Tag Archives: health

Surgery in T-4 Days…

DSCN7590

The next four days cannot pass soon enough!  I’m focusing on my recovery period more so than the upcoming gall bladder surgery.  (at least that’s what I keep telling myself)  The truth is, no one wants to have surgery, but, in this case, I so want it behind me so I can move toward better health!  I’ve been on bed rest for the last three weeks since my ER visit and this is entirely contrary to my normal routine.  I’m usually very busy, so this little “vacation” of sorts, a miserable one at that, has been very strange.

The nurse called from the hospital yesterday to review my medical history, etc. and really put my mind at ease when we discussed my past vasovagal response.  She noted on my file for them not to place the i.v. in my hand, but in my arm rather.  What a huge answer to prayer this was!!  I really did not want to pass out again in pre-op, like I did previously with another surgery.  This offers a great deal of peace of mind for me and is so comforting to know they will respect my wishes.  Of course, I may have to remind the pre-op nurse of this on the morning of my surgery, but now I feel comfortable making my preference known and knowing they can accommodate it.

It is never a good feeling being out of control and that is exactly what a vasovagal response is.  It’s an involuntary reaction to pain or a situation that your physical body wants to escape.  And so, you pass out – sort of a self-preservation response.  So, I’m very glad to remove this scenario from possibly reoccurring altogether.

I’m so looking forward to feeling better!  I’ve been trying to reassure my kids (16 & 18) that this is a very routine surgery and I may be home the same day, etc.  They’ve been so concerned about me but I think they’re relaxing a little now.  I hope so.  I don’t want them to worry.  First of all, I know ultimately I’m in God’s hands and there is a great peace knowing that!  Secondly, I believe the surgeon is highly skilled and the hospital is very competent.  So, I believe my surgery should go smoothly and I’ll be on the mend very shortly.  This time next week, my body will be in the healing phase! Praise the Lord for that!

Then, I will recover for a couple months and have a hysterectomy.  (glutton for punishment, huh?)  Again, while I’m not looking forward to the surgery itself, I am excited about my recovery.  2016 will be a humdinger of a year but I know that God is walking beside me each step of the way and that gives me great peace!  I also am confident that He is working ALL things together for my good and His glory!  (Romans 8:28)

My husband and kids have been wonderful caretakers of me and I’m grateful for that.  I am, however, looking forward to resuming my normal responsibilities once I recover.

Last night our Bible study leader brought chicken, rice, salad and cupcakes for dinner, which was very thoughtful.  The kids were very excited.  And a couple neighbors have offered to bring dinner post-surgery too.  And our Bible study leader will bring dinner again next week.  We appreciate their kindness so much.  I think the last time we had someone bring us dinner was when our daughter was born – 18 years ago!  We are so accustomed to blessing others that sometimes it’s a little strange being on the receiving end.  Although if there ever was a time when someone needs a blessing – it’s when they’re going to have surgery, I have to say.

If you would, please say a prayer regarding my surgery and for peace for our family.  Thanks so much!  Blessings!

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…Be still and know that I am God.”  ~ Psalm 46:1,10

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Health Stuff

Waiting for Surgery

IMG_3282

Surgery is such a common occurrence these days that it is possible you or someone you know will have surgery in the near future.  As I find myself in that category, I thought I’d offer some useful tips for both the patient and friends and family.

To the patient first – 

  •  My best advice is to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible regarding the type of surgery you will undergo.  The more you know, the less you will worry.  The fear of the unknown is a terrible thing.
  • Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Prepare your household (stock up on groceries, make sure things are taken care of in advance that usually rely on your efforts.)
  • Pay all bills and make sure spouse knows where important papers are.
  • Pamper yourself a little.
  • Pray and leave the surgery in God’s hands.
  • Relax.  Before you know it, the surgery will be history and you’ll be on the road to recovery!

To friends & family –

  • Ask your friend or family member how you can best offer assistance.
  • Plan to prepare a simple meal to drop off after surgery. (Don’t linger.  They need rest and are likely in pain.)
  • Offer to do light grocery shopping.
  • Write a thoughtful get well card.  (Everyone loves to be thought of, especially when they’re not feeling up to par.)
  • Give a little thinking of you gift. (lip balm, lotion, word search puzzle book, etc.)
  • Pray for their healing, comfort and peace during this time.

 

I hope this was helpful.  If you’d like to add any tips, please leave a comment.

Here’s wishing all of us a healthy year!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Health Stuff, Uncategorized

1st of 3 Dr. appts. this week…

“Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news.”  That’s what the ER Dr. said last week as she reviewed my CT scan results.  And that’s summation of my G.I. doctor’s appointment today.

