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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Blizzard of 1978

January 26, 1978 – 10 a.m.

I turned on the TV and watched the weather prediction. They told us to brace ourselves for a terrible storm that was coming with high winds. We usually only get 10-15 inches of snow all winter, so this was very unusual. I have never seen a blizzard. It’s about 50 degrees Fahrenheit right now. The wind began to pick up, the snow began to fall, and the temperature plunged.

The phone rang and I answered it. My nursing supervisor, Marie said, “Pam, pack a bag to prepare to stay overnight at the hospital. The National Guard will be at your house in 30 minutes to bring you in for the evening shift tonight.” I quickly packed a couple extra uniforms, toiletries, and my Bible, and watched out my front window. When I saw a 4 wheel drive Jeep pull up, I put on my warmest hooded coat and ventured out. I had to lean into the wind,because it was so difficult to walk. I climbed in the back seat and said hello to the driver and three other nurses he had already picked up.

We drove slowly through the deepening snow on the deserted streets and arrived safely at the hospital five miles away. I took report from day shift and began my evening rounds. My head nurse, Mrs. H. and I were the only staff that made it in for evening shift. Thankfully, they had cancelled all routine surgeries, but all our 30 beds were occupied. There was a friendly air of comradery with all the patients that night. Those who were there for their week of diabetes classes helped us pass dinner trays to the patients who were bedbound.

I went down to the cafeteria for dinner, and was amazed to have the hospital administrator serve us our food on the tray line. He smiled and thanked me for working through the blizzard. No charge for dinner tonight!

The Guard brought in the night shift nurse and aide, so I was thankful to sign off at 11:30. Marie told us there were some empty patient rooms on the 9th floor, and to pick whichever one I wanted. I grabbed my bag, found an empty room, and closed the door. I turned on the TV and watched the blizzard. I watched the unbelievable pictures of 15 foot snowdrifts from the high winds of 69 miles per hour. The roads were nearly impassable and the temperature had dropped to -30 degrees Fahrenheit. I could hear the howling wind as I looked through the window and watched the snow blow sideways in the dim street light. It was nearly a whiteout!

I put on my pajamas and climbed into bed. I had never been a patient in a hospital, so this was a very strange experience. I was too wound up to sleep. Then I heard a patient in the next room start to scream. I lay awake and prayed.

The alarm went off at 6 a.m. I guess I dozed off at some point. I got dressed, read my Bible, and committed the day to the Lord. I went out to the nurses’ station and asked my nurse friends about the patient next to me. They said he was an alcoholic going through withdrawal. They had to put his arms and legs in leather restraints, but he broke out of the restraints and nearly destroyed the room. Finally the medications took effect and he slept.

I went down to the cafeteria and ate my free breakfast and then went back to the fifth floor. I was totally exhausted from little sleep and asked the Lord to give me strength for the day and to bring in the evening shift. Mrs. H and I were the only staff again so we split the floor in half. After we passed the medications and trays, we began the bed baths. We were running out of linens so we only changed the patient’s gown and sheets if they looked soiled. I was so happy when the evening shift arrived courtesy of the National Guard! I gave report, and then found a coworker who lived near me and volunteered to give me a ride home.

I could barely get in my front door from the drifts. My roommate, Jane, had shoveled out as much as she could. We looked at our cars that were buried in the parking lot and decided to wait until the next day to shovel them out since we were both off of work.

My car was buried after the Blizzard of 1978!

My car was buried after the Blizzard of 1978!

I fell into bed after a quick supper, thanked the Lord for carrying me safely through the blizzard, and fell into a deep sleep.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Psalm 46:1

 

Reflection

That was the only time that I  needed the National Guard to bring me to work. Sadly, 51 people died in my state in the blizzard of 1978; 22 died when they left their trapped car and froze to death while trying to get to cover.  But I still remember the comradery of the staff and patients as we all helped each other through that terrible storm.

