Thursday, January 19, 2017

Our Many Bright Spots

Winter is moving right along, and so is Dean's nursing care at the Waverly Care Center. We have focused so much on his diabetes though, that a visit to the pulmonary doctor last week reminded us once again of another health crisis on the horizon for him. His COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. His forty-year smoking habit has left its mark on his lungs after all.

We must make more concerted efforts to encourage Dean to use his oxygen and C-PAP machine more. His shortness of breath has increased, with Dean even noticing and mentioning it to me. The one bright spot is the fact that he has quit smoking as of 1999, when he had that near-fatal tractor accident. So at least we don't have to worry about efforts to make him quit or limit his smoking.

The Lord has blessed us with several things about Dean's care that I thank God for every day. All of them have made his caregiving possible...both when he was at home and now at the skilled nursing care center:
  1. He hasn't asked to drive the car (even though driving was one of his favorite activities, being a truck driver).
  2. He has allowed me, and now the nurses, to prepare and administer his medicines (his illegal drug use, when he was young, could have made this a hard one).
  3. He never balks or refuses to see a doctor (as many independent men are apt to do).
  4. He doesn't mind getting insulin shots and finger pricks for the diabetes now (perhaps because of his earlier drug use).
  5. He has never asked for a cigarette (which would have speeded up his lung disease drastically, not to mention the cost it would have been to our budget)!!!
 Yes, the longer Dean and I live, the more we see of God's work in our lives. When we put Him in charge, marvelous things happen. Even when they aren't readily discernible to us at the time, we can know that it will all work out in a way that most glorifies God in the end.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Practice Till It Hurts

Three strikes and I hope I'm not out. So far I have had two failed attempts at giving Dean his insulin shots at church. This should not be so hard--one would think. After all, I have a master's degree. Almost anyone should be able to do this task of checking blood sugars and giving a shot.

I admit I've never been nearly as handy with my hands as I'd like. Learning how to crochet was a major undertaking. And I have never been one to untangle a mechanical dilemma of any kind. But, really...?

Even with a couple of church member nurses present and a small assembly of other interested onlookers, I have had dubious success with getting this simple operation completed. Twice, no less! It really is quite embarrassing, not to mention heartbreaking. Yesterday Dean had to miss his first potluck dinner after church in several months. We've always had to leave right after the worship service to get back to the care center. And now that he's on five shots a day, it really is important that I learn to do this so he can stay away till his three o'clock shot.

It's all about the training though, I know. So far, it's been pretty haphazard stuff. One can't expect a harried nurse, who's busy giving hundreds of these pricks and shots a day to slowly and methodically allow me to learn how to do it on their watch. I really need a more thorough sit-down, hands-on, demonstration and practice training session, especially considering my ineptness with doing anything with my hands. (With the exception of typewriting, I sweat when I have to screw in a lightbulb.)

This experience, while increasing my appreciation for God's patience with my stumbling attempts to do the right thing, has also reminded me of the necessity of a recent piece of legislation that passed through our state of Nebraska last year. It's called the Assisting Caregiver Transitions Act, requiring hospitals to give the training needed to caregivers before they take their loved one home. We caregivers can't be expected to become instant medical technicians overnight. It takes practice.

And that's just what I'm going to continue to do. Practice, practice, practice, until I get this diabetes monster, in the form of an insulin pen, on the floor, begging for mercy!