Do you want the good news first?  … I thought you might.  Well, the pain I’ve been experiencing has nothing at all to do with the diverticulosis or fatty liver that I have.  A proper diet of high fiber, lots of fruits and veggies should help both conditions.  She really didn’t seemed phased by either of those diagnoses.  I was deeply relieved on many counts, namely that I’m holding tightly onto the years I have left before turning half a century, thus receiving this magical card for an honorary colonoscopy.  No thanks.  Delay.  Delay, please.

The bad news is … The pain I’m having may be due to my gall bladder.  Sigh.

So, she’s sending me for a Hida (Hepatobilary) Scan to test the functionality of my gall bladder.  They inject a dye via i.v. and you lay on the table for an hour while a camera takes pictures.  Oh joy.  Do I sound excited?  I thought my excitement might shine through.  😉

I am glad to undergo further testing and hopefully get to the bottom of my pain; however, I do not relish the thought of laying on a table for an hour.  She’s also sending me for more lab work.

All in all, I thought it was a very thorough visit and plan on resting until my next appointment.

Earlier I Googled gall bladder symptoms, etc. and came across this hilariously insulting but possibly true statement by Jordan Knowlton on Livescience.com:

“Those prone to gallbladder disease usually fall into the five F’s:

Fair, Fat, 40, Female & Flatulent.”

Nice.

I’ve just been summed up in one sentence.  😉

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Health Stuff

My Recent ER Visit

I had my Land’s End red, flannel pajamas on and had settled in for a long winter’s night. My blue eyes had been asleep for about an hour and woke up as my husband was brushing his teeth, preparing to go to bed himself.

A gnawing pain in my abdomen grabbed my attention, along with the fact that I was now shivering uncontrollably.  And it wasn’t because I was cold.  It seemed my body was really going through something.  I wrestled within myself as to whether or not I should go to the emergency room.  I really didn’t want to go.  However, my then 17 year old daughter just had an appendectomy last year and I was worried it may be my appendix!

My husband discarded his green and blue plaid, flannel pajamas for jeans and we proceeded to the hospital at 12:30 a.m.  I had to literally hold my jaw closed on the ride there just so my teeth wouldn’t keep chattering.  I had never had anything like this to happen before.  I’m the healthy one.  I generally don’t get sick.  Mom has to stay strong for the rest of the bunch, right?

Fortunately, once I completed the necessary registration paperwork, the nurse called me back to triage.  It was pretty miraculous that the waiting room was completely empty!  From there, once she took my vitals, she got me situated in a room in the ER.  She had me change into the hospital gown, which, by the way, is entirely frustrating to wrestle with!  Upon shifting in the bed, this gown literally could choke you.  I pondered a better design…maybe an elastic neckline?  After all, the patient is already encumbered by a plastic tube in their arm, otherwise known as an i.v.

The cheery nurse brought me morphine for the pain and a medication for the nausea. Interestingly enough, despite the morphine, I could still feel the pain.

My poor husband was restlessly attempting to nap on two, hard chairs beside my bed in the midst of all the circus.  I don’t know if he ever got more than two winks.  He was up all night and still went to work!  I felt so bad for him and prayed for strength.

It took a couple hours before the doctor came in and then more waiting for my blood work to come back.  Depending on the results, she would order an MRI if it was my gallbladder or a CT Scan if it was my appendix.  I was also feeling nauseated, so I think everyone concluded it was likely my appendix.  I even was preparing myself mentally for the possibility of having emergency surgery.

Around 4 a.m. the male tech wheeled me down to radiology to have a CT Scan.  The nice tech noted that we shared the same birthday.  He injected a dye in my i.v. for the scan and I forgot the odd sensation one receives along with that.  Glad when it was over.

Well, we finally got the news from the doctor that it was, in fact, not my appendix.  Everything looked fine.  For a split second, I felt a little silly there, laying on the hospital gurney, having abdominal pain for nothing.  Until the doctor explained…

There were some “incidental” things noted on the CT Scan.  For one, apparently I possess a “fatty liver”.  I thought there must be some mistake.  I don’t drink, never have.  It’s called “Non-alcoholic fatty liver” and from what I’ve subsequently read, 1 in 4 Americans have it.  They likely just don’t know.  It’s when more than 5-10% of your liver is fatty.  The heartening news is that it is completely reversible through proper diet, lots of vegetables.  But it can take over three years to rehabilitate.  Untreated, it can lead to sclerosis of the liver, which can lead to liver failure.  Well, that’s good news in the wee hours of the morning, isn’t it?