I survived several more blizzards during the years I lived in New England. Later in the blog, I will share some of my harrowing tales of reaching my patients in the community as a visiting nurse.

 

Lord, Be My Vision

January 18, 2006

I’m having trouble with my eyesight again. I pulled out my pocket eye card and could only see 20/200 with my left eye and my glasses on. This means I have to be at 20 feet to see what most people can see at 200 feet. My right eye is better at 20/25. Through all of this, I want to rest in the Lord. He knows all about my eyes and is in control. If I go blind like my uncle, God will continue to provide for me like He always has through the years. I am so glad that He goes before me.

January 27, 2006

The retinal specialist said my eye looked healthy on the inside, so he is not sure why my vision has decreased so much. He decided to review my head scan from a year ago when I fell and was unconscious for awhile. He also is sending me for a second opinion to another retinal specialist.

February 11, 2006

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Psalm 32:8

I saw Dr. N. yesterday for the second opinion and he said I have a cataract. He did a test on me where I looked through a pinhole and could see 20/20 which confirms it! This means the lens in my eye has become cloudy over the years. It’s a relatively easy outpatient surgery to remove my lens and place a new one in my eye which should give me 20/20 vision so I no longer need to wear glasses! I can hardly believe this news. I have worn thick glasses since I was 6 years old and have uncorrected vision of 20/1000.

April 8, 2006

Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. I John 3:2

I had my left cataract removed two days ago. I returned to the eye doctor’s office yesterday to have my patch removed. It was an amazing experience as the whole world appears so bright with beautiful colors, and I can see 20/20! Dr. E. said my vision might not stay quite 20/20 after the lens settles in. I can hardly believe the difference in all the colors. It’s like the yellow haze was removed. I think it’s a little taste of how beautiful everything will appear in heaven when I see the Lord and have my new body. Even so, COME, Lord Jesus!”  Revelation 22:20

April 20, 2006

So much has changed since I last wrote. I’m having a terrible time with nausea and headaches because I see two different sizes with each eye. I wear a contact lens in my right eye that still has the cataract. My brain is having a hard time adjusting to 20/20 vision in my newly implanted lens. Then I got a head cold and was so sick that I missed all the Easter services which was sad. This is my third week off of work, so my Dad flew up from Florida to help me out. Dr. E. is on vacation so I saw his partner who told me to patch my right eye and learn to drive and work with one eye. He also said to call Dr. E. to do the other eye as soon as possible.

I drove down the highway with one eye patched which was really scary since I have no depth perception. I asked my Dad to drive home which was just as scary. He has a shuffling gait and can’t remember directions at all. His hearing has also decreased. I think he has early dementia or Parkinson’s disease which is so sad. (See previous post.) He went with me to prayer meeting last night for which I was thankful. On the way home, the stars and glare around all the oncoming headlights was awful. I wonder if I will be able to drive at night anymore? Maybe that will go away once I’m off all the eye drops. I called Human Resources at work to check on short term disability, but they said I don’t have it since I haven’t worked there a year yet. God always provides and won’t test me above what I can bear.

It was difficult to drive with only one eye because I had no depth perception.

I’m thankful for this extra time with my Dad as we look at the beautiful spring flowers in bloom, walk through the woods together, and see historic sites nearby.

My Dad came to help me for 3 weeks. We enjoyed seeing all the spring flowers in bloom.

May 9, 2006

The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down. Psalm 145:14

How I praise God for the work He has done in my life the past few weeks. Dr. E. removed my right cataract on May 4, four weeks after my left cataract was removed. The next day after the patch was removed, my eyes began working together. We also stopped the Nevanac (NSAID) eye drop which was causing the nausea. What a relief to be rid of the nausea! It was such a joy to rejoin the choir yesterday at church and sing The Solid Rock.

When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace;

In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ, the solid Rock I stand – all other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.    –by Edward Mote

Christ is my solid Rock!

