Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A steadfast heart

James 1:2-3 (ESV)

Photo from enyonamsdailydevotions
Count it all joy, my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 

I like reading these words better than living them.

Yesterday was one of those days when I feel like I walked in the door to my work place at work at 8AM and kept running until I finally managed to make it out the door again at 7PM.

I don't always arrive at the exact same time each morning.  It ranges sometime between 7:30AM-9AM, depending on what time I left from work the prior day and what is planned for that particular day. Yet somehow the managers seem to always know the moment I'm in the building because within 5 minutes of my arrival they begin trickling into my office with a multitude of problems.

By 2:30PM I was tired and hungry.  As I came into my office I looked longingly at the food tray the kitchen always leaves on my desk at 1PM.  It's the exact same tray that one of our patients would receive. I opened it up and grabbed a couple of bites before I recovered the dish and placed it up on top of bookcase beside my desk. I could finish it later. I had to go talk to that patient and family who were unhappy and had been asking to speak with the administrator.

As I approached the patient's room I observed two C.N.A.s in the room apparently engaged in a room change arguing about how to carry out the task. I tapped one of them of on the shoulder and motioned for her to follow me into the hall.  I explained in soft tones that they can not be arguing in patient areas, if the discussion needs to take place, it needs to happen somewhere else. As the young C.N.A. rolled her eyes in response, I was transported in my thoughts back to prior years when I dealt with my truculent teen son. The C.N.A. then walked back into the room and announced to her partner in none too quiet tones that they needed to take it outside because they couldn't talk in the patient room.  Instead they both stood a few feet from the patient's door and continued to argue in tones loud enough to still be heard inside.  I silently talked to myself as I walked into the room that I need to deal with them later, maybe do a training with CNAs again on professionalism, definitely talk with the staff developer. 

Inside the room I smile, introduce myself to two sons of our patient, and shake hands.  I turn to the patient who, fortunately, remembers me.  I tell the son who's obviously in charge that I heard he has concerns and inquire if he'd like to talk here or in my office.  He responds in my office; the patient stays while I troop off with the two sons. 

Once in my office the leader brother starts off on an excruciatingly detailed list of complaints while the other brother occasionally chimes in.  He talks at length and uses phrases such as "I don't know what kind of operation you're running here" and "train wreck".  He intersperses his speech with lots of information about his own job, the important work that he does, and the quality control measures in place there.  As he speaks, I jot down an occasional note on the pad in front of me.   When he finally pauses for a second I ask if I can repeat back what I think I hear him saying.  He looks surprised and pleased (he must have attended those same communication seminars that I did). I start to tell him the concerns I hear that he has regarding our facility and his mother's care, and he interrupts me. He continues to say the exact same complaints he's already stated, complete with more examples of the importance of quality at his workplace.  At one point, as he's complaining about how awful our food is, I steal a quick glance up at my tray and think how much I wish I could be eating the very same food he thinks is so terrible. We finally discuss if he wants his mother to be referred to anther facility or to continue at ours while we work on doing better.  He tells me that he is concerned that the other two facilities won't be any better. In my mind I'm thinking about how irritated I am that we've made some of the mistakes we've made, what I can do to fix it, and how some of what they are complaining about is not accurate or realistic.  He finally decides she should stay but hints that his mother needs me to talk with her and listen and instill her with confidence.  I graciously smile and say of course I will while. I'm simultaneously filled with a desire to console and encourage his mother while at the same time running through the list of all the other things I need to be getting done. 

He expects me to go directly to his mother's room and I tell him that I will meet him there but need to go look in her medical record and speak with the RN supervisor first.  He looks uncomfortable but has no real choice but to let me do that. When I tell the RN about his complaints that no notes have been taken or communicated to the physician regarding his mother's specific medical complaints, she pulls out the dedicated cell phone with which the nurses communicate with the physicians.  In the four days since the patient arrived on Monday, the nurse shows me three detailed complaints made by the patient that were texted to the physician.  One of these resulted in a new medication order.  I checked the medication administration record to be sure we had already started this order and were providing this medication.

I go into the patient room and talk with her.  I listen to her concerns.  I explain about the medication ordered in response to her concerns and try to explain that sometimes medications take longer than two days to provide all the intended effects. I assure her that I personally will make sure that we follow her detailed likes and dislikes regarding specific foods.  I explain that we can not provide food to order but have set meals with alternates.  I assure her that I will make sure that someone comes to her and notifies her regarding the alternate meal.  The sons and mother explain again that they want to speak to her physician and I tell them again that he will be in today but I do not know the time.  I text the physician and explain and he tells me that he will for sure see her today but that it won't be until later since he's got a lot going on at the hospital today.  I explain this to the sons.  They say they're afraid to leave to go get a meal because they don't want to miss the doctor. I explain that he most likely won't be there until after 8PM today due to the several urgent situations that he's dealing with at the hospital today.

I finally explain that I have a 4:30PM interview today and need to go talk with the kitchen so I leave.  The interviewee has been waiting a bit by the time I get to him.  I finally finish with him by 5:30 and am really looking forward to going home.  I stop by that patient's room to quickly confirm that her dinner was correct but she's sleeping so I leave.

The receptionist comes into my office as I'm gathering my things to leave and informs me that there is a man in  foyer who's been waiting to speak to me.  I slowly put my things away and trudge out to him.  His father is in the acute hospital and has been referred to our facility and another one.  He wants to visit both facilities prior to making up his mind where to direct the hospital to discharge his father.  He's requesting a tour of the facility.  Typically such tours are given by our admissions staff during business hours but they've gone home now.  So I give the tour and talk with him about his father.  We come back to my office and talk a bit more about his concerns and desires for his father.  I provide him with instructions on how to get to the other facility which is only 3 miles from our facility.

I call my husband to let him know that I'm done for the day and am coming home. I'm on my way out of the office again when the tour man calls me back and informs me that he wants our facility and the hospital wants to get his dad discharged tonight.  I call the admissions coordinatar who gets everything set up.

Finally I make it out the door!

It's a 40-minute drive home. As I'm driving home I start thinking and praying.  I'm asking God what he wants me to learn through these exhausting days.   I think about the verse in James that I've been meditating on lately.  When times are tough I need to be stead fast.

Oh God, create in me a steadfast heart. Help me to see the big picture and always be available to be used by you. Help me to care about the people you place in my life. Please give me the ability to draw on you when I'm exhausted. Help me truly love people.

Later that evening I was home and relaxing with my husband. At 8:40PM I got a text from the physician:

"I talked with the family. They are very happy now :)"

I text him back:

"You just became my hero -thank you"

He replied:

"I m here for you. Thank you so much. We are a team :).

I felt grateful.

2 Peter 2: 4-9 (MSG)

3-4 Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.

5-9 So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.

Ephesians 1:15-20 (NLT)

 15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere,] 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.

19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.

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