I thought I was having appendicitis… But, wait, there’s more …

I also have Diverticulosis, small holes in my colon.  If those holes become infected, then it becomes Diverticulitis.  Both, not good.  But, with a proper diet, can be treated.  Well, looks like a more stringent diet is on my horizon…  But, wait, there’s still more for this 45 year old body…

Gee, apparently, I’m not as healthy as I thought!  Ironically, despite the fact that I am overweight, I eat very healthy.  Probably the most healthy I ever have.  My now 18 year old daughter preaches, lives and breathes healthy living to all of us.  How can I not?  No, the truth is, because I lost my Mom to breast cancer when I was 23, I have been on a quest for optimum health ever since.  But, I digress…

So, the third bit of good news this ER doctor shared was that I have a sizable fibroid tumor.  Upon further research online, this explains so many other symptoms I’ve been experiencing, but I had no idea.

So, I have three doctor’s appointments scheduled for next week: the G.I. Dr., my primary care physician and the GYN.  I’m looking forward to having many questions answered.

My husband and two children have been wonderful, taking care of me as I try to rest in bed.  Even my daughter, who has POTS, has made hot tea for me and brought me snacks when she’s up to it.  Today is not a good day for her, so hubby and my son are filling in.

Now that I’ve given hubby instructions on how to operate the dishwasher, he loads and our son unloads.  Last night, the kids collaborated on dinner.  Part of the time I heard fussing and the other part was mutual laughter.  It’s always interesting how things come together when mom is out of commission.  I call them kids but they are 16 and 18.  I’m thankful they both know their way around the kitchen very well and are very kind and thoughtful.

I’m so thankful for my family, for good health care, for our home and for the hope that I have in God.  The hope that He is with me every step of the way, even if that includes upcoming surgery.  He is a God who walks beside me and that gives me great comfort.  I also know that He is working ALL things together for my good and His glory!  I will not fear the future, but will rest in knowing that God is already there, for He transcends all time and space.  Nothing catches Him by surprise.  And all my days are planned by Him.

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Health Stuff

Being a Healthcare Advocate

An advocate is one who stands in place for another, who fights for another.

I am Sarah’s greatest health advocate.  Sarah is my 18 year old daughter who was recently diagnosed with POTS.  (I wrote a lengthy post on this that you can check out if you’d like.)

I suppose being a mother predisposes one to being an advocate.  After all, no one wants what’s best for their child more than their mother.  I have become a “Mama Grisly Bear” when it comes to my daughter.  My further training in this regard came in recent years, caring for my aging father.  He particularly has needed an advocate during doctor visits and his hospitalization several years ago when he survived sepsis.  I told him then that I would always be his best advocate and I meant it.  I still am.

In recent months my role as “Health advocate” has expanded to include my teenage daughter, Sarah, who has seen more specialists than one can imagine over the last year.

Last October I became convinced that my daughter’s symptoms matched those of patients with Lyme disease.  In fact, I was pretty sure she had it.  Of course, I have no formal medical training (unless you count being a nurse’s daughter).  🙂  I read articles online and really researched this.  I spoke with friends about it and they, too, were fairly convinced.

So, when we met with Sarah’s new primary care doctor, we strongly requested her being tested for Lyme.  And not just any old test.  We had read that the Western Blot test was the most accurate and that was what we wanted.

Not only did her PC order the Western Blot test, but also ordered another Leukemia round of blood tests as well as any markers in her blood indicating other diseases.  We were glad she was so proactive in ordering these tests but were sent on another emotional roller coaster while we awaited the results once more.  Thankfully, all results were negative!

Because Sarah has seen so many specialists, we always type up a “Medical History” information sheet, which is typically several pages long and includes all recent MRI’s and CAT scans and other diagnostic testing.  I also photocopy all recent lab work results so they know instantly what she’s already been tested for at a glance.

I’m sure some smile at this and perhaps think my efforts are “over the top”, but most thank me wholeheartedly for doing this.  It eliminates many questions and saves their time so they can concentrate on the bigger picture.  It also means we do not have to answer the same questions over and over again, specialist to specialist visit.

Part of being a patient advocate is steering the treatment in the direction you are most comfortable.  Example: Our family tries to eat very healthy and veers toward a more holistic path when possible.  We’re not opposed to medications, but only when necessary and if a supplement couldn’t work just as well.  I am reminded of this because several doctors have suggested birth control for Sarah as a treatment for a couple different issues (that have nothing to do with birth control itself actually).  Sarah has done some research into this drug and is adamantly opposed to using it.  I have to say that I am not a fan either and wouldn’t want that necessarily for her.  My mother died at age 53 of breast cancer and studies have shown increased estrogen levels lead to breast cancer.

Each time we have politely declined using it, both doctors were certainly understanding, which we appreciated.  (I had a doctor years ago discharge me as his patient because I refused to go on a steroid because we were trying to conceive at the time.  So some doctors believe it is their way or the highway, apparently.)

