Pain, Pain – Go Away!

April 22, 2004

I had my painful left knee injected with cortisone yesterday because I could barely walk. I have been trying to climb more flights of stairs at work to get in shape for ascending the Great Wall in China, but it has only made my knee worse. I do wish I never would have tried to learn how to downhill ski nine years ago. A bad fall is what started all the arthritis in my knee. It’s difficult to make my walking rounds at work in the hospital because of the pain.

April 24, 2004

“He (God) gives power to the faint; and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31

 I saw the Physical Therapist (PT) yesterday and he thinks I have floating pieces of cartilage in my knee again because of the catching and buckling when I walk. The orthopedic Physician’s Assistant (PA) read me the surgeon’s operative report from 1996 who said I have a major defect beneath my patella (knee cap) and exposed bone. My xrays this week showed arthritis behind the patella and a narrowing of the space, so I’m probably looking at a total knee replacement in the near future. The Lord knows. The PT gave me an electrical stimulation machine to use for the pain four times daily over the weekend. I apply electrodes on either side of my knee and then the small machine sends low dose electrical signals through my knee to block the pain.

May 3, 2004

“I will go before you and make the rough places smooth… and I will give you treasures of darkness, and hidden wealth of secret places in order that you may know that it is I, the Lord God of Israel, who calls you by your name.” Isaiah 45:2-3

So much has happened in the past week. SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) has reoccurred in Beijing leading to one person’s death, eight confirmed cases, and 1000 people exposed. I am scheduled to visit friends in Beijing on May 19. I have committed the situation to the Lord and have asked Him to open or close the door for me to go. It is so wonderful to be still and know that God is in control.

June 5, 2004

I had an interesting trip to China and enjoyed seeing the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, and climbing an unrestored part of the Great Wall with my friends. I thank the Lord for the health He gave me and for protecting me from SARS, but all the walking took a toll on my knee.

I just fit in the Circle Door at the Summer palace

I had fun dressing up as Empress Pam at the Summer Palace.

Staying cool Chinese style as I toured the massive Forbidden City.

July 2, 2004

My left knee started catching and buckling again last week, so my boss, Dr. S., was able to call the orthopedic surgeon and get me an appointment this week. Dr. M., the surgeon, is a friendly personable guy. He said, “I really like you, but I hate your knee.” He looked at my xrays and photos from my last arthroscopy two years ago and said I was already down to the bone in several places with severe arthritis. He informed me that a knee replacement lasts 17-20 years under the best conditions and doesn’t work well if I would need a second knee replacement on the same knee. I’m only 49 years old, so I sure hope the Lord comes soon! I also am very high risk for synovitis (painful inflammation of the joint). I will have my third arthroscopy on July 23 to clean out my knee.

August 1, 2004

I have had a rough recovery from my arthroscopy with weakness and dizziness. I saw Dr. M. for followup and he said my knee looks like one from a 90 year old woman and that it is not happy. He suggested that I need to think about getting a desk job, take another week off from work, and then return only four hours per day. The next step is a total knee replacement, but he can’t predict if or how long the arthroscopy will give me any pain relief. This news shocked me, but I’m thankful that my soul is happy in Jesus even though my knee isn’t.

“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no food; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; Yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and He will make me walk upon mine high places. Habakkuk 3:17-19

God uses change so we can use our spiritual muscles that we have never used before.

Reflection

And so God gave me lessons once more in the school of pain. Little did I know that I would remain in this classroom for many more months. God is so kind to hide the future from us so that we may learn to abide in Him and trust Him just for today. Next post I will continue telling you about my painful journey.

 

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Sleeping in Statistics Class

College Freshman – May, 1974

“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary…” Isaiah 40:29-30

“Pam, Can you please see me after class?” announced my statistics professor. I nervously approached Professor L. who had shared at the beginning of the quarter with the class that he was a Christian. (He was the only professor in my four years of college who claimed to be a Christian.) He said, “I noticed you have been falling asleep in class. Do you have a job where you work at night?”

Sleeping in Statistics Class

Sleeping in Statistics Class

stat class

I explained that I worked ten hours weekly at the main library. The statistics class was from 4-5 pm Monday-Friday when I was most weary. I had also just missed a week of class because I was sick with the flu. We reviewed my midterm grades of 96% (A) on the first one and 6% (F) on the second one. I had never failed a test before and was horrified when I saw the F! I had reviewed my classmate’s notes for the week I missed, but I guess I didn’t understand the material. He kindly said, “Pam, get a tutor to review the material before the final exam. If you do well on the final exam and remaining quizzes, I will drop your F on the midterm now that I understand your circumstances”. I thanked him profusely for his consideration and advice.

