Saturday, August 22, 2009

Life Lessons on Busy Days

Yesterday was one of those days at work, that previously would have really upset me. Instead it ended of being a great day of faith building experiences. It started out busy and got busier. As I finished receiving report from the off going nurse, I was immediately summoned to the desk for a doctor's phone call. Before I could finish writing the orders from the doctor, dialysis was on the phone about another patient. I hung up, hopped to my feet to see the patient they had called about, and was there no less than 5 minutes, when they were calling me to the desk for another phone call. In the next 30 minutes, I went into 3 different patient's rooms, and was called overhead to the desk or for other reasons no less than 10 times. Yet, through it all, I was prayerful, resisted the urge to complain for the most part (my complaints were more of jokes with the unit clerk about her only knowing my name), and plugged along, accomplishing timed tasks interspersed with putting out fires.

By the middle of the day I was fairly caught up when things began to get busy again. Again, I kept my composure, and again relied on the help of the Lord. I soon realized that each new thing that was coming up, though keeping me busy, was coming in perfect timing. Just as I would finish one task, the next would come up, occasionally, 2 or 3 things that needed attention would happen at the same time, however, those were always things that I could accomplish quickly. I am having a really hard time putting this into words. I knew, that Heavenly Father was stretching me beyond what I normally would think I could handle, yet doing it in such a gentle, merciful way.

Every day I pray that he will help me to have a good day, that he will help me to be an instrument in his hands for good, that I will have just the patients he has in mind for me, and that he will help me through it all. Much earlier in the year, I had had an absolutely horrendous day at work in a rural hospital, which seemed all the more worse, because I was hormonal and consequently emotional. As I was driving home from work after that shift (2 hours after I should have finished my day), tears streaming down my face, the song that came on the cd player was "Be Still My Soul". The opening words reached down deep into my heart, as if the Lord himself were speaking to me:

1. Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side;
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev'ry change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav'nly Friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

2. Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

3. Be still, my soul: The hour is hast'ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

The first verse helped me remember that the Lord truly was on my side, then the 2nd verse touched me just as powerfully. Particularly, the line "Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake". All along Heavenly Father was with me that day. I did not need to let any difficulty shake my hope. Then the final verse was all the more poignant, as it talked about joys being restored, and particularly talking about tears being past.

I had prayed that morning, as I always had, and he had answered my prayers. He had special things he wanted me to learn. There were patients I needed to help, and did help. That day, I determined that I would not let any trial sent my way, shake my hope or my confidence. I would thank the Lord in all of my difficulties, and strive to learn what he would have me learn. That said, I still struggle, but, I am amazed at how much more joyful my journey has become with the change in perspective, and how much more I am learning. I am grateful for the good and the bad.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Someone is Listening

Recently I've had a round of patient's who for various reasons have difficulty communicating. They seem to be understanding just fine, but either the words they speak come out slurred and mostly uninteligble, or their voice is so soft that it makes it very difficult to hear, or they seem to understand, but are always answering the question asked 5 questions ago. In the past I have also had patient's who could speak just fine, but did not seem to understand anything that was being said to them.

I always feel so bad for these patients, whichever predicament. How disheartening to know exactly what is going on around you, but not be able to voice your needs or wants, or even just carry on a simple conversation with someone you love. I remember a patient I had in San Antonio several years ago who could only get out maybe 5 words, and those only sporadically. She had the kindest eyes, and when I would talk to her, I could tell by her gaze that she was an amazing listener. Yet, often her eyes would well up with tears as she would try unsuccessfully to communicate in some way. Her family let me know that she loved to talk. She was the friend and family member that everyone would call when they wanted a listening ear. How heart breaking for her to have lost her speech.

That feeling that I am not being understood is probably one of the most frustrating, even worse, if I feel like I am not being heard at all. Maybe that is part of why I feel so bad for the patient's with communication issues. I remember one time in my life, a few weeks after having my 2nd son, I was at home and feeling very alone. Everyone I tried to call was not answering or not home. I so desperately wanted to talk to someone and be heard. In tears I said a prayer and told Heavenly Father how I just wanted someone to talk to, and immediately heard the response "Why not me?" What a great message. No matter how unheard, alone, or misunderstood we feel, there is always someone out there who hears us, listens to us, and ever walks with us, whether we ackowledge him or not.