Side note:  Sarah wanted to be a midwife for a while and during that time, educated herself greatly in every aspect.  She even was able to attend a home birth, which was a memorable experience for her.

So, you might say I am a Captain of the Healthcare Sea on my daughter’s behalf, in a way.  Obviously, my daughter’s care is ultimately up to her doctors, but if I believe a leaf needs turned over, I will advocate for it.  Steering is definitely a part of being a good advocate.  So is educating yourself on the symptoms and known diagnosis.  Don’t be afraid to speak up.  In this case, it’s my daughter’s body that we are dealing with.  She may be a stranger to the specialist, but to me, she is a huge part of my world!  And my heart.

At the end of the day, I must know within myself that I’ve exhausted every avenue in an attempt to restore my daughter’s health.  I feel like I’m fighting a battle for her wellness and recovery.   One on one time with each doctor is very limited, so having medical history documented and any questions written down is vital for a successful visit.  It also eliminates “brain fog” during the visit.  It’s an amazing thing that happens when you’re finally face to face with the doctor, often after months of waiting to get in, and then all pertinent questions fly out the window.  Another thing that happens is, whatever the doctor says during the visit winds up becoming a “brain blur” afterward.  I recommend writing notes, asking questions and later documenting the visit for clarity.

I am present during every doctor visit my daughter has, even now that she has turned 18.  She’ll say that sometimes I answer the doctor’s questions and that she wished I would allow her time to do that.  So, I’ve scaled back and attempted to allow her to do most of the talking when possible.  Often what happens is that she experiences POTS “brain fog” and goes on bunny trails in response to the doctor’s questions, which can be confusing and time consuming.  And each visit is so key to Sarah’s recovery that I feel like much is at stake and we must make the most of our time.  So, I speak up when I think it’s useful to the doctor’s understanding of her symptoms.  Sarah thanks me.  Most of the time.  😉

Follow up is another major component of advocacy.  It has been amazing to me the degree that I have had to involve myself and relentless messages to doctor’s offices in order to obtain lab or other diagnostic testing results.  It matters to no one more than you and your family.  Why wouldn’t you follow up?  If the doctor says the lab results should be ready in three days.  Guess who’s calling in three days?  Me!  The sooner we have the results, the sooner treatment and recovery can begin.

Have you ever had to be a staunch advocate for a loved one who is ill?  If so, can you offer any sage words of advice?

 

{Medical Disclaimer:  I am not a doctor.  I don’t even play one on t.v.  I am a mom.  A very loving and dedicated one at that.  The information contained in this blog and any other article on my page are based on our experiences, what we’ve read and our opinions or understanding of POTS.  Please consult a licensed physician for advice and conduct extensive research on your own.}

 

 

 

5 Comments

Filed under POTS

P.O.T.S. & Our Struggle

You may ask, “What is POTS?”  It’s an acronym for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, a disorder of the autonomic nervous system.  This medical term was coined in 1993, however has been around for hundreds of years under other names.

Our world changed last August when our daughter, Sarah, (17 at the time) began experiencing seemingly random, debilitating symptoms.  Her symptoms began as daily migraines, feeling like she’d pass out, severe fatigue, sleep disturbances, joint pain, muscle twitches and g.i. issues.  They have now evolved into cardiac symptoms, such as heart palpitations and heart racing even when at rest, brain fog, memory issues, slower speech and being primarily home bound.

Before I go any further, let me back up the train to state what I think were contributing factors to our daughter contracting POTS.  If you’ve read my blog, you may recall our family was hit by a drunk driver back in May 2014.  We were involved in a traumatic 4 car accident at a red light and rear ended at about 70 mph.  We all endured four months of physical therapy subsequently.

Sarah had an appendectomy in February 2015 and then had all four wisdom teeth extracted in August 2015.  We also moved five states away and Sarah was under pressure to perform well on her ACT test.  It has been said that surgery and major stress on the body can be triggers.  I definitely believe this to be true.

She’d been seeing her primary care doctor regularly post appendectomy, primarily to address her raised white blood cell counts, who referred us to a hematologist to further investigate.  We saw the hematologist a number of times, who referred us to a neurologist concerning Sarah’s massive headaches.  During this time, she was tested for Leukemia, Lymphoma and other markers in the blood that may indicate disease.  I cannot tell you the intense stress our family endured waiting for the blood results when a hematologist is concerned about potentially deadly diseases for your child.  Our stress level was off the charts.  We are strong believers in God’s healing power and the fact that He walks beside us, but our faith was greatly tested and tried during these hours.  It wouldn’t be the last time either.

