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.

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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!

Total Knee Replacement

October 9, 2004

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18 “What man is he that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way that He shall choose.” Psalm 26:12

If the Lord tarries, my total knee replacement surgery will be on Monday, November 8. I visited three rehabilitation (rehab) facilities and chose the nicest one with a private room and private bath. I have to pay $20 extra per day for a private room, but it is worth it since I am such a light sleeper. I don’t want to end up with a roommate who screams all night. This facility specializes in joint rehab and has an excellent reputation. My sister, Marsha, is flying here on November 6 and will be with me through the 15th. I am so thankful she can be with me during this time. My dad offered to give me money every month while I am out of work, so I thank God for my dad’s help also.

I thank God for all the valuable lessons He will teach me in this school of knee surgery that He has chosen for me. Here are the classes: Surgery 101, Inpatient Rehab 102, Home Rehab 103, Outpatient Rehab 104, Out of Work 3 months 105. I know He will throw in some surprise classes and pop quizzes. God encouraged me today with 2 Corinthians 1:5, For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ. God will not test me above what I can bear. Thank You, dear Lord, that You have it all perfectly planned out.

October 16, 2004

I went to an interesting class at the hospital to prepare me for surgery. They gave me a folder and had me watch a video by a TV actor who had both his knees replaced at the same time. He is now able to ride a horse, so maybe I can cross country ski a little next winter. Dr. S. told me not to give away my skis!

Yesterday I attended a conference for orthopedic nurses and many of the hospital nurses who will be taking care of me also attended. I learned much, but I’m not sure if it was good for me to hear about all the possible complications of knee replacement surgery. I am so thankful my two nurse friends from church will both be working the week of my surgery. It’s always nice to see familiar faces at the hospital.

October 30, 2004

I tried to donate blood to store for myself, but my veins collapsed. Two friends at church who have my blood type volunteered to donate on my behalf, so that was very generous of them. The Nurse Practitioner who was my first preceptor in graduate school now works for my primary care doctor, and she gave me my preoperative physical. It was great to see her again! I only have six days of work left. I am so ready to move onward and forward and have this surgery behind me.

November 4, 2004

“Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress.” Psalm 4:1

I read this verse before I attended our monthly practice meeting yesterday at the hospital. Dr. E., my main boss, asked to meet with me privately after the meeting. He told me they were granting me the medical leave of absence for a maximum of 16 weeks even though they aren’t required to legally because they are such a small practice group. The hospital lost $2.5 million last year and has had to lay off a number of employees. He said he might need to decrease my hours when I return. He wants me to make rounds on all the hospital units to increase the visibility of the rehab unit and to promote the rehab unit as enthusiastically as possible. He said the workload will be difficult for Dr. S. while I am off. They are not paying me any salary while I’m off work, so at least they are saving money that way.

Many changes lie ahead at work in the next three months, but I refuse to worry about it because God isn’t worried! I praise Him for the wonderful peace He is giving me going into surgery.

November 15, 2004 – 2:40 a.m.

I had my surgery one week ago, and I’m now at the rehab facility in my pleasant private room. Marsha flew back to her home today. She was my advocate while I was in the hospital when I could not think straight from the pain and anesthesia. I am so thankful for help from her and the nurses from church. I thought I would lose my mind from the pain right after surgery. I fainted several times in the hospital from low blood pressure caused by the pain medicine, so the doctor changed to another one. They put my leg in the continuous passive motion (CPM) machine which made my leg spasm, so I refused it.

My titanium knee xray looks similar to this.

Marsha drove me from the hospital to rehab in my car, but it was agony to bend my swollen knee enough to get it in my car. I think I should have come by ambulance instead. The rehab facility couldn’t obtain my pain medicine from the pharmacy for 12 hours after I arrived, so again the pain was incredible. Mary, my friend from church, visited me and held my hand when my leg spasmed. We sang one hymn after another to try and distract me from the pain. I’m so glad I brought copies of the words of all my favorite hymns with me. Some of the brethren from church came to visit me on Sunday afternoon which was a blessing. They sang “Rejoice in the Lord” and “Isn’t He Wonderful?” I am finding singing to be very therapeutic.

