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…





Sitting on the Walking Trail

I couldn’t say this any better if I tried…Source: Sitting on the Walking Trail

Review of Whispers of Rest

I have followed Bonnie Gray over at FaithBarista for a few years, and loved her first book, “Finding Spiritual Whitespace”. In her second publication, “Whispers of Rest,” she continues her theme of  finding spiritual rest. I’ve posted a short review on Amazon and in Goodreads. (Review actually in comments below, I could not get the link to work properly…)

Whispers of Rest: 40 Days of God's Love to Revitalize Your Soul


Summer Reading Memories

As an only child, books entertained me when there was no one to play with. I enjoyed school because I liked being around others, so summer frequently loomed as interminably long and boring. My parents were frugal, so vacations were every two years or so…if that often. (Quite frankly I only remember two long vacations that were not trips to see family!) But once a week, my mother would take me into Wichita to the Sweetbriar branch of the public library. I would check out at least 4 books, depending on the length. I eagerly anticipated those weekly trips, especially if I had zoomed through all of the books before the week was up. When I had read the ones in my possession, you could find me pulling out the World Book Encyclopedia from our bookcase at home or one of Mom’s Zane Grey westerns. (When she moved from my childhood home, she downsized…but I kept both the Zane Grey books and the yearbooks from the encyclopedia set!)

I didn’t really get an allowance as a youngster. Instead, my mom would pay me a penny for every cigarette butt I picked up in the yard. My parents were both smokers, and we though we lived in the country, our road was busy, so there were always lots of cigarette ends thrown into our ditch by passing vehicles. I saved my money for various things, but one thing I dearly loved was the Cherry Ames series of books about a young woman who went to nursing school and became a nurse. I would hunt for those books at garage sales with my hard-earned pennies. I didn’t get the entire set, but I have many of them and they still reside on my bookshelf. If I ever get around to cleaning out my basement, those books are NOT going anywhere!

Now as as an adult, my reading habits have shifted. Summer is a blur of rearranging work  schedules around other people’s vacation requests and vying for a spot of my own on the vacation roster. With all of the responsibilities on my plate, I have the attention span of a gnat and find sitting and just reading difficult. There always seems to be something needing done, and then there are the distractions of the internet…

I miss the days of just reading…whether it was Cherry Ames’s next adventure in her career, the trials and tribulations of Beautiful Joe (or any other good dog story), holiday traditions in other cultures, or a romantic love story, I could count on books transporting me to another time and place. But all is not lost…I have several historical fiction novels waiting to be read, and one of them is going to get packed for our mini vacation next week…because both of my daughters will be reading as well! So I managed to do SOMETHING right after all!

Florence Nightingale’s Very Ordinary Ability

On this, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, it only seems fitting to repost this from the NCF blog. When I think about my nursing career, I have often failed to give God the thanks I should for being able to do this work.

Careless Words

I am guilty as charged…

Source: Careless Words

Letting Jesus Lead

By Kyle Reber Galatians 3: 24-25 says: “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.&#…

Source: Letting Jesus Lead

Faith for the Wrong Reasons

We shouldn’t turn to faith just for solutions to our problems. Instead, faith provides and drives our peace, purpose, and journey. We get it topsy-turvy at times. It’s similar to when w…

Source: Faith for the Wrong Reasons


This hit me between the eyes this morning. I confess I am guilty of searching for what I think applies directly to a situation when God has other plans. The realization that He intends a different path becomes obvious when I can’t find what I am looking for. I am thankful for other believers who write what He puts on their hearts so that the rest of us can become more enlightened and stronger in our faith.


By John Adams After Jeff’s recent sermon on the power of choices, it has made me think more about the choices I make everyday. Most often I notice that choices fall in the category of default rathe…

Source: Choices


From my church’s blog. Well said.


Note: Pastor Kurt is the children’s minister at my home church. God plants people and we are so thankful that He planted Kurt and Renee with us.


“Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” –  Matt. 4:19 Several months ago, my wife Renee and I were asked if we would be interested in spreading the gospel to kids in Albania. W…

Source: Albania

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