Another Year of Blessings
Our own experiences as we age can help give us the perspective we need as we care for patients. We need to remember to look beyond their physical needs and see what is really important to them. Compassionate care that treats the whole patient.....body, mind, and soul.
No....this is not an early New Year's story filled with resolutions. Today is my birthday and I have been thinking back over events of this past year. Birthdays are good times to celebrate....not just with cake and presents, but celebrate life itself.
Life is a blessing that we sometimes take for granted. We just assume that life will continue....that tomorrow will come and the sun will shine. But as we get older, we see things differently.
I've been a patient in the Emergency Room twice in past 12 months. Fortunately I was not admitted. What a blessing. But being on the other side of the bedrails certainly gives you a different perspective. You realize you are not in charge......you feel the physical and emotional pain of the uncertain situation.
What does this have to do with nursing, you may be asking. As nurses we deal with patients and families who are going through challenging times. Some of them are dealing with the end of life......either theirs or a loved ones. Thing are not happening as they planned. The sun does not seem to be shining.
As I look back over this past year, I think of the patients and families that I have been called upon to care for. As a parish nurse, I have the opportunity to walk alongside many people as they go through challenging times. Most of these folks I have known for a long time. Sharing this walk with them has been a real blessing to me.
It is a very humbling experience to be called upon to provide spiritual support. I look at their lives in the past and in the present. I am sometimes overwhelmed by the physical challenges that they are dealing with.
The one couple that keeps rising to the surface of my thoughts is an elderly couple in their late 80's. They lived happily at home alone, the wife being the primary caregiver for her disabled husband. Being an octogenarian did not slow down this woman at all. She is woman of strong faith. I always looked forward to my visits with them in their home. On one visit we discussed the possibility of getting inpatient PT for her husband as he appeared to be getting weaker. She had prayed about it and knew she couldn't care for him by herself unless he got stronger.
A few days later, she fell and broke her leg. When I got to the ER, the woman was surrounded by friends. Although she was in pain and was preparing for surgery, her main concern was for her husband. They have no living children, however fortunately her daughter-in-law was visiting from out of state. The entire time this woman was in the hospital, her only concern was for her husband. After surgery, she immediately began planning to go to the same facility where her husband was so that she could be with him while she received physical therapy for her leg. She took seriously the vows she made on her wedding day sixty-some years ago....."to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth." In fact, she quoted this to me.
She got her wish and was discharged to the same SNF where her husband was a patient. I went by to visit them the day she was discharged. The sight that I saw when I walked into the room brought tears to my eyes. The two beds were pushed together, they were holding hands and smiling lovingly at one another. Reunited again. Once again complete.
It did not matter to either of them where they were. They were together. This is true love.......even after all these years of marriage. What a testimony. And what a blessing.
When I think about this...... it has given me a whole new outlook. Here is a lady who was obviously in pain. But her spiritual and emotional pain far outweighed her physical pain. Doctors and nurses too often try to address the physical pain, often overlooking the spiritual needs....the things that give real meaning to one's life. Sometimes the emotional and spiritual needs are more unbearable.
This couple have been a real blessing to me this year. I need to remember this as I grow older, as my body parts don't work as well as they once did......celebrate with each year that passes, and look at the many blessings God has put in my life.
You might like to read Be the Nurse You Would Want as a Patient; Munchausen by Internet: The Lying Disease that Preys on the Heart, and other articles in my blog] Body, Mind, and SoulLast edit by tnbutterfly on Jan 20, '15
About tnbutterfly, BSN, RN Admin
tnbutterfly has been in nursing for more than 30 years, with experience in med-surg, pediatrics, psychiatrics, and disaster nursing. She is currently a parish nurse.....a position which she has had for the past 15 years.
tnbutterfly has 'More than 35 years' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Peds, Med-Surg, Disaster Nsg, Parish Nsg'. From 'TN'; Joined Jun '06; Posts: 23,997; Likes: 16,255.3Dec 9, '13 by VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN GuideBeautifully written, tn. Happiest of Happy Birthdays!2Dec 9, '13 by tnbutterfly, BSN, RN AdminThank you.Last edit by tnbutterfly on Dec 10, '133Dec 10, '13 by TheCommuter, BSN, RN Senior ModeratorHappy belated birthday, tnbutterfly! I hope you had a very pleasurable day, and I hope you have a wonderful year 2014 with an abundance of continued blessings.3Dec 10, '13 by Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN Senior ModeratorCasper says Happy Birthday!2Dec 10, '13 by kenderella89, BSN, RNThis is so beautiful! I need to stop crying before students see me. Thank you so much for this story! And Happy, happy birthday!2Quote from kenderella89Awwwwww........... Just thinking of this couple brings tears to my eyes too. And I didn't post the whole story. There are so many things that fell into place before the fall occurred, and even afterwards. Coincidences??? No way. I feel so blessed to be able to witness God at work.This is so beautiful! I need to stop crying before students see me. Thank you so much for this story! And Happy, happy birthday!
Next time I visit these folks, I'll ask for permission to post the entire story. Watch for part 2 of this article.2Dec 10, '13 by HappyWife77, ASN, RNSuch a beautiful testimony. What a blessing it is to be able to behold love and blessings, especially when we all could easily choose to look at the dark times rather than blessings of life. What a wonderful job you have. Thank you for sharing.
Happy Birthday!! And may the good Lord continue to make His face shine upon you!2Yes , I have a wonderful job. But it can be rather difficult at times when walking the final steps of this life with someone that I've known for years.
Thanks for the birthday wishes.2Dec 10, '13 by hecallsmeDuchessHappy Birthday! Many blessings and happy returns to you! (Guess what? I always thought your username was TNTbutterly and wondered what it meant? It was only a few weeks ago I realized I'd been adding an extra 'T' and it made me laugh).2TNT.......you must've thought I had a explosive personality. LOL
No harm done....
Thanks for the birthday wishes. I had a great day and the start of another year of life.2Dec 11, '13 by Joe V AdminGreat story - thanks for sharing.
Happy belated Birthday!