Reflection

How I thank God every day for giving me corrected unclouded vision. I later was told I developed cataracts at the age of 51 because I have a disorder which caused calcium deposits to cloud my lenses.  I still need to wear thin glasses to read to correct my astigmatism. One of the unexpected treats is to be able to see clearly when I go swimming. I can still drive at night as the glare and stars around all the headlights went away once I finished the eye drops. But most of all, I look forward to that day when I will see my dear Savior face to face in heaven above with perfect vision in my new body.

 

 

 

The Aging Brain

September, 2005 – Geriatric Nurse Practitioner

I am enjoying my new job immensely working as a geriatric Nurse Practitioner in a 500 bed nursing home providing primary care to 64 patients currently. It is like a breath of fresh air compared to working for the insurance company in the same facility. I am also feeling much better physically since I only work four days per week again and have every Friday off. I volunteered to work the late shift so my hours are 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The rest of the providers leave between 4 and 5 p.m. so I cover the entire home for emergencies until the night shift doctor arrives at 6 p.m. I like these hours better because I don’t need to get up as early, avoid driving in rush hour , eat lunch and dinner in the cafeteria, and get out in time to attend evening activities at my church. The food in the cafeteria is healthy and inexpensive so it also cuts down on my grocery bills.

I cover one dementia unit, and two long-term care units that are not locked. I share an office with three other nurse practitioners which works well. It’s nice to be able to discuss our most difficult patients and get input from others with more experience. I also like the dictation which is much easier than typing into the insurance company laptop. They have live transcriptionists that type our notes and put them in the cue for us to proofread and correct any mistakes before it goes into the electronic record permanently. In general, the typists are very accurate. The nursing home is so large that it also has a small restaurant, gift shop, auditorium for programs, board room, and beautiful grounds for walking at lunch time on good weather days. They have monthly continuing education for all the providers which is also helpful. I work with three different physicians and they are all enjoy sharing their expertise with me.

Dr. R., the medical director, meets with each provider privately once a month to review our productivity goals and discuss any concerns we may have. He is the kindest and best boss I have ever had. This preventive type management style works so much better than the authoritarian critical style I have had for much of my career. So far, he said I’m doing a good job and meeting all my monthly goals. How I thank God for giving me this job and giving me this schedule.

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20

The Aging Brain

One of the benefits of this job is that they give me 4 days per year and $1200 annually to attend continuing education outside of the facility. I attended a seminar yesterday entitled “The Aging Brain” that was very interesting taught by a geriatrician. The research shows that people who keep their brains active, exercise, socialize, and eat a healthy diet helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease (memory loss). Since my grandmother died of Alzheimer’s, this is of particular interest to me. Daily, I sadly witness the decline of my patients with end stage dementia.

Ways to keep one’s brain active is to travel because you are constantly problem solving and meeting new people. Learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, teaching, doing aerobic exercise, and working jigsaw or crossword puzzles stimulates the brain. If a person lives alone, it’s also important to participate in regular social activities so as not to isolate. Eating healthy foods like blueberries, salmon, sweet potatoes, and other colorful fruits and vegetables is important.

Eating healthy foods like blueberries is good for your brain.

 

Solving puzzles stimulates brain function.

 

Traveling and using other languages is great brain stimulation!

After hearing this seminar, I will definitely continue to travel, keep up with my painting, and try and play my violin more often. I’m glad I see my friends at church several times weekly. Since I live alone, guarding against isolation is my biggest challenge.

Reflection

I continued to work in geriatrics the remainder of my career and witnessed the use of Aricept and Namenda, two medications which slow down the progression of dementia. When I was a home care Nurse Practitioner for the federal government, I took care of our veterans who had early dementia and were being managed by their family members at home. I had many conversations with the caregivers who were usually a spouse or adult child about keeping the veteran safe at home as long as possible while preventing caregiver burnout. I guided them in making the difficult decision of when to place the person on home hospice, when to hire help, or when it was best to transfer the patient to a nursing home for 24 hour care.

