Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tough week so far & its only Tuesday

Its been one of those weeks that as soon as you walk in the door you know your in for a long busy day. Many of you know I work in a Nursing home & we care for the aged.

The elderly that we care for become extended parts of our lives & we fall in love with so many of them. At one time in their lives they were just like you & I, with dreams, goals, hobbies, & toys, like boats, snowmobiles, antique collections, sports fans & some even active in sports. We have one gentleman that was once a boxer & he reminds us daily that" he can knock anyone down with one punch," he puts up his fists & makes like a fighter but has never hit anyone. Just gives us a demonstration of his might.

For the past few days we have watched three of our little people fade from life, this is never the easy part. One left us on Sunday & the other two are holding on breath by breath. We know in our hearts they are old & we know some will never leave the nursing home to go back to their own homes but when we have to say a permanent good bye it is not easy. We try to provide the most comfort as we possibly can in these last days & give the families that sit in silent vigil at the bedsides our support, but sometimes our support falls so short because we are struggling to keep our own feelings in check. Today was one of those days when the other two precious oldsters struggled for each minute. They are at this point beyond normal feeling but one never knows for sure just what they are feeling or hearing for that matter, so we whisper soft messages of love, give them a gentle touch, provide medication to ease any pain they may have & wait. Waiting is the hardest & families ask us "how much longer" Our response is only God knows that answer, but we see the signs that tell us not to much longer. Its amazing to watch this death process & how different people go through it. God has provided the body with many mechanisms that ease one into death in old age. The appetite lessens, the need for food is not the center point of life, & the thirst for liquid is not felt. Mental & physical changes allow them to slowly withdraw from the activities of life, & in some disease processes take over. But with all of them God has appointed a time for the end of life. Its very hard to say goodbye & today when I left work I had to do that knowing when I go back to work they may be not be there.
One of the saving graces that helps me is to know they have lived long & fruitful lives with many memories, accomplishments, some being godly examples & leaving behind sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, & friends, & us who cared for them in the last days to remember the good times in their lives. There is a passage in Job that reminds us who are living that we all have been appointed a certain amount of days to live & will not surpass those days. We need to make the most of the days we have so graciously been given & to leave legacies that will honor our Savior. That is a difficult task but one to work toward each day. We can only do it with the strength of Jesus.

Job 14:5 Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass: KJV


Mari said...

What a nice post Nancy. It has been a hard week. I hate seeing some of our friends fading away, but I'm so glad I got to know them. Isn't it a special priveledge to be allowed to spend some time with these people and their families as they take this last step? And I'm esppecially happy that we know where these two will spend their eternity.

Laura said...

Oh Nancy. That post made me cry. It is sad to read about, but it was a very beautiful post too.
It is just so nice to know that these people are taken care of so well, and that the transition out of their earthly body can be so peaceful.

The hard part would be with those that you don't know where they're going.

Thanks for sharing this with us - you and all the nurses are truly special people and a blessing to the residents and their families. :)

Beth said...

What a sweet and beautiful post. Even knowing that these people are going to be with God doesn't make the pain of seeing them fade away any less.

You sound like a wonderful caregiver. Your job must be so hard.

Terri said...

I don't think I could work by you - I just don't think I could handle it.Good thing that we all have different gifts because what you do requires someone special. At least it's a comfort to know that those two will be spending eternity in heaven.

Just Another Day In Paradise said...

What a beautiful post! Like I always tell Mari- it takes a special person to do your job and you do it so well.
What a blessing you have been to all the residents there!

Anonymous said...

Nancy you rock!! you are the BEST nurse ever!! Next to Mary S. Love Ya!!

Sandra said...

I've told Mari this and I'm saying it to you too, you are an amazing woman. You both do such a wonderful job and I don't think I could ever do it.

I get very easily attached to people and it would just be heartbreaking for me.

This was a very sweet post :)

Cathy said...

That is a sweet post, Nancy. Bless your heart, and I know those people are blessed to have you care for them.