Reflection

And so I began my 10 day stay in the rehab unit. The intensity of the pain after surgery surprised me. I really didn’t know a person could experience that much pain. The experts say that bone pain is the worst kind of pain, especially in the knee joint because the swelling has no where to escape. People who have had both their hip and knee replaced have told me that the knee replacement pain was significantly worse. However, everyone experiences surgical pain differently. A few people only need mild medicine, but I definitely think I was at the opposite end of the spectrum. One probable reason was my age of 49 years and having intact nerves.

More Knee Pain

August 2, 2004

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to test you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.” I Peter 4:12

“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 am so thankful for this encouragement from the Lord. Dr. E., my big boss, was so kind when I talked with him this week. He 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 knee cap), or torn meniscus (cartilage). I told him that I have all three which shocked him. He said he was at a loss for words to say something to make me feel better, but 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 really difficult because I became so weak. I’m afraid 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 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 so weak after driving two blocks that I had to turn around and come home. So I laid on my couch and listened to a good Bible message on 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 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, that this path of affliction is 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

God is so gracious in carrying 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 knee caps 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 so much for the compassion of Dr. E. and Dr. S. and allowing me to work with these two men. They are so 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

“And after you have suffered for a little while the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. ” I Peter 5:10

After taking the cortisone for 9 days, I was finally able to return to work a couple weeks ago, but the knee pain is intense. Dr. S., my boss, ordered forearm crutches for me to walk with as these give the most relief from knee pain. My patients are so sympathetic as I make rounds on them and we joke about our mutual aches and pains. I’m connecting with my rehab patients on a new level.

My knee pain was so bad that I needed to walk with forearm crutches at work.

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 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

Reflection

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.

Nurse Practitioner in Physical Medicine

July 18, 2003

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2

How I thank the Lord for the good interview with Dr. S. on the rehabilitation unit at the city hospital last week. I have been asking the Lord to open or close the door for this job according to His will. It is so wonderful to wait upon Him for His perfect timing. I had another good conversation with Dr. S. yesterday after I faxed him a thank you letter with a few more questions. He assured me that the hospital and rehabilitation unit are doing well financially, that my salary is in the budget, and that I definitely have the job.

July 25

I met yesterday with the Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Financial Officer of the rehabilitation network. They spoke highly of Dr. S. and the rehab unit which has a 97% patient satisfaction rate. I am impressed with this organization that began in 1995 and has now expanded to 70 outpatient sites in the state. They are interviewing one other NP for the position which surprised me. God knows which of us is right for this position. I have a third interview next week with Dr. E., the medical director of the entire network.

God blessed me today when I read 2 Thessalonians 3:5. The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God.” “May our hearts get such a lesson in the love of the Father that, instead of being depressed by trying circumstances, or elated by what are called providential circumstances, we may know that we are the objects of this wonderful love, and are being educated into it by the only One who knew it in all its power as He walked here below through this wilderness world.” JBS

Dear Father, Help me not to go up or down emotionally with my circumstances, but just enjoy Your love and be satisfied with today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

July 30

I had the interview with Dr. E. this morning and it seemed to go well. The Vice President called me at 4:30 p.m. and offered me the job! I spoke with Human Resources and I’m meeting with her tomorrow so I can start work on August 5. I reread my June 25 journal requests for my next job and realized that God fulfilled every one of them.

Dear Lord, Thank You, thank You, thank You! Please use me for Your glory and honor in this position. Amen

August 5

My first day at work was interesting. Dr. S. did not know I was coming and was upset with Human Resources for not telling him. I attended the weekly team meeting and listened as the therapists reported on each patient’s progress, recommended a plan of care for the week, and decided on a discharge date. I’m looking forward to learning from all the team members in physical, occupational, and speech therapy as well as the neuropsychologist, neurologist, social worker, and discharge nurse. Then I watched some videos about rehab, read manuals, received a key to my new office, and was given a tour of the hospital. The most difficult part of the day was maneuvering in the tight parking garage. Someone parked so close to my car door so that I couldn’t open it. I had to crawl in from the passenger’s side with my dress practically up to my waist! I’m glad no one saw me….

“Don’t worry about the future – worry quenches the work of grace within you. When God gives you comfort, enjoy it.” – Fenelon

September 22

I had a rough night. I awoke at 3:30 a.m. wondering how my patients were doing and if I ordered the right things for their treatment.