Frequently I took young physicians with me on my visits. One doctor from India told me that there is no Alzheimer’s disease in India and people live long lives. I asked her how that can be? She attributes it to the daily consumption of curry in their foods. The main spice in curry is turmeric. So I began taking a turmeric capsule daily and adding curry powder to my vegetable juice every morning. .

When my dear Dad came to help me after I had surgery, I noticed that he was having trouble remembering things and driving me to appointments. I asked him if he was willing to go to the geriatric assessment center where I worked and have his memory checked? He willingly agreed since he recalled how his mother died of dementia, and he had to place her in a nursing home the last year of her life. Dr. R. , my boss and the director of the geriatric assessment center, did a full 4 hour assessment with the team including a CT scan of my Dad’s brain. Since my dad was an inventor and probably at the genius level, Dr. R. said it was difficult to assess his memory because he was so good at covering up his memory deficits. Their conclusion was that Dad had Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) which means it could stay at that level or progress to dementia. Dr. R. did not recommend starting my Dad on Aricept or Namenda as they were not recommended to prevent dementia.

It was sad to see my brilliant Dad slowly decline from dementia. He had 19 patents in paper products at the conclusion of his career.

As the years progressed, my dad did progress to dementia, had to stop driving, and moved to a retirement center with his wife to be closer to my sister. As Nancy Reagan said about President Reagan after he was diagnosed with dementia, “It’s the long good-bye.” My stepmother became his caregiver. Sometimes he wandered around the large building or got lost walking to the dining room. He stopped reading and slept most of the day. He needed a home health aide to help him with his shower. After his wife broke her hip and had to go to rehab, Dad also had to be transferred to the nursing home. He began having trouble swallowing which is common with dementia patients, and food went into his lungs and caused pneumonia. He died quietly alone in the nursing home from pneumonia at the age of 89, nine years after he was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment. It was sad to see such a brilliant man slowly lose his mental capacities.

That is why it is so important, dear Reader, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior now, while you still have your mental capacities. No one knows how many days he has left here on earth. The 29 year old son of one of my doctors suddenly passed on last week. Thankfully, he had received Christ as his Savior and is now rejoicing in God’s presence.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17

For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

 

S-O-A-P Charting

March, 1978 – 11:30 p.m.

I had just finished walking rounds with the night shift nurse, clocked out, and sat down beside the chart rack to begin my charting before I could go home. I usually was able to complete some of my assigned five patient charts during my shift, but it had been nonstop all evening so I barely had time to gulp down my dinner. Each nurse was assigned five charts and must chart on two of the patient problems before going home. We were not paid overtime to complete our charting.

I wearily began writing using the S-O-A-P format in the heavy 3 inch thick chart under the tab marked “Nurses Notes” with my blue ink pen. Day shift charted in black ink, evening shift used blue ink, and night shift used red ink.

S is for subjective- what the patient says. soap bar

O is for objective – what you observe.

A is for assessment.

P is for plan.

I remembered my college instructor’s words about charting.

“If it’s not charted, it’s not done. Try to paint a concise picture with words of exactly what you did using only approved abbreviations. If you are ever sued, you likely won’t remember the patient several years from now. The lawyers and jury will scrutinize your every word.”

Mrs. K. in Room 515 had had a below the knee amputation two days previously. I scanned her problem list and chose Pain and Diabetes from her list. I began writing using approved abbreviations:

#1. Pain

S: c/o moderate RLE pain. (complains of moderate right lower extremity pain)

O: RLE incision intact. Moderate swelling, slight erythema. VS (vital signs): 99.2-76-18-136/84. (temperature-pulse-respiratory rate-blood pressure)

WBC (white blood cell count) 7.4. Given 2 Percocet.

A: Moderate post-op pain. Pain relieved with Percocet. No sign of infection.

P: Continue to monitor incision qs (every shift), medicate for pain prn (as needed). Instruct pt (patient) about phantom pain.

I completed my last chart at midnight, put on my coat, walked out to the parking lot, climbed in my car, and drove home through the black night.

