Sunday, March 25, 2012

God Sustaining All

 I had spent hours in the emergency room with nurses, doctors, lab technicians and respiratory therapists performing  tests and procedures in an effort to identify why mamma's heart was racing up to 144 beats per minute and her respiratory rate was up to 34 per minute. The frailty of life was reflected in her thin pale skin and shallow breaths struggling to continue life in my mamma's  87 year aged frail body. Turning to God for His strength and sufficiency was my only hope. I humbly admitted my weakness and prayed affirming God's power. I felt His love enveloping  me and my mother with His light and His might. To God be the glory for returning my mamma home after her recovery from flu and pneumonia.
V9 " But He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. V10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Healthy Muffins

My mother has been a natural cook at adapting recipes for my diabetic dad for over 35 years.  I love muffins and the ease of warming them quickly in the microwave for a breakfast on the run to work. Today, I tried my hand at modifying a recipe for Carrot-Orange bread into a low sugar, low fat variety. Rather than putting the mixture into a bread pan, I scooped the dough with a small ice cream scoop into a miniature muffin tin. My grandchildren convinced me of the fun of juicing and I recently purchased a juicer which places the pulp into a container and the juice comes out the opposite side. I juiced 6 very fresh plump carrots.Since I did not have oranges, I juiced one Gala apple. . To minimize the sugar content, I replaced 2/3 cup honey with  Equal Sucralose. I substituted apple for orange juice and apple pulp for canola oil, thus reducing the fat content and increasing the moisture and fiber. Before adding the two egg whites, I whipped them to incorporate air to add fluffiness to the thick batter. The flour and baking powder were combined and stirred in last. I added the remainder of the carrot juice for extra moisture.. After the tiny muffins baked in the preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, they were crunchy on top and moist throughout. The sweetness of these low fat, high fiber muffins was surprising. I shared the muffins with the family while they were still warm. Mamma said they were a delicious diabetic treat. She suggested one muffin as a serving since there was natural sugar in the carrot and apple pulp and juices.

Carrot-Apple Pulp Muffins
3/4 cup loosely packed carrot pulp
1/3 cup apple pulp
1/4- 3/4 cup carrot apple juice
2/3 cup Equal Sucralose
2 fluffy beaten egg white
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder

Galatians 5:22 " But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." NAS

Friday, March 16, 2012

Allergic to Honey Bees

My office phone rang.My daughter told me quickly that Pa had been stung by hundreds of honey bees and was on his way by ambulance to the local hospital. While I grabbed my purse, left school and drove to the local rural hospital, my daughter explained that daddy had been unable to get the lid off the hive. He had taken a board and hammer and tried to prize the sections of the hive apart. When the lid had come loose, bees swarmed him. He had dropped his tools, run to the four-wheeler on his 90 year old long legs and raced  the four wheeler away from the hive. Bees were inside his sleeves, pants, and shirt as well as clinging to areas of exposed skin on his neck , ears, and face. In his hurry to escape, he had dropped his glasses and run over them with the four wheeler tire.  By the time I reached the emergency room, the physician had given him prednisone and Benadryl to stop his body’s swelling and other allergic reactions. The nurse had pulled over 50 stingers out of his head. When I entered the room, daddy said, “Well, I guess you are going to tell me that you told me so.” “ I guess you’ll want me to just sit in the house now and do nothing until I die or my feet rot off from high blood sugar because I don't get any exercise.  Now, I was truly speechless as I watched my daddy try to maintain his sense of control while his ears and nose had become the size of Dumbo’s. 
Our preacher stayed in the ER with us until daddy was released. When we got home, daddy realized he did not have his gloves, hammer, or glasses. He questioned me if my husband could go get them. When I told him that the bees were angry and that it would be best if my husband and everyone stayed away from the bees, he just looked at me like a sad swollen child. He actually poked his lip out when I told him that he must leave the bees alone. He told me the bees were his pets. The next evening, I was not really surprised to find that daddy had a sheepish grin. He said, “ Well, I have always heard that a criminal will return to the scene of a crime.” “ I just went over there to find my glasses, and only a few bees stung me.”
It would seem reasonable that being a nurse, I would explain how the body can have a more intensified allergic reaction with subsequent exposures to stings. Daddy, however, said I was raising my voice and that was when he took his forefinger and rubbed it across his lip making a buzzing sound. Mamma and I decided we could both really enjoy a cup of soothing herbal tea.
"Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth." 
Proverbs 27:1 NIV

