Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Lost and Found

I am missing something. But unlike misplaced keys or lipstick, I haven’t quite known what “it” is.  There’s been a general sense that is both unsettling and distracting, really just absolute fatigue.  After some difficult relationship issues at work, I believe I’m missing, as in lonely for, a part of myself.  Perhaps a shadow of whom I was a few years ago, writing my way through great heartache and leaning in to the Lord with an intimacy that can’t be described. And maybe I just need a reminder of who I am.

“Who I am”, has been challenged lately.  Yes, the compassion, love, and dedication to caring for people, has been casually mocked and laid out bare as though I’m a joke.  I’ve heard the terms “enabling,” “too nice”, as well people loudly mocking the way I interact with my patients over the phone.  I’ve heard comments that I care too much, and should just do the basics and let things go.  “Don’t worry” about it, “It’s not your problem,” and of course the most recent little tidbit of advice laughingly thrown out… “You need to be on Lexapro.”


I sat down with some worship music today, the first day of my needed Christmas vacation.  I came home so angry last night after the latest comments were blurted out about me yesterday at work in front of coworkers.  It does cause me to question myself, asking if there is something wrong with me.  Am I so different? Maybe I should just blend…and then I was led to read back through my old

In those posts, I didn’t see blending.  I saw the heartache of Luke’s illness and re experienced the shear terror of trying to get back into nursing. But I also relived those priceless God moments and times of revelation.  I realized I am missing that.  I am missing listening to and hearing from God and then pouring my heart out to share with that one isolated reader. Those experiences are the brick and mortar of why I do what I do, why I love people so passionately and am so determined to make a difference.

I told Tommy last night as I was falling asleep, that being persecuted for doing good is still alive and present, if not in a more subtle form, just as painful. 

However, the ugliness will only fuel my desire to make a difference. Blend?  I will not.  Those who have been touched by the Great Healer will not be silenced. In the name of Jesus…

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do you light a candle and put it under a basket. Instead they put it on a lamp stand and it gives light to everyone in the house." Matthew 5:14 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Cheese Movers

It’s the second weekend of summer and the second weekend in a row of too many parent needs with an odd mixture of blessings thrown in like teasers to keep us going.  Wednesday, Mother and I left to go look at a used lift recliner for Dad. Thankfully I was driving her 17 year old Lumina, because the motor blew out about 3 miles into our journey.  After an obvious "pop, jolt, and shudder," I literally felt the life drain out of this sad ‘ole car, while I coasted down 1641 till reaching a safe place to park.  Thank goodness Mom had a towing service card handy as well as a cheerful attitude, and Lydia, as usual, sat quietly in the backseat  without a complaint.  

While waiting on a tow truck, oddly, I kept humming an old tune but with a weird twist.  “This was the day…the Lumina…died.  And we were singing…Bye, bye Ms. American pie…”  I guess my mind was trying to lighten the craziness of the day, I don’t know.  Dad was left "home alone", which we rarely do, because we didn’t plan on being gone long.  So things were further dramatized as mom dialed their home number to try to explain to Daddy, who can’t hear on the phone, that #1 the car was dead, #2 we hadn’t been in a wreck, #3 we were safe, but #4 we wouldn’t be home any time soon.

Thursday, Lydia and I made it to see the lift chair by ourselves, and made an executive decision to get it. Thursday night Tommy and I took his 2014 Malibu loaner car (yes his was in the hospital) over to mom’s house to see if Dad could fit in it, saving them a major circus-like trip to the car dealership to find a car.  If you’ve ever seen Daddy transfer, you’d know why we considered this among our teaser blessings!  Thankfully we were able to wedge his body into the front passenger seat without too much trouble. After taking it for a spin around Kaufman, my parents were agreeable to buying a similar car making that process simpler than it could have been.