Reflection

Charting has changed over the years, but the saying of my instructor still holds true in the litigious American society, “If it isn’t charted, it isn’t done.” After Xerox copies were invented, we switched to black ink for charting so the notes were more legible when copies were made.

When I worked in labor and delivery, I had to write my initials and time on the fetal monitor strip whenever I entered the mother’s room, and whenever I gave any medication or did a procedure. Only once was I called to the office of the hospital attorney to review my charting I did on a mother who we sent home in false labor. She later came back that night, but delivered the baby in the hospital parking lot before she made it to the labor and delivery unit. She was now suing the hospital for sending her home, and I was the nurse who did the last assessment. I reviewed my charting about a year after the incident and my instructor’s words came back to my memory. Thankfully, my charting was complete and I never heard the outcome of the lawsuit. They likely settled out of court.

When I was a visiting nurse in the 1990’s, we used a check list system for the daily visits and left a carbon copy in the home for the next nurse. When I worked in the nursing home as a nurse practitioner, we had a dictation service with secretaries which worked very well. We returned once again to the S-O-A-P format. We used both paper charts and electronic medical records which was confusing at times.

In my final job with the federal government, we only had an electronic patient record. The days of heavy paper charts in racks had ceased. I had machine dictation which was only about 70% accurate, so it took quite awhile to correct all the mistakes. But at least we  could read everyone’s notes and never had to go hunting for lost charts. However, when the computer system crashed, it shut down the whole system because we had no access to the patient records. Thankfully, that didn’t happen often. I felt sorry for the providers who had never taken a typing class and had to spend long hours at home in the evening completing their patient’s charts for the day with the old hunt and peck method of typing.

When I called a doctor’s office to request a copy of a patient’s records, his assistant said she would fax them over, but warned me we would not be able to read his handwriting! Over the years, I’m afraid my handwriting has deteriorated also as I have spent countless hours writing in patient charts. Charting isn’t the most satisfying part of nursing, but it is necessary for communication and a required part of every job, so I always tried to do it thoroughly and above all, honestly, to honor God.

“Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with good will doing service as to the Lord, and not to men.” Ephesians 6:6-7

When I toured hospitals in China in 1986, I was amazed that they only had one sheet of paper with a few characters on a clipboard hanging on the end of each patient’s bed. The patients were not allowed to sue their provider, so the documentation was very minimal. A Chinese friend told me each person keeps their own medical record in a notebook and takes it with them each time they go to the clinic for the doctor to write in. It sure seems like a much simpler system!

 

CODE BLUE – TOWER 5!

April, 1977 – Midwest, USA – Orientation

I had just completed my class on handling emergencies including cardiac arrest when I heard the overhead page, “Code Blue, Tower 502, Code Blue, Tower 502, Code Blue, Tower 502!” I was standing in the nurse’s station, so I grabbed the Code Cart and pushed it as fast as I could to Room 502.

Running with the Code Cart!

Running with the Code Cart!

Ann, another nurse on our unit had started to give respirations to Eleanor, a small gray skinned elderly lady I had just talked with the hour before. The doctor and nursing supervisor ran into the room behind me. Miss S., the supervisor, quickly told me to give the medications while she recorded everything the doctor ordered. We grabbed the board off the back of the cart, lifted the patient and put it under her back. Debbie, RN started compressions while Ann grabbed the Ambu bag, hooked it up to the wall oxygen, and placed it over the patient’s face.

Dr B barked at me, “Give 50 cc of Sodium Bicarbonate!” I grabbed the box with the large syringe, tore it open, screwed the plunger on to the syringe, pointed it toward the ceiling, and pushed hard on the plunger to clear the air bubble out of the syringe. Oh, No! I realized that I forgot to remove the needle cap as I saw it go sailing across the room! Dr. B glared at me. My hands started to shake as I grabbed the port of the patient’s intravenous line, pierced it with the needle of the syringe, and began to push the fluid with both thumbs on the plunger as hard as I could through her line. Her body quickly was becoming acidic, so the bicarbonate would counteract this. The Doctor continued to give orders and I pushed the medications through the IV while Ann and Debbie continued respirations and compressions. After 30 minutes, Dr. B. said, “Stop…we lost her.” He turned and left the room.