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Glorious Sunset- Tensions Forgiven

Do you think the dancing of  angels might be making those clouds fluffy?  Maybe their wings floating softly send blue lifting above the sunset on the horizon. Looking at this scene makes me think of the love of God filtering through all the atmosphere to cover me gently with peacefulness to soothe my concerns and soften my heart.
When dealing with your aged parents, have there ever been times when communication seems to come to a standstill? I find myself hearing the same story over again and again until I begin to smile and laugh about the story to release a bit of tension. They seem to become a bit belligerent when I hint that they may have forgotten something. Last fall when I took my mother for a physical, the internist was reviewing the list of concerns which I had written without taking the time to review with my mother prior to the medical visit.When the doctor mentioned that she might benefit from a medication often prescribed for Alzheimer's disease during the stage of early dementia, my mother turned to me and gave me "The Look". I knew I was in trouble when she said to me, "Just when have I forgotten anything? I have had to remember everything for your daddy for 65 years and I think for my age I am doing great." I dared not mention any specific episode because I knew she was furious and after all, I also forget things easily. The doctor, who was only becoming aware of her livid state, went on to mention that he could prescribe the medication and if she decided to take the trial dose for two weeks, she might become clearer in her thinking. My mother, who is 80% deaf in both ears heard him clearly, stood up and said she thought it was time to leave. I agreed, we left and she was not very happy with me on the ride home and for about a week afterward.. Love eventually won out. Have you ever experienced a similar situation where you felt helplessly unable to settle an emotional eruption with your elderly parents? I have learned through time that if  I become resentful or angry, it only lets Satan grab control and destroy relationships. With my mother 87 and my dad 90, it is important not to allow myself to thoughtlessly vent on them or internalize my anger  until I become prideful and resentful. Please post a comment about your similar situations and how you maintain compassion and forgiveness for your elderly parents.
Ephesians 4:26 "In your anger do not sin." " Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and 27: do not give the devil a foothold." 31:" Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." 32:" Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Trees for the Future !

He gave me a brief handwritten note. He asked me to mail the note to Arbor Day Foundation from which he was expecting ten trees promised when he had made an initial contribution. The foundation had notified him that they would mail the trees when the season for planting was right for our area of the country.  In his note he explained that he was 90 years old, had planted pines and oaks throughout his life in the south, he knew it was the season to plant and he wanted his trees. Luckily, I forgot to mail the note. When I drove to my parent's home the next afternoon,  my daddy was standing by his golf cart, raking moist dirt into a hole he had dug for planting a tree. The ten trees had arrived. He had dug six two foot deep holes and planted six of the trees. I was there for the planting of the sixth tree. He said he was going to bank the last four trees for another day.. He asked me to read the tags on each tree and tell him how large they would grow. He said his back hurt bad and he could not bend down to see the tree tags. He drove his golf cart over to get water and fertilizer to apply to each tree.  He told me that if somebody didn't begin to plant some trees, there would not be any oxygen for the next generation. I love his old fashioned faithfulness to preparing for the future. Daddy has always been one of those green thumb planters that could plant a stick and it would come to life. About 15 years ago, he planted a pine tree forest, stating it would be for the next generation. Those trees are now enormous and have been thinned twice. I truly hope he lives to see these six little trees grow tall and straight along with his grandchildren.
"He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." Psalm 1:3 NIV

