this will matter 100 years from now, so I’m just trying to keep the big picture. I now qualify for disability since I have been out of work for over a month. I thank God so much for His encouragement today.
September 30, 2004
“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be].” I Peter 5:10 (Amp.)
After taking the cortisone for nine days, I returned to work a couple weeks ago, but the knee pain remains intense. Dr. S., my boss, ordered forearm crutches for me to walk with since these give the most relief from knee pain. My patients sympathize with me as we joke about our mutual aches and pains. I’m connecting with my rehab patients on a new level.
I saw Dr. R. yesterday about my continuing knee pain. He reviewed the surgical report and photos and said I need a total knee replacement if I don’t want to end up in a wheelchair. I don’t qualify for a partial knee replacement because my bones are soft and I have triple-compartment arthritis. I will need about 10 days in a rehab facility after the hospital stay since I live alone. He recommended two facilities and said I should visit both before surgery to see which one I preferred. I will need to be off work for three months after surgery.
He is very comfortable dealing with people with adrenal problems so they will give me a huge steroid dose on the day of surgery to prevent my adrenals from crashing again hopefully. He is going to order the newest and most expensive titanium knee for me that is supposed to last 30 years. It costs $30,000. I sure hope it lasts until the Lord takes me home.
Dear Lord, Help me to relax with the pain right now and rest in Your everlasting arms. I just want to line up with Your plan and not my own. You plan this surgery and use it for Your glory and honor. In Christ’s Name, Amen
And so God prepared me one step at a time for a very difficult surgery. Many days it seemed like I would never be pain-free again in my life. I realized even more what a blessing health is, but many times He teaches me the most when I am so very weak and can do nothing but lean on Him. This very difficult time in my life gave me much greater compassion for the health problems of my patients.