Everything became quiet. Miss S said, “I’ll call the family while you and the aide wash her body, put a clean gown on her, and clean up the room. Ann removed the code cart from the room and took it down the elevator to the supply department to exchange it for a new cart.

After the aide and I cleaned up Eleanor’s body, I stood alone beside her bed gazing at her. Her face looked relaxed. Her body was still warm. This was the first time I ever saw anyone die. I didn’t know her well, so I don’t know if she had a personal relationship with Christ or not. Silently I prayed, Dear Lord, Use me for your glory and honor. I don’t know how many days I have left here on earth, but You do. Help me to always be ready to meet You. Thank You for saving my soul by your precious blood. Amen

June, 1977 – Evening Charge Nurse

I have now completed orientation and feel like the biggest adjustment is over. It  came to the point where I was daily dreading when the time arrived for me to leave for work. The pressures and responsibilities almost overwhelmed me because all I could hear in my dreams at night was, “Code Blue, Tower 5, Code Blue, Tower 5…” I was so fearful of resuscitating anyone because of the havoc and chaos at my first Code Blue.

I poured out my heart to God and realized I must trust Him, because He is the one who controls life and death, not me! As it says in II Timothy 2:4-5, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the the truth. For there is one God , and one mediator between God and men, the man, Christ Jesus. How God longs for each person to receive Him as their Savior, but He will not force Himself upon anyone.

Now I enjoy going to work every evening, and rest in the Lord to give me the wisdom and strength in every emergency, allowing Him handle it through me! I am just the glove on His hand. How delightful to rest in Him!

And now, the exciting part… the Lord has opened the door for me to teach a Bible class with one of my former patients! One day when I was teaching the class about diabetes, I was able to share the gospel with the patients. Mary listened attentively and asked me to come to her room after class. She shared with me that she also is a Christian and was longing to learn more about the Bible. She lives close to the hospital, so I offered to teach her, and she eagerly said, “Yes!” So every Tuesday morning I go to her home before I go to work and we have the most wonderful time together in the Word.

I was preparing for tomorrow and studying Genesis 22, where Abraham was willing to offer up his only son, Isaac, in obedience to God. He believed that God could resurrect Isaac and was willing to totally obey God in simple faith. I so desire to always obey God like that!

Reflection

Since those days, I have been involved in many Codes for cardiac arrest including infants in labor and delivery and adults when I worked in dialysis and the nursing home. Some nurses enjoy emergencies, but I never have. I am more comfortable having the difficult conversation with elderly terminal patients about their choice of whether or not they want to be resuscitated, and when to choose hospice care. It is a sobering thing to watch someone pass into eternity. But it is truly delightful when I know the person has received Christ as their Savior, and he is welcomed home into heaven above! What grace of our dear Savior to save sinners like us!

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.

Psalm 116:15

 

 

Come Aside and Rest A While

Summer – 1976 – Midwest USA

I started out the summer working as a Nursing Assistant at Children’s Hospital where I had my clinicals last summer. They floated me one day to the burn unit and the nurse asked me to watch her do the dressings on a 2 year old so I could do them the next time with her watching. As a senior nursing student, they allowed me to do some procedures under close supervision. The little boy stood in his crib as she began to unwind his dressings. As the burned skin was exposed, his blood ran down his legs and arms and he began to scream. I felt myself begin to black out and turned and sank into a nearby chair and put my head on my knees. After the blackness cleared, I stood up and went out into the hallway. The nurse finished the dressings and came out into the hallway to speak with me. I said, “I’m so sorry, but I thought I was going to faint. I have never witnessed anything like that before.” She said she understood and told the supervisor not to assign me to the burn unit again. They sent me back to the orthopedic unit where I was last summer. I guess I deal better with the kids in traction than the burned ones.

