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Archive for the ‘Hospitals today’ Category

. . . waking in the morning to the sound of much-needed rain,

sharing a breakfast at our local “good old boy” restaurant,

stopping at the library and leaving with 2 heavy sacks of books,

celebrating the progression of summertime in our gardens,

sitting in “our row” in church with 10 great grandchildren—ages 6 and under,

gently stepping back in time at the antique barn up the road,

eating ice cream on the patio, 

sleeping, waking, breathing in and out!

Sweet savor offerings of praise are going up each day!  For five weeks Joe and I have been at home.  This is a record.  Since September, 2010 when I had spinal fusion surgery right up until mid-June, 2011 when Joe had a heart emergency we have not been out of a hospital for more than a month.  The one-month break happened only once.  For the rest of that period we averaged a hospital stay every two to three weeks—with each stay lasting from 2 to 10 days.

I’m not clueless enough to believe this blessed hiatus will last forever.  We live one day at a time, and when a crisis comes we find peace and joy in the midst of whatever God allows in our lives.  But at this moment we are enjoying peace and joy at home, doing “normal” things!  🙂

Margaret L. Been, ©2011

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Easter was special this year!  Just as Joe and I spent last Thanksgiving and Christmas at Aurora Summit Hospital, we spent our Easter there as well.  We have nick-named our hospital, “Holiday Inn”. 

Joe’s leg pain augmented to a point where it was impossible for him to be at home with only 110 pound me to help him get around.  Last Tuesday Joe was admitted to the hospital Inpatient Rehab Unit for medical care and the assistance he needed.

The leg pain was baffling.  Joe’s 4th degree burn from the October accident had healed beautifully.  His post-op rotator cuff healing was progressing well—and the pain was in a leg, not in the shoulder.  Why the severe pain?  Joe’s physiatrist (pain management doctor) puzzled over the enigma, ordered an ultra-sound, and discovered a large Baker’s cyst.  Once the cyst was dealt with the leg improved daily, and now—although with great effort—Joe can walk with considerably diminished pain.

Joe was hospitalized in the rehab unit for 7 nights.  I stayed there with him for 6 of those nights.  As before when I have “vacationed” with Joe at our Holiday Inn, I cannot thank God enough for the care and comfort received in this hospital.

I’ve learned so much over the last 6 months, it would take a large book to even begin to tell it all!  I’ve grown to love many of the individuals who have tended Joe’s needs (and mine, when I was a surgery patient there over Christmas).  We are amazed at the personal care and compassion of our doctors, and many of the nurses and aides.

Often, when going through a crisis, we are tempted to ask, “Why, Lord?”  That question has been answered for me, again and again, before I even bother to ask!  I’m certain that more answers will be unveiled as time passes. 

Over the 3 holidays, as well as during our 9 other hospital sessions in the last 6 months, I’ve had many opportunities to share God’s grace.  God fills us with His joy and peace, as we focus on Him.  We were thankful on Thanksgiving.  Christmas was still very much Christmas, our surgeries notwithstanding.  

And Easter was Easter!  Christ is risen!  The joy of the resurrection superceded any inconvenience or potential regrets we might have had over being away from our home and the “normal” holiday routine.

Visits from family members have been wonderful.  One day I heard the chatter of children down the hall.  I knew they would be some of our great-grandchildren, as Joe was the only patient in the unit during our stay.  Sure enough, a group of our treasures popped into the room bringing their freshness and excitement! 

I always bring arts and crafts with me, to keep my hands and imagination fulfilled during hospital “vacations”.  Nurses and aides often pause to visit, and frequently they are curious about my knitting projects and amateurish forays into sketching and painting.  They are fascinated when I show them my homemade soap, and they enjoy the music from our IPOD.  These women share their interests with me as well, and the social time is rich!

Last Saturday one of the aides asked me (2 times!) if she could bring her boy friend into the room to meet us before they left the hospital for their dinner date that evening.  I was touched and absolutely thrilled (almost to tears!), and of course I said “Yes”! 

What a treat it was to be included for a few moments in a young couple’s life.  I reflected over the many years of welcoming the friends of our 6 children, and sharing our home and dinner table with them.  Sharing our hospital room was a small scale replay of those delightful years! 

Perhaps the highlight (if I can single out only 1) of our most recent hospital stay happened in the “dead of the night”.  The aide who came into the room to check Joe’s blood pressure suddenly noticed my Star of David earrings.  She gasped, and said, “You are wearing Star of David earrings.  Where did you get those?” 

