What is Knowledge?

Recent events and changes have made one thing clear.

I am not an expert in anything. Seniority means nothing. And if something happens in the near future, this place will go on without me as if I never existed.

So really, what is knowledge? Just a farcical way of making us believe we really have any influence. It changes with time, people, circumstances, and whims. I am learning to reserve my opinion the hard way. It is a lesson long in coming.

My daughters make decisions based on their perceptions of what fits. To those in our church, we have failed in our faith-based upbringing of our girls. But seeds were planted. They have chosen helping careers and I still suspect that God had a hand in that. They have not totally denied their faith, but they continually question why those who claim to be “faithful” act otherwise. They are realistic in their approach to dealing with brokenness in families. This, in itself, is knowledge in action.

So I carry on and adjust my sails. I kneel in prayer and search for direction. Like Peter who began sinking when he stepped out of the boat, fear threatens to drag me down. But I hang on, gripping the invisible hand that continues to guide me. He has guided me before, and when all else is gone, my faith in God’s knowledge is all I have left.

Sunny with Storms Forecast

During the upheaval of the novel coronavirus’s march across continents , much has changed in the last week here in the Midwest. People rant on social media about decisions they disagree with, and about the yahoos who hoard toilet paper (of all things!) and necessary items like baby formula and diapers and wipes (really??? Some people would like to still feed their babies!!)

Meanwhile I am ruminating. Much as I would love to work from home, that is not an option at this time. Hospital employees don’t get that option. Well, some in office jobs do. But even though my job is “desk based” as an RN in a call/transfer center, the expense of running special lines for computer and phones for staff to be home based is out of the question. Right now my area is not experiencing high rates of coronavirus, but that is about to change soon I am sure. Especially as people disregard regulations and travel anyway.

So, on this day off, I am enjoying the lack of need to be somewhere at a certain time. That will change I am sure in the next few weeks. Journaling is usually something I keep to myself, but I felt the need to share what I scribbled earlier today.

Coronavirus has suddenly changed how we do things-but to be honest, I have long thought “whatever happened to quarantining people?” Influenza rates have been high regardless of vaccination rates. I am not a statistician, so will not purport to quote numbers here. But as society became more group oriented and vaccines controlled or eradicated communicable diseases, we have become falsely lulled into a sense of security and well being—invincibility, if you will. The virus may be a tool the devil uses to his advantage, but God is allowing it to occur because humans need to recognize they are not the ones in control. Never have been. God gives talent to people to work through these things, but they didn’t get it on their own. Nonbelievers in God will continue the drum beat of “How can you believe in a God who allows such things to happen?” As a believer in God, my answer is “How can we not believe?” To think we suffer through calamities for nothing? God will win in the end. We already know things happen in this world and our lives will end. I choose to hang on to the belief that no matter what, there is a hereafter and it will be far better than anything we currently know or understand.

(Photo of my backyard view .)

I find peace for the moment knowing that a storm is still coming. There is much work to be done. But for now I will enjoy my view.

Continuing On

The illness and death of my mother sapped me of creativity. Writing no longer appealed to me. When dementia robbed Mother of her ability to interact, I had no idea what to do for her, other than put on a strong face, smile and nod as she babbled incoherently, or give her a hug on days that she would greet me with “Dad died this morning.” Or whatever statement was pulled from 40, 50 years ago. She constantly relived nightmares that had never been true, and for several months did not even know me as her daughter. I seriously think the death of her sister in law in 2017 triggered a mental breakdown. She had been experiencing memory issues, but her emotional state apparently moved her into another world completely. She refused to believe that C was dead. I constantly heard “what is D doing today? ” That was her deceased brother who’d been married to the woman that died. Mother was constantly reliving her losses in her life, from miscarried babies to my dad to the rest of her family. I never knew for sure how to respond, and her refusal to be involved in church cut off any support there. I didn’t feel I could ask anyone for any kind of prayers as I had previously done. Her pride and constant admonition that “this is no one’s business” even isolated her friends from visiting. I didn’t tell anyone in our social groups about what her real problem was until just before she died. It had gone on much longer than that. My daughters, her only grandchildren, found visiting her difficult as she didn’t recognize them either. I persisted in visiting, even if she called me by the wrong name or introduced me as her sister in law. At that point who I was didn’t matter; at least she felt C cared.