Back at the house, we started moving things around to make room for Dad's recliner.  It’s kinda like the book, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”.  To make room for the recliner, you have to move a sleeper sofa. To make room for the sleeper sofa you have to put a bunch of stuff in the attic as well as move two electric beds in two different places back together in a new spot.  To make room for the electric beds in a new spot, you have to move a queen size bed to my house.  To make room for the queen size bed in my house you have to move a twin bed from my house back to Mom’s house…and on it goes. Dad was understandably agitated, and I’m fairly sure I saw Mother glaring at me a few times as I made more unappreciated, executive decisions without much sympathy for her plight.  I get it…not only did their car die, but, as mom likes to say when Dad has a hard time handling change, “their cheese is being moved.”

Today Tommy is renting a UHAUL to move afore mentioned “cheese” into the appropriate places with help from Mom’s faithful yard man.  My plan is to stay out of the way and out of the line of fire while attending to my own cheese moving phobias.  I’ll be cooking a meal to take later as an appeasement offering while thanking God for the teaser blessings along the way. We’ll likely leave the car buying till next week, spaced in and around taking Daddy to Rockwall for a heart monitor…

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Time to Cry

I brought him home again, yesterday, minus about 17 pounds. So much has happened and there has been little time to process it.  It’s not the kind of crying I want to do with people in and out of the room all day. So I stuffed it. I stuffed, crammed down, and glossed over all the horror of the last few weeks.  And today I feel the effects of compacted trauma oozing out in sporadic tears, short tempers, and absolute fatigue. In fact I swear my brain is in a fog.

So many “moments,” images of suffering, gut wrenching fear, and pure rage are imprinted into my brain, triggering post traumatic stress symptoms at inappropriate times.  Tonight I don’t even know how to process them, but they are there, and they have changed me to the core. You go from one day to the next accepting the worst case scenarios that seem to surround you, all the while thinking, surely this is it…things will get better.

It took 10 days to get him well enough after surgery to come home from Rockwall after they resectioned his infected intestines and took his appendix out. He lasted nearly 4 days till he started to pass out from low blood pressure.  So we took him back in for fluids thinking he was just dehydrated. But after multiple bags of IV fluids and a continued drop in blood pressure, they decided to admit him.

Begging to go to the bathroom but not enough pressure in his vessels to allow him to stand up, we resorted to humiliating means to get him relief.  And I cried.  More IV’s inserted to give blood, and I cried some more. He was so pale and barely staying awake. They said it was time to transfer him to Children's.

By the time I was hoisting myself up into the ambulance from Children’s Hospital the next morning, I think I went numb.  I briefly remember a chaplain from Rockwall Presbyterian hugging me and promising to pray for us. Luke was strapped in a gurney with IV’s and blood dripping, heart monitors beeping and blood pressure cuffs inflating.  The ride there was a blur after being up all night knowing he was bleeding inside, somewhere, enough to drop his blood pressure to just barely…

Shortly after being admitted at Children’s he was evaluated and had an Nasogastric tube inserted from his nose into his stomach so they could pump jugs of bowel prep into him. I thought Luke was going to give up at that point.  He gave me a desperate look begging me to do something. The prep and bathroom trips continued until Tommy called a halt to the craziness at 4:30 am. They’d been up some 25-30 times to the bathroom and had reached absolute exhaustion. But that wasn’t the end of chaos.

Half jokingly, Luke warned the Anesthesiologist the next day that things never go easy with him.  And as they entered Luke’s stomach and small intestine for the endoscopy, they found a mass of ulcers, oozing blood.  One of them had ulcerated clear through to a blood vessel which broke open during the procedure, causing more chaos in the OR and spilling more precious blood he couldn't afford to loose.

After  two more units of blood followed by a very long weekend of no food or drink while the ulcers healed, and being isolated to his room,  he was allowed to go home…some 7 days after going back to the ER in Rockwall.

There are so many instances of seeing God’s hand, His provision, His comfort and His miracles. And I want to write about those times. But tonight I feel the panic with a need to just cry.  Hoping that the tears will clear the way to remember the good, the sweet, and the compassion we’ve been shown…for another day.   