Dear Father, Help me through this day. You know how weary I am. Please do this job through me. Help me to rest in Thee and trust in Thee and remember that none of this will matter 100 years from now. I love You. Amen

October 8

I am so thankful that work is going better. Dr. F., the unit neurologist, has returned from vacation, and now Dr. S. is on vacation for a week. I am feeling more comfortable in doing the neurological exams on admission and daily rounds on the patients. Next week, the hospital is sending me to New Orleans for a conference for Rehabilitation nurses.

November 3

The conference in New Orleans was a great learning experience. About 1100 RN’s and 30 Nurse Practitioners invaded the huge convention center. I am thankful that a lady friend from church went with me. During our free time, we enjoyed eating in the French quarter, attending a Southern food cooking class, and taking a boat tour through the swamp. I walked a mile to get to the convention center from our hotel the first day, but didn’t feel very safe, so I took a taxi after that. It sure is different there compared to New England!

The French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana

 

A crocodile suns himself on the swamp tour.

 

Spanish moss drips from the trees in the swamp.

Reflection

And so began my first few months in physical medicine. In looking back over my 40 year career, I think this was my favorite job. It was very gratifying to watch the patients make slow steady progress until they were strong enough to return home. Of course, some of them had reverses and had to return to the hospital. The staff worked well together and formed a real team. The first six months in any new job are always the most difficult when the learning curve is so steep, but God carried me along once more one day at a time through all the ups and downs.

Little did I dream that Hurricane Katrina would strike New Orleans in 2005 and flood 80% of the city, causing catastrophic destruction.

 

 

Teaching Licensed Practical Nurses

May 1, 2003

I had crushing chest pain on Saturday, so I called the ambulance and went to the emergency room. They diagnosed me with pleurisy and pneumonia, put me on antibiotics, and sent me home. How I thank the Lord for the perfect peace He gave me during the hours I lay on the stretcher. “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21

The job is going better, by God’s grace. I like teaching the students at the nursing home. The staff is very helpful, so that makes for a pleasant learning environment. I discovered that my new neighbor works as a nursing assistant there. Her first language is Portuguese and she only speaks minimal English. I think I’ll check some tapes out of the public library and try and learn a little Portuguese so I can talk more with her.

May 16

I am sick at home again with a fever of 101 degrees. This is the fourth time I have caught an infection since I started working at the school and the nursing home. I asked the Lord to make it clear if He wants me to work again as a Nurse Practitioner or keep teaching. I am required to work 2000 hours as a NP over a five year period to keep my certification, or I can take the board exam again which would be grueling.

June 7

“Teaching is not effective without a good example. You can easily discourage others by being impatient with them. The more forceful you are, the more you need to learn gentleness and kindness.” – Fenelon

The first clinical session has ended at the nursing home. At first, I hated working in the nursing home. But after I became better acquainted with the staff and the alert patients, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I watched in amazement as the students progressed from being frightened to touch a patient to being able to care for several patients confidently.

June 13

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

Yesterday morning I asked the Lord to help me depend on Him alone and not a paycheck or a job, which He answered very quickly. An hour later, Mrs. D. called me into her office and told me that my position was eliminated because over half of the first module class failed. I asked her why she chose me? She said my student evaluations were not good, and that I was not a team player. She also announced that C. would be the new director. C. has a very foul mouth, smokes, and cohabits with a man, so I know that it would have been difficult for me to work with her. I always felt like a fish out of water in the teachers’ communal office because I did not swear or tell off color jokes like all the others.

I can’t sleep from this head cold and can’t stop my tears of exhaustion. But on the brighter side, because I was laid off, I can collect unemployment while I look for another job. I thank the Lord that I don’t have to get up at 4:45 a.m. to go to the nursing home or prepare lectures at night after teaching all day. Perhaps God will improve my immune system so I don’t keep catching all these viruses.

“Don’t let your work either excite you or depress you too much.” – Fenelon “When we sit under Christ’s shadow with great delight, everything else becomes so small, and loses its hold upon our hearts.” CAC “Nearly all God’s jewels are crystallized tears.”

“Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

June 24

I had an interview at a children’s residential camp an hour from home today, but it wasn’t a good fit. The pay is too low and the camp is closed for three months in the winter. The atmosphere is so much different than Bible camp. God knows the way I should go.

Dear Lord, I ask You to give me a job where I can freely share the gospel, attend all the services at church, be within a 20 minute commute from home, and have a manager who is kind, fair, and supportive. I ask for a job that is not too stressful where I can use my Nurse Practitioner skills four days per week with good health and retirement benefits. Help me to wait quietly upon You. Thank You for this extra time to study Your Word and draw near to You. Thank You that You own everything and that nothing is too hard for You. Thank You for this measure of health. I love and adore You. Amen.

July 5

The Lord gave me a wonderful week of vacation with another lady from church at Yosemite National Park in California. The rock formations and water falls were breath taking. This is one of the most beautiful place on earth that I have ever seen, but I know heaven will be so much better!

God refreshed my heart at beautiful Yosemite National Park in California.

July 16

Yesterday I had the most difficult interview of my life at the college where I received my Master’s degree in nursing. The position is for Director of Health Services which includes treating the residential college students in the clinic. Four women conducted the interview in the board room with me seated at the head of a long table. Unfortunately, every time I looked up, I saw my reflection in a gigantic mirror on the wall. They took turns asking me about 20 challenging clinical questions from their typed list. My brain kept freezing from the stress, so it was a grueling 90 minute ordeal. After I left the room and closed the door, I heard them all burst into laughter. I walked down the long hallway feeling totally humiliated. This is definitely not the right job for me.

I had another interview today at a large inner city hospital 20 minutes from my home. Because my interview went so poorly yesterday, I spent several hours studying rehabilitation medicine last night to prepare for today’s meeting. I made a professional folder with my resume and business card to give Dr. S., the medical director of the ten bed unit. Dr. S. was delayed in a family meeting, so I quietly observed the unit while waiting. It seemed like a calm, well organized unit. The huge windows in the nurse’s station made it bright and cheerful.

Then Dr. S. took me on a tour of the unit while he explained how it functioned and what my role would be. He asked me a few easy questions about myself in the hallway. He seems like a genuine compassionate person who is board certified in physical medicine. Most of the patients have had strokes, joint replacements, or organ transplants. In acute rehabilitation each patient must be able to do a total three hours of physical, occupational, and speech therapy daily. Some advantages of having rehab in the hospital as opposed to a nursing home is that a patient can be quickly transferred back to the intensive care unit if needed and all their specialty doctors can assess them daily.

Dr. S. has been looking for a NP for eighteen months, so God has been keeping this position open for me! If I am hired, Dr. S. would like me to work from 11 am to 5 pm except on Tuesdays when I would start at 8:30 a.m. so I could participate in weekly team meetings. On Tuesdays, I would leave at 2:30 p.m. Initially, I will be paid for 30 hours weekly with full time benefits. If I want to increase to 40 hours per week, I can do research, inpatient consults, or see outpatients in his office, so there is room to grow professionally.

I will need to work every third weekend and come see all ten patients on either Saturday or Sunday and write a progress note, but it only takes a maximum of 90 minutes. I will also need to make rounds on two holidays, but Dr. S. said I can have first pick of which holidays I want to work. Next, I will need to meet the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and Medical Director of the entire rehab network.

I spoke with my former classmate, Kim, who has been a NP on the transplant unit for the past year. She was excited for me and said the rehab unit has an excellent reputation. She makes rounds there after they transfer their post transplant patients to the unit. She told me about the hospital benefits and how she negotiated her salary, so I will see what the Lord does.

Reflection

Job changes are never easy, but I thank God that He went before me in every situation. As I reflect on this part of my career when nothing was stable and each month was rocky with constant change, I can now see how the Lord was teaching me to lean totally on Him one day at a time. He always provided my every need and still does! I pray that you will know the joy of leaning on Him also, the only One who is the solid Rock and never changes.

 

Why am I so weak?

Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner – August, 2002

I have now been working in this very busy clinic for 4000 employees of the insurance company for several months. One of my duties is to give routine vaccinations to employees when they request them. During an unusually slow afternoon, I checked my vaccine stock to see if I needed to order any more. I am praying about doing some medical mission trips, so I decided to give myself a Hepatitis A vaccine. Hepatitis A is common in many developing countries and is transmitted by unclean food or water.