Sunday, March 11, 2012

God's Untiring Watch

"What can an ombudsman do?", my friend asked. He was dealing with the challenges faced in many nursing homes across the country. At 92, his father has become blind from glaucoma and becomes disoriented in the midst of  noise of other residents in the large dining room at meals and social activities. His father had slapped out at another resident during one of his periods of disorientation. His actions resulted in the staff having him transferred to the local behavioral health center without the daughter's signature or approval. Upon the resident's return, he was still over medicated and disoriented with no improvement in behavior. The night after his return, the staff restrained him with cloth wrist restraints. The son was distraught with grief at seeing his father pulling against the restraints to the point where fragile skin on his wrists was bruised. The son told me he had talked about his father's care with the nursing staff, director of nursing, social worker and administrator to no avail. He said he attended every care plan meeting and gave input on his father's care. He felt his input was discounted and nothing was being done to help his father have any quality of life. Now he felt he needed outside support and therein was his reason for requesting knowledge about the ombudsman. I explained that the ombudsman was an objective individual who could be reached anonymously to whom her could report issues and concerns of care or treatment in a nursing home. I explained that he could also disclose concerns about his father's needs or care and request special review of these issues which would be investigated.
To locate information about the ombudsman program:
For the Office of Elderly Affairs to connect with the ombudsman:
To locate support service and information about Alzheimer's Disease

Even through we have governmental resources, we also have our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to whom we can pray and depend upon for help and protection. God is all powerful as He is never tired or diverted from watching over us.
1."I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from?" 2. "My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." 
7."The Lord will keep you from all harm--He will watch over your life;" 8." the Lord will watch over your coming and going, both now and forevermore." Psalm 121: 1-2 and 7-8 NIV

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Loving the aged has been my speciality for over 20 years as a registered nurse certified in gerontological nursing by The American Nursing Association. Loving my aged parents has brought  more blessings and tears than any certification. Their strengh of character, steadfastness to their christian values, and determination to stay together in their own home has given me great insight into aging. Nursing colleagues agree with me that there should be a care plan for baby boomers to deal with the trials and joys of caring for their aging parents. Maintaining their home life can bring comfort to the caregiver along with a measure of anxiety. Let's take nutrition as an example. First, there is a continual searching of their kitchen pantry to know what needs to be replaced since they can't remember what has been used or what is needed for preparation of future healthy meals. Mamma at 87 has begun to have very low tolerance for standing to cook and is now willing to eat some food taken to her by me and my daughter. She asks us to pick up some frozen meals which are quick if her or daddy's blood sugar drops. She does not want any meals with green beans because they are too tough, mushrooms because they are slick,  shrimp because they do not come from Louisiana, fish because it is not catfish from their pond, white potatoes because they run their sugar too high, pasta because it is not enough to be filling. That rules out 98% of the frozen meals and makes me overlook the possibility of daddy falling in the turnip patch. After all, at 90 he has learned to cook turnips his way when mamma is too weak. Therein lies the question of , "What is better, Quality of Life or Safety? "

Friday, March 2, 2012

Mamma's Simple Surgery

The podiatrist said it would be a simple procedure to release the tendons beneath the three toes on mamma's left foot. He had determined the procedure to be necessary to prevent her toes from being pulled further downward. She is diabetic and did not need to endure the damages posed by the toes ulcerating from rubbing her shoe.The doctor felt it would be safer for her to enter the outpatient surgical center, have the procedure in a sterile setting, and return home the same day. Due to her chronic respiratory condition, she could not undergo general anesthesia, so the anesthesiologist performed a "block" behind her left knee. Surgery of any type for an 87 year old should be undertaken only after serious consideration and I naturally had many questions. After surgery, I asked the podiatrist how long her foot would remain numb and he said about 12 hours. When 24 hours passed, her leg was still numb and she still remained bed bound due to her inability to stand Even though her foot was warm with a good pulse and the dressing was dry, I knew it was time to contact the physician.  The podiatrist told me her foot would likely take longer to regain feeling due to her age and slower metabolism.  After 36 hours, her leg and foot regained normal feeling. Mamma laughed when my daughter used the rolling walker to move her to the rocker where she relaxed with her morning coffee. I always marvel at the indomitable spirit of my mother.
Psalm 89:16-17 "In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted." 17 " "For thou art the glory of their strength."