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Sweetness of Suffering Long

What an odd time to be pouring out my thoughts, or maybe not.  Seems like it’s in the worst of times that the Lord allows my fingers to work through these tormenting, emotional knots.

1:30 am on Wednesday morning and Luke has had another awful start to the night. He’s just miserable with pain and nausea, I guess with his bowels trying to sort out their purpose. Even after IV medication he’s restless, moaning, begging to go home and be done with this nightmare. I’ve lost count of the number of times he’s dragged his rapidly thinning frame out of the bed and hobbled to the bathroom with “George,” his unwanted IV pole companion. 
I’ve felt myself nearly checking out at times, and have blamed it on being short of sleep. But the last 24 hours I’ve had a word forcing itself to the forefront of my mind.  Amidst the pain, sleeplessness, and agony of seeing my child miserable, I hear the word “long suffering.”  Over and over this word keeps repeating itself in my brain. It’s not a word I know really, or use. In fact I wouldn’t have been able to tell you much about it except that at the height of Luke’s misery tonight I looked it up.  Long-suffering is a fruit of the Spirit.
My take on it is this:  God wants me to look past the present heartache somehow to understand the concept of abiding with Him, in His timing, and for His purposes, not mine. Long-suffering is allowing Him to carry me and others through the most tedious of suffering. It’s allowing the Holy Spirit to abide and work when all other attempts to control and manipulate are failing. It’s what allows the church to walk with someone through the pain no matter how impossible things seem. Long suffering through the Holy Spirit breaths out from the care givers of the dying, and exudes peace and hope to the disabled. It accepts that we aren’t on an instant fix schedule, but rather submitting to the Lord’s will with a peace that can only come from my Father. A Father who I know loves me so very much tonight. 
In our instant society we have tight control of many things to avoid delays, inconveniences, and ultimately pain that makes us unhappy. As I’ve walked these hospital halls there are times I think we will never leave. By my calculations, we should have been home days ago.  I fret because things aren’t working out like I think they should. And I can’t even imagine the pain Luke has right now or the hopelessness he is dealing with. He is missing Band UIL and musical theater rehearsals for “Oklahoma.” The homework is piling up, his weight is dropping, and he is feeling so trapped.

I believe, though, that tonight the Lord has persistently been whispering to me “Long-suffering, Kerrie. You aren’t going to fix this according to yours or anyone else’s plans or needs. Let go and just walk with me as I grow and share this bitter sweet fruit, through you."

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Battle Scarred Faith

This last week, Tommy and I’ve watch Luke struggle through horrible abdominal pain, nausea, and a 3 hour ER wait while vomiting in a trash can as strangers looked on. He chugged down contrast dye, vomiting multiple times before being wheeled off without us to get a CT scan. He was then whisked off to surgery with a hope of being pain free and leaving in the morning. Instead, he  woke  up to find himself chained to IV poles, a mass of bandages across his lower abdomen, and plastic bottles and tubes coming out of holes not previously there. His simple appendectomy turned into major abdominal surgery including removal of parts of the small and large intestine that were so infected they had to be discarded along with an  appendix reported to be 10-15 times normal size. 

I found myself in shock, feeling like I’d entered the Twilight Zone.  Lord I thought, are you for real here?  What's up? I’ve done my duty many times over, and we deserve some kind of break don’t we? Why are you allowing us to go through more crap with our other son? But I’m reminded that my heart has told the Lord that I just want to bring him honor. I just want to be a light in darkness. It’s so easy to proclaim that in the middle of easy times, but when you find yourself in another ER, watching son number 2 begging for relief it’s easy to say to hell with wanting to be warrior princess for God, just give my son some relief.

But today I heard a code called upstairs on someone who quit breathing and found myself whispering prayers for healing. A man in the cafeteria getting coffee with me needed to talk about his wife’s surgery. Walking the halls with Luke I pass a down cast Spanish woman who looks hopeless... "Lord bring her relief and peace”.  Another gentleman hobbling down the hall with an IV pole for a cane, “Keep up the good work sir!” the thoughts, words, prayers just flowed.  The Lord is present, abiding, living, breathing through me in the middle of Luke’s nightmare.