Praise the Lord, those tests came back negative!!  While we were greatly relieved, it still remained a mystery as to why Sarah’s white blood cell counts and lymphocytes were elevated beyond a normal range.  Our hearts and prayers go out to the parents whose children are battling cancer and other diseases.  It is the worst feeling in the world for your child to be sick and you can’t do anything to make him/her better.  But pray.  And pray we did.  Sarah is on so many prayer lists at so many churches.  Our friends and family have remained faithful in prayer on her behalf and for that, we are ever grateful.  We are convinced that it is due to their prayers that we were sustained during the darkest of hours.

In September 2015, the neurologist diagnosed Sarah with POTS and prescribed Florinef.  As with any new diagnosis, we were overwhelmed with questions.  So, we studied.  Between Sarah and I, I’m pretty sure we could write a small book.  Sarah is a bright girl and curious by nature, so she immersed herself in articles online.

The Florinef helped a great deal in the beginning, but by November and December, Sarah’s symptoms were worsening by the day it seemed.   I felt like I’d lost my baby girl.  Sarah turned 18 in November and could hardly make it out of bed for dinner.  This was our new reality.

She would have begun attending the community college in September 2015 but was not well enough to do so.  She wants to become a nurse, which I think suits her personality and gifts very well.  We’re looking forward to the day she can begin classes.

We switched primary care doctors after we received news that her former doctor was no longer participating with any insurance.  She saw the new PC in early November, who referred us to a GI doctor for her stomach issues as well as a cardiologist for the racing heart symptoms.  By now, our heads are just spinning because we’ve seen more doctors in 2015 than imaginable!

We saw the GI doctor who recommended a colonoscopy and upper endoscopy, so she had that done at the end of November.  The results were very good.

Side note:  Sarah eats a very clean diet and is very disciplined.  She’ll be the first to say not to applaud her too much on that note because she does so more so out of necessity than discipline.  She knows what upsets her stomach and which foods sit well and has learned over the years to adjust accordingly.  Sarah primarily drinks water and occasionally herbal tea.

We finally saw the cardiologist (took a while to get in with this pediatric cardiologist) last week.  I finally feel like we are on a good path!!  Praise the Lord for that!  Because Sarah’s symptoms revolve greatly around the tachycardia, I believe the cardiologist is in the best position to treat her at the moment.  He prescribed Atenolol (which, ironically, my father also takes…for other reasons, of course) to regulate her heart and after being on that for 6 days now, I have to say, it has helped greatly!  She is able to get out of the bed more and I feel like we’re getting our Sarah back.  It isn’t a miracle drug, however.  She still feels the extreme fatigue and other symptoms, but it has helped the tachycardia (rapid heart rate).

Sarah is still unable to do much of anything, aside from lay around and fix her meals.  Part of the treatment for POTS is to increase salt intake and water consumption.  So, she does that.  Even prior to the diagnosis, she drank a lot of water.  She drinks probably 2-3 times the amount she used to.  The reason for the larger salt intake is it helps to increase blood volume and blood pressure, which aids in treating the symptoms.  The underlying issue with POTS is lack of blood flow, which is why she often feels like she will pass out.  (lack of blood flow to the brain)  This is also why she feels so poorly after eating.  Apparently, after you eat, your system is hard at work digesting and diverts extra blood flow to the digestive system.  This is terrible for POTS patients as they need all the blood flow they can get under normal circumstances.  Sarah would have to promptly lay down after eating and fight not to pass out.  As if the symptoms could not worsen, a woman’s monthly cycle exacerbates  the situation.  Again, it all goes back to blood flow and its affects on the entire body.

Because POTS is a disease of the autonomic nervous system, it affects all the body’s systems one cannot control, such as: sleep, heart rate, digestion, respiratory, etc.  In the beginning, we questioned how Sarah could be experiencing the myriad of symptoms she was.  I must admit, I often thought she was a hypochondriac and we tired of hearing about all of her woes.  What a blessing it was to receive the diagnosis, so then we could work toward treatment and hopefully her full recovery one day.  We have heard that others with this illness go undiagnosed for years and that is heartbreaking.

Where are we now?

The cardiologist referred Sarah for physical therapy, which was a godsend!  Physical exercise is very useful.  Strengthening of abdominal and leg muscles is beneficial to the POTS patient because it helps the body effectively and efficiently pump blood upward toward the brain.

Sarah begins meeting with a sports therapist this week and we will keep you posted.  Sadly, she strained her wrist while exercising last week and has it wrapped in an ace bandage, applies Arnicare gel regularly and soaks it in Epsom salt.  Hopefully, she’ll be okay to do the therapy.