Closure?

Her death in September brought little closure. I no longer was torn by trying to work in time to drive the 18 miles to the nursing home or figuring out where else I could run errands on a side of town I still was not used to. She had prepared me for what to do in the event of her death for 40 years. Having heart issues kept her constantly talking about “when I died”, so that her actual death was almost anticlimactic. My grieving had started long before her last physical breath. I missed being able to just call her and talk. That had been taken from us a year ago when she stopped being able to use a phone. I never quite got whether she couldn’t hear, or couldn’t process what she was hearing, but when she went back to the hospital from the first skilled facility, I took her cell phone home and put it in the drawer, hoping she would maybe rally. After it became clear that her communication abilities had been destroyed, I cancelled her cell phone plan. That action alone felt like I was betraying her. My husband reassured me it was not a betrayal, I was only doing what was necessary. But I could never quite shake the feeling that I was making the wrong decision or not doing things the way she would have wanted. But what she wanted and what had to be became two entirely different things.

Now What?

I am thankful that our daughter and new son are living in Mom’s house. It not only helps me get used to the idea of her not being here, but also is helping them get on their feet financially until college loans are paid. (Shoot…I’m thankful that financially we can keep it for now.) Organization has never been my strong suit. That was always Mom’s job. I shake my head and sigh as I realize just how much stuff she actually had hoarded. Slowly things are being disposed of or given away. With the kids living in her house, it makes having an actual estate sale more challenging. We have a long way to go, but hopefully after I recuperate from my recent back surgery I can refocus my efforts and get things done this summer. Mom would be having a fit I am sure. I can’t seem to get her disapproval out of my head.

Sage Advice

How I wish I had this 3 years ago!

I found this article after reading a physician’s post on Twitter raging about the poor state of our healthcare system while navigating (or trying to navigate) said system during his father’s current hospitalization. Scrolling through posts I found this author’s comment; she is interested in speaking directly with the gentleman as this is her speciality. I have tried desperately to separate myself from all this since my mother’s passing. But I still struggle with my own questions. I think the saddest statement in this article is that the researchers involved did not want their names posted because the research activity is “outside of their regular jobs.”

WHY IS THE SYSYEM NOT DOING THIS KIND OF RESEARCH AND ENCOURAGING THEIR EMPLOYEES TO IMPROVE IT?!?

So. I am reposting the article here and plan on following the subject , not because I think I can change anything, but maybe, just maybe I can help friends who are facing the same issues.

https://kaiserhealthnews.wordpress.com/news/researchers-seek-sage-advice-of-elders-on-aging-issues/

Sweet Moment

via Sweet Moment

My own eyes “nearly leaked” when I read this. I have two daughters as well, and our oldest is getting married in a month. The details are nearly overwhelming. But I need to remember to savor these moments as we prepare for this event. The loss of my mother in September has complicated my emotional state. My girls and my husband have been my rocks. But I want to be the strong one…yeah right. Who am I kidding! I pray I get through this without having a major breakdown.

Quote

More Musings

I have been doing a daily devotional through the You Version bible app. Today’s reading included a passage from I Kings 17, when Elijah stayed with the widow, and even though they had followed God’s commandments, her son died. Elijah prayed to God for her son’s life, and his prayer was answered. This is a comment by one of the devotional’s authors:

“How amazing for Elijah to be able to pick him up, carry him down from the room into the house and give him to his mother saying, ‘Look, your son is alive!’ (I Kings 17, v.23).”

