Tag Archives: life lessons

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

Three Things My Mother’s Death Taught Me

178

On an October Monday morning twenty years ago, my mother slipped into heaven’s gates after fighting a valiant battle with breast cancer.  She was the strongest woman I’ve ever known and in our twenty-three years together, she taught me countless lessons that would last a lifetime.

There was little warning of her imminent death.  She was diagnosed with cancer in February, endured chemotherapy and radiation, and died in October.  It was all so sudden, but these lessons remain:

  1. Life is short.

We tend to think that our fleshly existence will last forever, especially when we’re young.  As we age a bit, the reality becomes far more clear.  The years fly faster and faster.  But, I was struck with this realization early on in my life when the rock of our family passed on.  I learned not to take any aspect of reality for granted because this life is temporary.  Eternity is far longer.

2.   Embrace every day.

I’ve learned to enjoy the simple things in life, for they are really the important things.  Love your family, hug them, tell them of your love and devotion.  We do not know the length of our days.  Live them to the full!  Dare to reach for your life’s goals.  There’s nothing worse than not trying.  Risk it.  Life is worth it!

3.  Legacy.

Outside of any accomplishment my life may produce, my greatest legacy is my three children.  It is through them, future generations will be born, and, so, it is in them, my greatest investment remains.  I will speak words of affirmation.  I will hug and let there be no doubt,ever, they each have captured my heart from the very beginning.  I will be interested in their lives and vocations.  Most of all, I will pray for them daily.  I will pray that they love Jesus with their whole hearts and walk with Him every day.  I will pray that God blesses them (and their future spouses) and guides them always.

    I would never have chosen to walk the path of living many more years without my mother than with her.  She was the most loving and giving example of Christ’s love.  Rather than focus on questions that yield no answers this side of heaven, I choose to dwell on her godly character, lessons I’ve drawn from her example and the hope that I have in my heart of spending eternity with her in heaven. That is the great hope of every believer, that we will spend forever with Jesus and other believers.  Yes, the ache of loss still burns in my heart.  How I miss my mother’s embrace, her bright smile and her laughter!  She loved to laugh.  She had the true joy of the Lord in her heart and wasn’t afraid to share it with those around her.   

320

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

~ I John 1:9

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.”                                                                                              ~ John 3:16-17  MSG

2 Comments

Filed under Loss