One of Sarah’s POTS’ symptoms is “exercise intolerance” and that means that if she exercises, it can wipe her out for days afterward.  It’s awful.  Even a short walk exhausts her for days.  So, the idea with the therapy is to build her tolerance slowly.

I plan on writing further about POTS and how Sarah is doing, so check back for updates if you’d like.  Do you know anyone with POTS?  They say over 500,000 Americans have it.  Not sure how accurate that really is since often it goes undiagnosed.  Many doctors have no clue as to what it is.  How can one expect a diagnosis if they have no knowledge of it?

We covet your prayers for Sarah – that the Lord will touch her body and restore her health.

We know God has great, big plans for her!

 

{Medical Disclaimer:  I am not a doctor.  I don’t even play one on t.v.  I am a mom.  A very loving and dedicated one at that.  The information contained in this blog and any other article on my page are based on our experiences, what we’ve read and our opinions or understanding of POTS.  Please consult a licensed physician for advice and conduct extensive research on your own.}

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under POTS

Merriest of Christmases to You!

309

“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor,

                                      Mighty God,
                                                          Everlasting Father,

                                                                                                Prince of Peace.”    

                                                                                                                                      ~ Isaiah 9:6

Just wanted to pop in real quick to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

What makes a Merry Christmas?  What are the prime ingredients?

Is it the presents wrapped with beautiful paper and tied with elegant bows?  Is it found in owning the latest in technology?  Or can it be found under the Christmas tree at all?

I have received my Christmas gift already but it wasn’t wrapped or nestled under the glowing lights.

The greatest gift of all is found in knowing the love that God so extravagantly displayed in sending His one and only Son into this depraved world so that He would grow into a man, who would take our sins away and put us in right relationship with the Father.

That is the message of the Gospel.

It isn’t complicated.  It is simple.  God loved.  God gave.

It is up to us whether or not to receive such a priceless gift, the gift of spending eternity with God.

It’s just that simple.

Man tends to complicate matters, but the message of the Bible remains unchanged, unaltered throughout the ages.  It’s the message that you are a valuable soul and God loves you too much to spend eternity apart!

Won’t you accept Him today?

If you already have, then you have all that is necessary to have the Merriest of Christmases!  Jesus, the perfect Gift!

To top it off, on a personal note…

Our family has sold our house and recently moved 1,000 miles to be near our grown son.  We could not be happier to be spending our first Christmas together in the same area.  (More on our big move to come…)

To all my WP friends, new or old, here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year in 2015!

“And, now my brothers, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers.”  ~ III John 2

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Living

Cause and Effect

264

Ever since dad came over to our house for lunch last Sunday, I’ve been very concerned about his gait and equilibrium.  So many factors come into play with this issue.  Is he overmedicated?  Is the UTI that caused the recent sepsis returning?  Is his fractured foot not healing properly?  He’s also on a blood thinner, which means a fall could prove fatal.  And if not fatal, could mean months in a rehab facility.  The other thought I had was he’s been at home for three months recovering whereas normally he’d be busy with his volunteer work at the church.  So, he has severely lacked extensive mobility in recent months.

So, off to the Dr. we went yesterday.  I guess there’s a reason I’m not a doctor.  Actually, there are many!  First of all, I can’t stand the sight of blood or yucky bodily fluids!  They’d have to pick me up off the floor.  Haha.  I wouldn’t be of much use.  That said, my “honorary” nursing skills were put to the test yesterday at the doctor’s office.  Apparently, when my dad showed the Dr. what he thought was a mole on his back, the usually stoic Dr. was duly impressed by the infected cyst.  *Ewww*

I stood beside dad on the one side of the examination table while the Dr. was on the other during this procedure.  The Dr. excitedly motioned for me to take a look at the area when I explained that I might wind up on the floor if I did.  A few minutes later, I thought I was hearing things when the Dr. asked me to put on a pair of gloves and apply pressure to the area until the nurse came in to dress the wound.  (He graciously covered the area so I didn’t have to see anything. ) Excuse me?  They don’t pay me around here.  Is this the new norm?  Fewer staff.  Trained professionals have even less time to spend with the patient.  *Sigh*  I really didn’t mind (too much) helping out, but I must admit, I was taken aback.  The nurse finally made it into the room about ten to fifteen minutes later, much to my dad’s joy.  His left arm had fallen asleep as they had him turned almost on his stomach in an awkward position.  Poor fella.  The examination table is fairly narrow and my dad’s a big guy.  He’s over six feet tall and a healthy weight.  I don’t know how the Dr. got him over on his side, but I was of little to no help with my injured elbow.  The Dr. said the infection could be a cause of his weakness, but that physical therapy would be helpful to regain strength in his legs.  He said dad’s at the “use it or lose it” stage with walking.  As one ages, it’s incredible how quickly muscle tone can be lost when no demand is placed on it.  Well, that’s all dad had to hear and he is totally on board with the physical therapy!