Oh, how many times I wish I could have given a child back to their parents in my years of nursing. My heart aches for friends who have lost children, both young and adult children. So much hurting in this world. We are all just passing through. But the journey hurts. I trying to “be the light” as Jesus commanded in Matthew. But there are many days when I just want to hide…I echo the one who exclaimed, “Lord, help my unbelief !”

Link to Bible in One Year by Nicky and Pippa Gumbel:

I just finished day 177 of the @YouVersion plan ‘Bible In One Year 2018’. Check it out here:

Learning as we go…

This past year has been quite a trial. As my mother’s health declined and her dementia progressed, my world became much less predictable. Already stressed by work and guiding our young adult daughters through their college years with the fog of depression, the slow but fast march of looming decisions crashed on us in November. Mom fell the night before Thanksgiving, and was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. She had a major emotional break in the hospital, and the battle was on. She fought against every single effort to improve her situation. When told she was NOT going home, she became ill, literally heartsick. The stages of grief apply in dementia as well as in death. We went from anger to sadness and back again. Rehab in a skilled nursing facility failed to build up her physical strength as her body and mind slid into permanent rebellion. Christmas passed with Mom refusing to eat, still throwing up and unable to keep anything down. My husband and two daughters cooked dinner at home, and visited Mom in her room that evening. Holidays the last 3 years have been spent with Mom in the hospital or ill at home. I have despaired of ever having a “normal” Christmas again.

The week after Christmas Mom continued to throw up. I finally called the nursing director to complain because the nurses did not seem to be proactive in dealing with it. Someone had called for an anti nausea medicine, but they were not giving it until after she had an episode, because they were waiting for her to ask for it.  With no short term memory, Mom could not remember how to use the call light most of the time, let alone request medicine. The next two days after the discussion with the director led to meeting with the doctor (finally), only to have her say something about it being “emotionally related”… REALLY?!?  Yes, Mom got upset at the discharge planning meeting that occurred the week before Christmas. But she didn’t start throwing up until 3-4 days after the meeting, and discharge to assisted living was planned for two weeks from the meeting date. She had actually reconciled herself after talking to her best friend and was pretty satisfied with where I had chosen to send her, as she had a friend already living there.

So, the fight was on with this Doc. I demanded X-rays, testing her blood sugar (which had been high thanks to steroid therapy), basic care that most physicians or nurses should be well versed in. Doc looked rather startled when I didn’t just meekly agree with her. (I am a nurse, by the way. And this physician and I have spoken many times on the phone due to the nature of my job.) She ordered an X-ray series for the next day, which I dutifully went along with, but the road trip was a disaster. Mom was too frail for me to handle by myself, I discovered when we arrived at the hospital. Our norm of me being her caregiver had changed and we both knew it. I was also thinking assisted living was not going to be a good option with her rapidly declining state.

Upon returning to the rehab facility after  this disastrous escapade, I asked the nurse about IV fluids. She acted like that was a novel idea. They finally found someone to start an IV, and gave 1 small bag of fluid very slowly over 24 hours. When I questioned the slow rate, I was told “you cannot bolus a heart failure patient, you will fluid overload them.” They had actually started an antibiotic also. Mom’s vitals were ok, so I went home that evening, still with a heavy heart.

When I returned the next morning, Mom was very disoriented and even weaker. It took two of the nurse aides to get her up to the bathroom because she couldn’t even stand. I demanded that they call an ambulance and sent her to the hospital. The nurse was like “well, I need to call Dr so and so.” I told her to get on it or I was calling 911 myself. She went and made the phone call to the doctor, and came back to ask “so are you taking her yourself or do you want me to call 911?”

I just looked at her and said “911 of course”, thinking “REALLLLLY?!?! Were you NOT listening????” I packed all of the stuff in Mom’s room by myself, called immediate family to say we were headed back to the hospital, and invoked my FMLA for the next few days I was to be working. I seriously thought we would lose Mom.

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

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