After 4 weeks of arising at 5 a.m. in order to catch the 6:30 a.m. bus to work, the dizziness, nausea, and weariness was almost unbearable. I could not smile at anyone and my soul was crying in agony to God. I felt like Elijah under the juniper tree crying out to God to take him home. (I Kings 19:4-7) My Pastor was very concerned about me and asked me to take a walk with him before church Sunday night. “Pam, I think you are so rigid right now and have planned everything so much that God can’t work. Let go, and let God do whatever He wants! For one week, don’t plan anything. Take every day as it comes and do everything the opposite you usually do. Go out to a restaurant and eat a meal, listen to the birds, take long walks in the woods. Don’t study your Bible for one week except to read a few verses in the morning.  It will make you a better Bible student in the long run.”

His words were quite a shock to me, but I was willing to try anything since I had lost all joy in the Lord. The next weekend, I drove up to see Jane for one night and we went hiking at the state park. I had to stop every 30 feet to rest a little. When I awoke on Monday, I was still so dizzy and exhausted that I called in sick. After praying about it the rest of the day, I decided I needed to resign and return to my parents’ home to rest the remainder of the summer. I called the head nurse and told her the situation, and she said she understood. After 7 quarters straight of school, with the last one in psychiatry and the demanding classes, my body was beyond exhausted.

My parents were very concerned about me also and were extremely kind to me. After 2 weeks of total rest, I began to feel like myself again and could smile and laugh! I just finished reading a little book by M. R. DeHaan MD called Broken Things. He said, “The Lord only breaks those whom He is going to make.” “Sunshine all the time makes a desert.” I understand better now that I don’t need to strive and push doors open, but just relax and let the Lord open or close the doors. His tenderness in giving me 2 months just to meditate and enjoy Him brings tears to my eyes.

My Dad kindly drove our travel trailer to the state park a couple hours away and set it up so my Mom and I could stay for the week while he returned to work. God has given my Mom and me very precious times together. I so enjoy walking through the woods listening to the rustling leaves, watching the butterflies and dragonflies fly from flower to flower. At night, the chirping crickets lull me to sleep, and the singing birds awaken me every morning. How I thank God for these precious blessings and restoring my health!

Camping at the State Park was so relaxing!

Camping at the State Park was so relaxing!

Reflection

Since 1976, I have had several other times in my life of total exhaustion when I have simply burned the candle at both ends and pushed my body too far.  As I read the passage in I Kings again about Elijah, he had just run for his life 93 miles to flee wicked Queen Jezebel who was trying to kill him! No wonder he was exhausted. After he said to God, “It is enough! Now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, an angel touched him and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he ate and then slept some more and ate some more. He was able to go 40 days and nights after that. Now I realize I am certainly not Elijah, but the cure was the same for me. Sleep and eat, sleep and eat.

The disciples were deeply grieving after burying their beloved friend, John the Baptist, who was beheaded by wicked King Herod. I love the passage in Mark 6:30-31which says And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told Him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. And He said unto them, Come aside into a desert place, and rest a while; for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” It’s so wonderful that our dear Savior sees when we need to rest and provides it for us!

trillium

3 petaled trillium wild flower reminds me of the Trinity!

A restful walk in the woods.

A restful walk in the woods with my sister, Marsha.

January, 2018

I am currently recovering from pneumonia and a horrific reaction to a medicine that put me in the hospital for 12 days. As I slowly regain my strength, I will repeat some of my most popular posts. Please pray for me to learn all the lessons God has for me during this time of recovery. I praise Him that He has made the Bible extremely precious to me as I lean hard on Him. The medicine caused some short term memory loss which was terrifying to me, but God quieted my heart when I remembered 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 

If you have any encouraging Bible verses that you want to share with me and other readers here, please post them in the Comments section. May you have a blessed week of “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” Hebrews 12:2.

Pamela, APRN