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

 

 

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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

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, 2017

“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I Thessalonians 5:18

Dear Readers,

It seems hard to believe that I began writing this blog four years ago after attending a Christian writer’s conference. My goals in recording what God has taught me during nearly 40 years of nursing is to glorify Him, encourage Christian nurses, and reveal to young people what nursing is all about.  I pray godly Christians will enter the field with realistic expectations.

As many baby boomers like myself retire, we need young men and women to fill the ranks who will give compassionate excellent care to their patients from a heart filled with Christ’s love. Nursing was often a challenging and difficult occupation, but the rewards were great whenever I had the opportunity to point one of my patients to my dear Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank the Lord for each of you who come from over 130 countries around the world. When I began to write this blog, I didn’t know if anyone would ever read it, but nearly 7000 people have now discovered it. The main countries where you, my readers, reside are USA, Brazil, Canada, United Kingdom, Philippines, Germany, India, Australia, Italy, and France. Thank you for those of you who have told others about my blog. I’m hoping that I will have time to complete recording my nursing career journey over the next months.

I retired 18 months ago, but have been busy ever since with Spanish language school for seven months, relocating, and several travel trips thrown in there. People warned me that retirement could be busy, and I have found that to be the case! But it has been  enjoyable to make new friends in different corners of the world. I thank God for a good measure of health He has given me.

As we celebrate my favorite holiday here in the USA, Thanksgiving, I thank the Lord for each of you. I pray you will receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior if you have not already done so. If I can answer any questions you may have about salvation or pray for you specifically, please email me at pamela.aprn@gmail.com.   For those of you who are fellow believers, may you continue to grow in His grace and keep ” looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

thanksgiving

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.

Prayer for Our Veterans

Nurse Case Manager

I dialed the phone and on the third ring, an elderly man answered in a deep gravelly voice. “Hello?”

“Hi, Mr. G, I am your nurse case manager from the veterans’ clinic and work with your doctor. Your veterans’ clinic home care  nurse said that you came back to your assisted living apartment from the nursing home today, so Welcome Home!”

Mr. G. sadly replied, “I wish I was still in the nursing home. They were so nice to me there. I won’t take any pills until my nurse, Jane, comes here and puts them in my pill box!”

“Mr. G, I’m afraid the nurse from Medicare has to see you for a few weeks first until you are stable, and then Jane will be back.”

“But I don’t like the Medicare nurse! I love Jane. She’s wonderful! I fought in World War II for this country and gave this country the best years of my life. If it weren’t for guys like me, you would be speaking German or Japanese right now! I should be given the nurse I want! Why are you dumping me now???” he shouted into the phone.

I took a deep breath and prayed silently, “Dear Lord, give me the right words for this dear veteran. Help me to explain the rules to him.” “Mr. G, Jane is not allowed to see you twice a week like you need right now. She is only permitted to see you once or twice a month after you are stable for health maintenance visits. Please let the other nurse come to visit you for a few weeks, and then Jane will come back. If you don’t like the Medicare nurse, call me and I will ask the agency to send a different nurse.”

“Well, OK. If that’s how it has to be. I’m so lonely ever since my wife died and went to heaven to be with the Lord. I’ll be glad when I see the Lord Jesus Christ and her again. Thank you for your help, Pam. You’re OK! Could I tell you one more thing? God loves you, and so do I!”

My eyes filled with tears. “I love you too, Mr G.” I slowly hung up the phone and prayed,

Dear Father, Thank you for all our veterans who served our country. Thank You for the freedom I have in the USA. Bless and strengthen and protect our troops right now around the world. I pray that each one would look to you and receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Amen.

Thank You, Lord, for our Veterans!

Thank You, Lord, for our Veterans!

Reflection

Mr G. died the next year at the age of 93. I thank the Lord for him and our other veterans that I might enjoy the freedom I have here in the USA. As a nurse case manager working for the federal government, it was sometimes very challenging to explain the complex rules and insurance regulations of the various programs available to veterans. As we honor our veterans here in the USA on November 11, I pray God would bless and strengthen them.

I hope you watch the following video about a dear World War 2 veteran, Harry Walmer, who gave much for his country. I have had the pleasure of meeting him and thanking him for his service. Despite his 100% disability from the war, he continues to rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ and looks forward to that day when he will go to heaven to be with his Savior.

Harry Walmer story

I also pray that we would all be good soldiers of the cross for the Lord Jesus Christ as we are in a spiritual warfare daily. May we be able to echo with the Apostle Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8

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.