I told her about my favorite Hebrew jewelry website, and then she asked, “Are you Jewish?” 

I gave my favorite reply to anyone who asks about my Jewish jewelry:  “I’m a Christian with a Jewish heart!”* 

The aide was thrilled.  She said, “I am Jewish.  Oh, I love you!”

Then I showed her my ring with 12 glass stones signifying the 12 tribes of Israel, and she was even more thrilled.  My parting words to her flew out spontaneously from my Christian/Jewish heart:  “I think it’s so important that we make a statement today!”*

So you see, I have no problem with the question, “Why, Lord?”  His answers abound before I even ask!

Meanwhile, Joe comes home today.  It’s 2 weeks today since his shoulder surgery.  In 4 weeks the brace can come off.  Then, “God willing and the creeks don’t rise”, we can go fishing!

Yes, I’m thankful for the experiences God has provided during the past challenging months, for His ongoing care, encouragement, and strength.  I’m thankful for the assistance of family members and friends.  I’m thankful for modern medicine, and the caregivers involved.  And I’m thankful for your prayers!

Margaret L. Been, 2011

*Note:  I’ve come to consider jewelry as far more than just adornment.  My lovely Cross with turquois stones and my Hebrew jewelry have been great conversation starters, providing many occasions to share what I believe!

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Anyone who has never felt overwhelmed in the midst of life events is either not thinking or possibly under 2 years of age.  We can creatively sublimate our experiences, quote Bible verses until the proverbial cows come home, and stand positionally on God’s unquestionable faithfulness.  Yet there will be times in our humanity when we feel like we are being carried away in a flood—not as catastrophical as the Great Flood pictured above, but nonetheless a seemingly insurmountable flood of circumstances!

I experience an initial mental and emotional flood every time my husband, Joe, is caught up in a severe medical issue.  I’ve had my own medical concerns but they never wipe me out the way my husband’s issues do.  That’s because each time Joe has a crisis I feel overwhelmed by my responsibility as a caregiver.  I think, what if I made a mistake; what if I simply could not do what is expected of me? 

Many times over the years Joe has had challenges, healthwise, and somehow God has managed to get me through the times of stress and concern.  No episode has been more overwhelming than those events over the last 6 months since Joe’s untimely accident. 

Again and again I’ve thought, I can’t do this Lord!  I can’t change the dressing on Joe’s 4th degree burn as well as a professional nurse could.  I can’t sufficiently help him when he is unable to walk and one of his shoulders is agonizingly injured—as I might hurt him more. 

And yet with God’s grace, I have done these things.  I’ve dressed his wound for weeks, and I’ve been his legs and extra arm when needed.

The most recent flood washed over me last week.  Joe had surgery on the injured shoulder—an extensive rotator cuff repair.  In the hospital, I watched two nurses lift him in order to change his bedding.  I saw him struggle to his feet, as his muscle grafted leg wound was causing extra pain and weakness due to his overdoing of physical therapy the day before the surgery.

Joe needed to regain more strength on his leg before going home.  I needed to rest one more night (I now stay in the hospital with Joe when he is a patient) before facing the home care which I feared I wouldn’t be able to manage due to my own chronic pain issues. 

I told the medical staff that I was overwhelmed, and needed more time before going home!  Nevertheless, we came home.  Medicare and our supplementary insurance will not pay after all the (deemed necessary) procedures (tests, IVs, etc.) have been completed. 

It’s assumed that rest and recuperation can best be served at home.  Perhaps that’s true in some cases, but it never seems possible at the precarious moment of hospital discharge.  And if medical issues still threaten to present themselves, it would be far better for the patient to have just a bit more time under hospital supervision and care. 

After several days at home, Joe’s shoulder is amazingly pain free.  But the leg where Joe had the 4th degree burn has been swollen and extremely painful.  Yesterday’s visit to Joe’s plastic surgeon happily confirmed that there is no infection present.  His symptoms have been aggravated by fluids administered after surgery.  Diuretics have been prescribed, which are already working to alleviate the discomfort.

Yes, the floods can seem overwhelming.  But somehow the Lord keeps sustaining us and bringing us through the high waters—through whatever He allows in the circumstances of our lives!  Our Lord suffered unspeakable tortures on that cross, and He is risen!  Like Noah and his family who survived the Great Flood, those who enter God’s ark by trusting the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation are eternally sustained by His grace!

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  II Corinthians 4:17-18 (NIV)

Margaret L. Been, ©2011

(Public Domain image courtesy of Karen’s Whimsy.)

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