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You Just Have No Idea.

May 28th, 2008 by stephanie

Have you ever been in a situation where you really needed to connect with someone who fully understood your current situation? Maybe it was a critical moment on your part. Hopefully the right person came through for you just in the nick of time. If not, perhaps there was no one within immediate reach. And that happens.  In a way, the last week represented a bit of that scenario for me.  My precious, 94 year old grandfather, usually the picture of health and a delight to be around, suddenly fell severley ill.  Having outlived all of his children (my father included) and his wife as well, it fell to me to care for him and be near him in his time of need.

When I arrived at the hospital, I found his situation grave indeed. But it was the fight for information (with the medical staff) that ensued that was beyond belief.  Here I was, his sole heir and the person that would care for him, yet the hospital refused to even let me know his temperature!  I had no idea as to his condition, the treatment he had received, what tests had been administered, what medications he was being given, or the current diagnosis. Even though I held the Power of Attorney (for health) in my hands as well as a Hippa Release (medical release signed by my ailing grandfather himself) the staff refused to allow me ANY information. It was beyond surreal. Unless the doctor was present, I would receive no information. Period. Whatsoever. And if I didn’t ask him the right questions, he didn’t have to answer. It was bizarre to say the least.

Once my grandfather was discharged, I found myself his full-care nurse.  In his tiny apartment back at the assisted living center where he lived independently it was just him and me.  On our own. I cared for him 24/7.  With no medical back ground and no help (due to the holiday weekend) I was left to my own devices. It was a daunting task. But I was determined to be there for him, no matter what the need.  

He didn’t sleep. So we were up around the clock. I napped when I could. I changed the bandages and I administerd the nebulizer treatments.  All he could do on his own was make his way to the bathroom or sit up to eat a meal.  All else fell to me.  But I cherished the job.  This was a person I enjoyed being with, and no task was too difficult. When you love someone, it just comes easy. 

People that called in to check on me or my grandfather meant well, but in reality, they truly had no idea of the moment or the life I was now struggling to survive.  Paperwork. Insurance. Bank visits.  The will. Power of Attorney. Car title. Bills due and when. Accounts and their access. Trying to keep my full time job back home afloat. Nursing without training. Assisted living decisions. Home Health decisions. Doctor reports and visits. Future guesses. It all fell to me, and I felt inadequate.  But there was no time to doubt. You do what you have to do in those moments. And regardless of your experience, you have to perform.

But, as a single person, you do it alone.  As well meaning as people are, unless they have been there personally, they simply have NO idea of the gravity of the situation. Or the exhaustion. I remember one day, when I finally had a nurse to cover for me, I was able to slip out and get away.  I remember just driving and wondering where I was going. I didn’t care. I just needed to get out. And there I was.

That said, when you find someone that has “been there done that”, in those situations you realize that they are a complete gift from God.  And the Father up above sent one of those very people to me when I was at my lowest and least expecting it. As I lay down for a quick nap one afternoon, my phone rang. I was so exhausted, that when I saw the caller ID, my brain could not even register the person that my phone was showing as calling. But I answered anyway.

“You have been on my mind so heavily, I just had to call. I was listening to your CD, and I knew I had to call. So, here I am. How are you doing?”  The person on the other end had absolutely no idea where I was or what I was going through. But she was the one person who completely understood this type of situation. She had personally experienced the very thing I was dealing with at that very hour. “Not good.” I replied.  “And to be honest, if you had not called, I don’t know that I would have even admitted that out loud. But since you are on the line and asking, here it goes. ” And unload I did.

God sends to us the people who “have an idea” about what’s going on, or “get it” right when we need them. At least, He does in my life and in the lives of those around me.  All I can say is, what a beautiful thing it is to have someone at those amazingly difficult times that completeley understands. When we go through difficult times, or trials, they may be hard to figure, but let me assure you, someone down the road will need you and your experiences. And you will help them survive their moment of crises. Trust me.

I am so grateful for a God in heaven who not only sees me, but sends people my way just when I need them most. People who have walked the road I currently trod, if you know what I mean.  In return, I realize too that I will someday be able to come alongside someone who will need me.  What I have been through this past month is not in vain.   I just  have no idea yet as to how it will bless some future friend. But I look forward to that day.

Best to you.

S.

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