In addition to working and taking classes, I was teaching the women’s Bible class weekly and children’s Bible Club every other week. It was no surprise that I became ill, because I was simply doing too much! I found someone else to teach the Bible clubs, found a tutor, and did my best on the statistics final exam. In June, I apprehensively opened my grades when they arrived in the mail.  B in statistics!!! Thank You, Lord, for your grace and strength! My courses this quarter were: statistics – 5 hours, chemistry- 5 hours, violin lessons – 1 hour, logic – 5 hours, tennis – 1 hour.

Reflection

So ended my freshman year of college. It still remains a constant balancing act between worshiping and serving the Lord, working, maintaining my home, and getting enough rest and relaxation. I ask the Lord daily to help me put Him first and do all things for His glory and honor while resting and delighting in Him. When people ask me to do something, I pray about it first and ask the Lord what He wants me to do. As nurses, we are used to always helping people and our automatic response is “Yes”. But I have slowly learned over the years to say “No” if God does not give me peace about going forward.

Many times in my nursing career when I have been totally exhausted, I have cried out to God to strengthen me and ask Him to do my job through Me, while leaning hard on Him. A favorite poem of mine is “Lean Hard“.

Child of My love, Lean Hard, and let Me feel the pressure of thy care;

I know thy burden, child, I shaped it; Poised it in Mine own hand, made no proportion

In its weight to thine unaided strength. For even as I laid it on, I said,

I shall be near, and while he leans on Me, This burden shall be Mine, not his;

So shall I keep My child within the circling arms of My own love.

Here lay it down, nor fear to impose it on a shoulder

Which upholds the government of worlds.

Yet closer come; Thou are not near enough; I would embrace thy care

So I might feel My child reposing on My breast. Thou lovest Me? I knew it.

Doubt not then; but loving Me, Lean Hard.

(unknown author)

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord and He shall sustain thee.” Psalm 55:22

“Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” I Peter 5:7

Rest in the Lord

Sleeping in Statistics Class

College Freshman – May, 1974

“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary…” Isaiah 40:29-30

“Pam, Can you please see me after class?” announced my statistics professor. I nervously approached Professor L. who had shared at the beginning of the quarter with the class that he was a Christian. (He was the only professor in my four years of college who claimed to be a Christian.) He said, “I noticed you have been falling asleep in class. Do you have a job where you work at night?”

Sleeping in Statistics Class

Sleeping in Statistics Class

stat class

I explained that I worked ten hours weekly at the main library. The statistics class was from 4-5 pm Monday-Friday when I was most weary. I had also just missed a week of class because I was sick with the flu. We reviewed my midterm grades of 96% (A) on the first one and 6% (F) on the second one. I had never failed a test before and was horrified when I saw the F! I had reviewed my classmate’s notes for the week I missed, but I guess I didn’t understand the material. He kindly said, “Pam, get a tutor to review the material before the final exam. If you do well on the final exam and remaining quizzes, I will drop your F on the midterm now that I understand your circumstances. I thanked him profusely for his consideration and advice.

In addition to working and taking classes, I was teaching the women’s Bible class weekly and children’s Bible Club every other week. It was no surprise that I became ill, because I was simply doing too much! I found someone else to teach the Bible clubs, found a tutor, and did my best on the statistics final exam. In June, I apprehensively opened my grades when they arrived in the mail.  B in statistics!!! Thank You, Lord, for your grace and strength! My courses this quarter were: statistics – 5 hours, chemistry- 5 hours, violin lessons – 1 hour, logic – 5 hours, tennis – 1 hour.

Reflection

So ended my freshman year of college. It still remains a constant balancing act between worshiping and serving the Lord, working, maintaining my home, and getting enough rest and relaxation. I ask the Lord daily to help me put Him first and do all things for His glory and honor while resting and delighting in Him. When people ask me to do something, I pray about it first and ask the Lord what He wants me to do. As nurses, we are used to always helping people and our automatic response is “Yes”. But I have slowly learned over the years to say “No” if God does not give me peace about going forward.

Many times in my nursing career when I have been totally exhausted, I have cried out to God to strengthen me and ask Him to do my job through Me, while leaning hard on Him. A favorite poem of mine is “Lean Hard“.

Child of My love, Lean Hard, and let Me feel the pressure of thy care;

I know thy burden, child, I shaped it; Poised it in Mine own hand, made no proportion

In its weight to thine unaided strength. For even as I laid it on, I said,

I shall be near, and while he leans on Me, This burden shall be Mine, not his;

So shall I keep My child within the circling arms of My own love.

Here lay it down, nor fear to impose it on a shoulder

Which upholds the government of worlds.

Yet closer come; Thou are not near enough; I would embrace thy care

So I might feel My child reposing on My breast. Thou lovest Me? I knew it.

Doubt not then; but loving Me, Lean Hard.

(unknown author)

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord and He shall sustain thee.” Psalm 55:22

“Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” I Peter 5:7

Rest in the Lord