I’ve said many times, if we want to be a light in a dark world we gotta walk through the darkness in order to shine.  This life ain't about careers and vacations, and retirements or bank account worries. Its not about making our place in this world and having people admire us. It’s about Jesus.  It’s about thanking him for the opportunities to be faithful and recognizing that faithfulness impacts the world most when things are at their worst. It’s about realizing God has kingdom sized plans that don’t revolve around our family's comfort… and I can choose to be a part of His army with joy. 

 So tonight I ask myself what right do I have to complain? I can come up with a hundred things to complain about, or I can begin thanking God for another opportunity to proclaim His glory.  Andrew didn’t learn to love and trust his Father through a normal pain free life.  And my wise mother reminded me this weekend that Luke was also being molded. Who am I to complain and stand in the way of experiences that will allow Luke to develop faith and perseverance?  

We’ve been blessed with amazing doctors, nurses, techs, ladies that bring clean linens, and cafeteria workers that make sure we have food and coffee. We've been shown love and support that has come in like a tidal wave of blessings. And Tommy, my steady rock that just keeps on giving, loving, providing and telling me not to worry. His worth can in no way be measured through promotions or pocketbooks. He is priceless. My cup runneth over this week. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Call a Tow Truck Please

This morning I feel bound by the effects of fear in a way that mimics my dad’s own physical paralysis.  I need to be able to go back to school to be licensed, but so much trauma from my childhood abuse breakdown is entangled like a knotted mess in and  around my past nursing career. 

When I think about nursing, I feel pain, no more like agony, shame, absolute humiliation that my mental health crumbled in the midst of what should have been a successful career.  Now I can’t separate the two well enough to get an objective outlook of what I’m capable of. 
Deep down, I know I’m a much different person, probably better in many ways, than that young 20 something year old nurse.  I’ve lived through some horrible times, managed many crises, learned to love deeply, and minister from a spring of healing that I know erupted from near fatal wounds.

It sounds like such a simple fix…go back to school, get re licensed and then get a job. Going back into nursing, though, is much more to me than taking an RN refresher course. Its about maneuvering around and sifting through the rubble from one of the most explosive, uncertain times of my life. Memories, like bombs, get triggered and I'm afraid that I'll end up just another casualty.

This morning my brain is being hammered with a pounding, barrage of what if’s…What if I go into emotional and mental lock down, meaning that I’m so paralyzed by fear that I can’t go to classes or clinicals?  What if I get sick inside with anxiety so acute that I find myself physically rocking back and forth again in an attempt to calm myself?  What if I can’t do the driving? What if this nearly 50 year old wanna be nurse can’t adjust to all the changes? What if no one will hire me? What if this isn’t God’s will at all, but just my own attempt to “fix” things my way rather than waiting on God.

And truthfully the worst, what if the glue that has held my dissociation safely together to function as a mom and wife isn’t strong enough to allow me to withstand the stress of starting over in a career?  I could dissociate…I could be humiliated … I could fail miserably...all – over – again.

People say to pray about it.  Yes, that's the Christian thing to do.  I am and have been.  There have been no clear “yes’s” heard by my efforts, but the more heart breaking, situational “no’s” instead. Every other door has been rudely closed on my inquiry. Even the simplest of jobs that I know could be done well, have not opened even a smidgen. 
So I say to myself, 'perhaps this is God steering me back to being a nurse.  Perhaps he is going to do much more than give me a salary but teach me an excruciating lesson in trusting Him. Maybe there will be some needed healing come along with this second chance. Perhaps it’s time to have my own “what if?” covered, humongous ego towed out of the way so that I can see Him.'
I’m trying hard this morning to envision another list of “what if’s”?  What if He shows me the way through school and I find a low stress job that I love?  What if my income blesses Tommy financially? What if I learn to trust my Papa Father at an even deeper level?   What if, along the way, I'm able to internalize that my worth isn't in what I do, but in who I follow?