Amputations – “Thy will be done!”

Midwest, USA – 1978

The phone rang and I answered. My dear friend Enid was calling who lived an hour away. “Pam, One of my former coworkers is a patient at  your hospital and I was wondering if you would visit him and share the gospel with  him? For many years he was the chauffeur for one of the wealthiest men in the city and is now retired. He seldom has any visitors.” “Sure! I would love to visit him!” I replied.

The next day after I finished work, I knocked on Yock’s hospital room door and entered. He was a thin elderly man who stared at me with his big sad brown eyes. I introduced myself  and sat in the chair beside his bed. I told him a little about myself, and then he told me more of his story. He had smoked all of his adult life and now had decreased circulation in both his legs which caused him severe pain. He had been in and out of the hospital several times the past year as they did surgery to implant artificial arteries to bypass the clogged ones to try to get more blood to his feet. Sadly, they weren’t working very well and he was still having a significant amount of pain from the lack of blood and oxygen to his legs.

I shared with Yock how much God loved him that He had died on the cross for his sins, rose again, and lived today. Jesus Christ wanted Yock to receive Him as his personal Savior. I asked Yock if I could read some Bible verses to him, and he asked me to please do so. I then read the following verses,

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, That whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God– not of works, lest any man should boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9

I then prayed for Yock. As I said goodbye, he gripped my hand and asked me to please visit him again because he wanted to hear more from the Bible.

I continued to visit Yock after work every day and often after he went home. One afternoon, after we finished studying the Bible at his kitchen table, I asked him if he would like to receive Jesus Christ as his personal Savior? He said he would and he was ready. He bowed his head and prayed out loud, “Dear Lord, I come to you now as a sinner. Thank You for dying on the cross for me to pay the price for my sins. Thank You that You are the Son of God. I now receive You as my very own Savior! Amen.” He looked up and was smiling widely. His big brown eyes were no longer sad, but beaming with joy!

Jack was so happy after he received Christ as his Savior!

Yock was so happy after he received Christ as his Savior!

The road ahead of Yock was not an easy one as he went through numerous surgeries over the next months and much pain. The grafts were not successful and they had to amputate his left leg below the knee. His right leg continued to be very painful and his doctor told him that he needed to also have it amputated. The day before his second amputation, we were reading the Bible together and he said to me. “Pam, I read this morning how Jesus Christ said to the Father before He went to the cross, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Matthew 26:39. That is what I told God today also. “Thy will be done!” he said with steely determination and tears in his eyes. His growth in the Lord was a great blessing to me to behold!

Several months after Yock’s second leg amputation healed, he received two new prostheses (artificial legs). I visited him in his apartment a few days before Christmas, and he said, “I have a surprise for you!” He wheeled himself into his bedroom. After about 15 minutes he WALKED out of his bedroom on his two new legs while leaning on his walker. He was grinning from ear to ear as my tears of joy flowed.

Reflection

The Lord took Yock home to heaven several years later. It was truly wonderful to watch how the Lord transformed him from an angry bitter man into one full of joy and peace as he grew in God’s grace. The memory of his sweet testimony of submitting his life to God while going through very difficult trials with his health continues to bless me today.

Since then, I have worked with quite a few patients who have amputations. Those who have done the best in handling the trauma are those who trust in the Lord for the grace and strength to adjust to this major change in their life. Others who do not trust in the Lord usually become very bitter and say, “Why me?” Only Christ can transform us when we receive Him as personal Savior!

Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

II Corinthians 5:17

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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!

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

 

 

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.