The question is, is there life outside of physical therapy??  We’re all still doing physical therapy from our car accident three days a week.  Next week, we’ll be re-evaluated and go from there.  I guess on our “off” days, I’ll take dad to his therapy.  The chiropractor showed me some neck stretches to do to help ease the intense trapezoid muscle knots I have, particularly after driving so much.  Those will definitely be needed.  And this is the time I wish I had a twin.

Dad has so many needs.  He needs to see the podiatrist, urologist, now the physical therapist and the lab for routine blood work every 1-2 weeks lately.  My three siblings all live many miles away and this caregiver is feeling a little stretched.  Okay, a lot.  I’ve been down this path before with him.  This is when I remind myself to take things one day at a time.  Don’t get too far ahead of myself thinking about all that needs attending to.  One day.  One step.  God’s grace will be there to meet me every inch of the journey.  He’s never failed me yet.  Nor will He ever.  It’s not in His character, nor in His realm.  Ever faithful is He.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

The other take-away from all of this is … Always, always, ever always … Drink lots of water!

What?  What does H2O have to do with this topic?  Well, you see, my dad’s primary source of fluids prior to his hospitalization was Pepsi.  To him, water was something you drink to take medicine with and that’s it.  I honestly don’t know how his system has endured all of the neglect.  Oh, and he drank iced tea too.  Both of which contain caffeine, which are diuretics.  Not good.  This is the cause of his urinary tract infection that resulted in sepsis, which is fatal in many cases.  This is when bacteria gets into the blood stream and your body is in shock and nearly begins to shut down.  Fortunately, the hospital has a very aggressive approach to responding to sepsis and he was able to recover.

He fractured his foot because he was so weak from the sepsis.  And now, here we are with his walking issues because of poor hydration.  It’s a life lesson.  Always drink lots of water!!  Learn from another’s mistake, please.  Our bodies are not as invincible as we tend to believe, and particularly as we age.  They’re far less forgiving.  Good nutrition and hydration habits when you’re young will greatly help you in every stage of your life.  Afterall, our bodies consist of more than sixty percent water!

I think I’m going to get a tall glass of water …

7 Comments

Filed under Caregiver

A Little Perspective

…is all it takes sometimes.  We’ve had a rough few days around here with all our aches and pains.  What am I saying?  We’ve had a painful two weeks.  But it has reached the point where we’re tired of it!  Frustrated that we’re still in pain, tired of taking pain meds, Epsom baths, applying Biofreeze gel … and don’t get me started about the seemingly endless Dr. and physical therapy appointments!! … And, then she walked past us on her way out of the physical therapy office today…

She had some sort of brace around her rib cage and a cast on her arm as she spoke in a raspy voice.  Clearly she was in a worse accident than we were and her pain has got to be more severe.  I knew from the beginning of our ordeal how blessed we were not to have sustained far greater injuries and we are infinitely grateful to God for that!  But, today was an especially painful day for me where it hurts to sit.  It doesn’t feel a whole lot better standing.  And I didn’t sleep well and I have a lot of issues on my mind at the moment… And, and, and… Blah, blah, blah, blah… Well, you get the idea.  Not a stellar day for me.

But, when I saw this poor woman today, I couldn’t help but thank God once more for His grace and mercy over our lives!  Yes, we are all in pain from the accident still, but the good news is that we will recover in time.  Pain does crazy things to you.  Not only does it make one grumpy, but it also blurs the reality that the pain will pass in time.

I was sharing my accident story with the dermatologist this morning at my follow up appointment and she concurred how fortunate we all are that it was no worse.  That fact alone fills my heart with immense gratitute.  From the outside, we all appear to be just fine, but on the inside, not only are we still in a great deal of pain, we are also still processing the trauma of the accident.  That takes time too.  Since this was the first real accident I’ve ever been in, I never realized the anxiety that can follow a major accident.  I’ve gotten better each time I’ve driven or been a passenger since the accident, but I’m definitely uber cautious and aware that anything can happen.

My husband went to the orthopedic Dr. this morning and will begin his physical therapy routine this week.  He mentioned how much time all of these appointments are consuming and the fact that we have to get back to living our normal lives!  I couldn’t agree more.  I got to thinking how the actions of one person affected ten other people that night!  Because one man decided to consume entirely too much alcohol and get behind the wheel, he and his passenger were flown by helicopter to a shock and trauma unit.  The remaining nine of us were taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.  He even still had alcohol in his vehicle, which I’m sure is one reason he attempted to flee the scene of the accident.  He received five citations.