The next morning, my alarm awoke me at the usual 5 a.m. I tried to move and get out of bed, but I ached all over and was overcome with weakness and dizziness. By 6 a.m., I felt the same so I called my boss and said I was too ill to come to work today. I knew there was no way that I could survive a busy clinic day.

The terrible weakness, dizziness, and aches continued, so by the third day I went to see my personal physician. He drew blood tests and said my blood pressure was low and to try and drink more fluids. I was thankful my friend from church could drive me to and from the appointment.

These symptoms continued day after day, until a month had passed. After the first week, I had no paid time off remaining since I had only worked for the company a short time. My physician could not determine the cause of my symptoms, so he sent me to a neurologist, chiropractor, and endocrinologist. I became very discouraged and cried out to God for mercy in my weakness.

September 17, 2002

On September 17, my doorbell rang. The postman had me sign for a registered letter from my employer. I sat down on my couch and opened it with trembling hands. “We regret to inform you that due to your prolonged absence, you are no longer employed at this company. You may begin collecting unemployment after you recover from your illness….” Because I had not worked for the company for 12 months, they were under no legal obligation to continue my employment.  The tears flowed as I asked God to help me and teach me all the lessons He had for me. I asked Him to give the doctors wisdom in finding out what was wrong with me, heal my body, and provide my every need.

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” Psalm 43:5

I began reading books by other Christians who went through their time of suffering with victory. Corrie Ten Boom was imprisoned in the concentration camp during World War 2 because she sheltered Jewish people. She suffered from starvation, cold, beatings, and watched her sister die. After Corrie was released due to a clerical error, she wrote a book called “The Hiding Place” and traveled the world telling people that no matter how deep the pit, the love of God was deeper still. She also said,

Faith = Fantastic Adventure In Trusting Him!

Joni Eareckson Tada, who has been confined to a wheelchair because of a diving accident when she was a teen, wrote, “People with disabilities are God’s best visual aids to demonstrate who He really is. His power shows up best in weakness. They persevere. They love, live, trust, and obey Him. Eventually the world says, “How great their God must be to inspire this kind of loyalty!”

September 30, 2002

“Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Psalm 25:4

God encouraged me with this verse.

“Your weakness will be your strength if you accept it with a lowly heart. Trusting in God is a simple resting in God’s love, as a baby lies in its mother’s arms. The point of trusting God is not to do great things that you can feel good about, but to trust God from a place of deep weakness. Nearly all God’s jewels are crystallized tears. All I ask is that you rest in faith with a teachable spirit.” Fenelon

“Lord, give to me a quiet heart that does not ask to understand but confidently steps forward in the darkness guided by Thy hand. Mercifully, God does not leave us to choose our own curriculum. Let the Lord of the Universe do the worrying! Wide soaring gives wide seeing! Keep looking down from your heavenly position.” – Elisabeth Elliot (widow of Jim Elliot who was martyred in Ecuador)

“Godliness with contentment is great gain…. Having food and raiment (clothing) let us be therewith content.” I Timothy 6:6-8

Reflection

And so began the most difficult time in my nursing career and in my health. After many tests, my endocrinologist finally determined that I had developed adrenal insufficiency from the Hepatitis A vaccine. The adrenal glands control all the hormones in your body. If a person does not produce enough of their own natural steroid, they experience low blood pressure, severe weakness, and dizziness – all my symptoms. I had to take a low dose of steroids for the next six years. How I thanked God that I finally had an answer!

I called Dr. A., my former coworker at the psychiatric hospital who also conducted vaccine research. He confirmed that in very rare instances, vaccines can effect the adrenal glands like this.

After much prayer, I decided to sell my dream house that I had built a few years previously. By God’s grace, I made enough profit on the sale of the house to pay cash for a small condominium where I lived for the next four years. It was a huge financial relief to be rid of a mortgage and a good lesson to hold everything with an open hand to God. My real home is in heaven above with Him for all eternity! After six months, I recovered enough strength to seek employment part-time. Next post, I will tell you how God wonderfully provided again.