This week alone I will have had six medical appointments, two on Mon. and Wed. and will have two more on Fri.  There have been no quiet moments since the accident.  The phrase, “No rest for the weary” comes to mind.  We just want normal life to resume.  Now.  Isn’t that our way?  We want everything instantly.  Apparently part of the reason for much of my pain is inflammation.  The Dr. advised to limit wheat and take fish oil (which I already do) to help.  I also came home and researched this a little and found out green tea, spices, almonds and many fruits can also help.

And, so my pep talk to myself today is that I will continue to take this healing journey one day at a time.  I will resist the urge to complain (too much anyway!).  I will count my blessings every day!  I will look to the hills from whence comes my help.  My help comes from the Lord!  I will do my part to help the healing process and trust God to do the rest.  And I will continually seek out the good that will come from this accident.  I know there’s more good that hasn’t been revealed just yet.  I don’t believe God wastes pain, so I believe there’s a purpose even in this.  And I will yet praise Him!

Signed,

Just Me Being Real

4 Comments

Filed under Health Stuff

When Dad Sang

So, I picked dad up this overcast, spring morning to visit the urologist.  Fortunately, this was just an in/out thing and then we were on our way.  He seemed stronger today compared to last week, which was very encouraging.  Last week it seemed that he was regressing when he’d come so far since his hospitalization last month.  I was glad to see him rebounding today, despite depending on the walker for stability.  He was definitely stronger getting in and out of the car.  What a blessing to see!

My son came along and, as always, was a great help unfolding the walker for his grandpa and opening doors, etc.  We all enjoyed a nice breakfast at Bob Evans and had a fantastic waitress.  Afterwards, my son helped pump gas on the way to take my dad home.  It’s so nice that he’s old enough to help out with that now.  I wore the elbow ace bandage today as a support for my sprained elbow that is still recovering.  (Soaking in the epsom salt has made all the difference in the world, thankfully!)

We set the trash out for my dad just in time before the trash truck rounded the corner this morning.  So, he appreciated getting that taken care of.  I know he’ll be glad when he is back to his normal self.

On the way back to his house, I decided to play the David Phelps’ album on my iPod again.  (It seems to be a favorite at the moment!)  I knew my dad would appreciate hearing How Great Thou Art as it is his all-time favorite hymn.  (He has selected this hymn to be sung at his funeral.) Traffic was fairly heavy, but my spirits were lightened when I heard dad sing along to this hymn!  My dad doesn’t usually sing, folks.  He’s a pretty serious fella when he’s not cracking a joke.  Does that make any sense?  Haha! … Ah, dad has been through so much over the past six weeks beginning with fracturing his right foot followed by contracting a serious case of sepsis the next day!  When he was in the hospital, even basic functions were nearly impossible.  His recovery over the last few weeks has been miraculous, and to hear him singing praises to our heavenly Father today… well, it melted my heart!  It surely made God smile.

Here, his body is weak and his mind gets confused at times, but his spirit remains connected to his Lord and Savior!  What a testimony of God’s grace!

The album continued playing and after dad got out of the SUV at his house, he said how much he enjoyed listening to the music.  I was glad to hear that.  Normally I don’t play the radio or listen to my iPod when he’s in the car because he’s usually talking so much.  He must’ve been a little tired today as he didn’t talk much on the way home.

Today was the last batch of doctor appointments for several weeks, thankfully!  We’ve seen so many specialists over the last month and we both can stand a reprieve.

So very thankful for the mercy and grace God extends to my dad and to me also as I strive to be God’s hands extended.  Most days I rely heavily on God’s strength and He never fails me.  I always consider the fact that one day I, too, will need assistance with things and can only hope and pray that my children will be patient and loving with me as well.  I learned very early on just how fragile life really is.  I was a mere 23 when I watched my mother’s life ebb away as her body was wracked with cancer.  So, I’ve lived my entire adult life with the understanding that we are not as invincible as we tend to believe when we’re young.  Tomorrow is not promised.  We must make today count!  Witnessing my dad’s recent health struggles and near death experience with sepsis has prompted me to prepare myself for his eventual passing, but I don’t know that one can ever be truly prepared to lose a parent, no matter the age.  We never willingly let go.  Death is so foreign, so intangible.  It separates us from the ones we love.

I know that when the day arrives that he crosses into Glory, it will be the best day of his life.  No more pain, no more struggles.  Heaven will be far more perfect and full of pure bliss than we could ever consider or imagine with our finite minds!  Until then … I am doing my best to honor and respect my dad and help him navigate his golden years with grace and dignity.

Today, my reward was when dad sang…

 

4 Comments

Filed under Caregiver