Thursday, July 24, 2014

When Dilaudid and Xanax don't cut it

Back in the days before I became a nurse I was somewhat, no maybe a lot naive.  It wasn't that I didn't know that people had problems and issues and dilemmas and struggles, I just didn't have access to those things up close and personal like becoming a nurse earned myself a front row seat.

Before I became a nurse I thought nursing was nice and sweet (mostly) ladies fluffing pillows and giving pills.  I had had the experience or two of being in the hospital as a patient with having babies, then having a couple minor surgeries, and still, my rose colored glasses perceptions remained.

Then I started nursing school and only then did I realize the extent of not only the stress and responsibility and expectations placed on the medical field, but I also began to see the true suffering of those seeking health care and those giving health care.

Almost over night my expectations of fluffy pillows and tylenol were thrown out the door and stomped on by the reality of people in not only physical pain, but deep emotional and spiritual pain.
My pillow fluffing skills were not going to cut it and there were not enough orders in the world for tylenol and dilaudid and xanax to quiet the spiritual nerve cells screaming in the bodies of my patients.

I didn't get into the profession until my early 40's and so my own personal life experiences have helped (or hindered, I'm not sure) me from seeing a patient in a different way than say a fresh young college nursing grad who has the head knowledge but not the life experience to look at a patient in a bigger picture than just the numbers on their chart and the history of their diseases and surgeries.

It's a conundrum to say the least.  And the continual debate on our health care system in the United States is not really getting to the root of the problem, in my opinion.

We're afraid of dying, we're afraid of pain when dying, we're simply afraid.   Patients are afraid major mistakes will be made at their expense and health care providers are afraid mistakes will be made by them.  Healthcare facilities are afraid of being sued and multimillion dollar lawsuits will have to be paid out.

I'm not telling you anything about this that you don't already know or haven't already thought about, have I?

I guess what's on my mind today is that the answer, in my opinion, to the health care debate and coverage in this country is to stop for a minute and try to see the bigger picture of what is actually going on in the human body.  Not just the cells and organs and tissues that we can see and regulate with drugs and surgeries, but let's look deeper into the whole person.

I don't think it starts or ends with an established healthcare facility either.

I believe it starts and ends with the followers of Jesus Christ, both in the health care field and outside.  We are regular consumers of the health care product too and we have the same fears of dying that the rest of the world does.  If we are going to an MD before even asking God for help and healing then why should anyone else who doesn't know Christ go to Him first?

I have a front row seat now to death.  The people I take care of, for the most part, are in the last place they will be before they die.  They've lived a life that has left them whether by choice or chance, unable to care for themselves, and too much of a burden to be cared for by family.

How did they get to that point?  Where did it start?

Did it start when they had to take blood pressure pills for stress?  Did it start when they found out they were diabetic?  Did it start when they were diagnosed as a schizophrenic or bipolar when they were a teenager?

The pills and wonder drugs and surgical abilities are truly mind boggling when you realize what they have done to prolong and maintain life, but still there is no cure for death.

So I guess I'm typing out loud here today, and wondering with my fingers on the keyboard, is the prolonged life drugs and surgeries and procedures promise really what the whole of a person needs?

It's easy to take a pill.  It's easy to look at numbers on a chart and say, "yes, this drug will help your blood pressure or your liver function or whatever it may be," but what if instead of first seeking an MD you first seek God, the maker of your beautifully designed body?

I'm not saying we don't need these drugs, and please, please don't flush yours down the toilet today, but I am saying, we don't need the drugs more than we need God.  There are illnesses that come just because of having a sin-tainted body, but there are also illnesses that come because the spiritual health in the body is so poor.

God has designed your body to work perfectly in sync with itself.  No part is more important than the next part and the parts that can be measured in labs also are a reflection on the soul and the mind and spirit.

I guess what I'm rambling about is, take a look at your health, your whole health, if you have the courage, not just your physical health but your emotional and spiritual health also.  You are going to end up dying, eventually.  You do realize that, right?  But when you do, let it be because you lived your life well and you came to the end of your days having lived at peace with God and at peace with yourself.

Face your past, acknowledge it, then let go.  Ask yourself, why am I eating more than my body needs?  Why am I smoking?  Why do I find comfort drinking away my thoughts?  What am I afraid of facing that I avoid by filling my body with things it doesn't need to feel alive?

Give God your cells, your blood cells, your nerve cells, your spirit cells first.  Then and only then, seek outside help.  Ask God to direct the course of your healthcare.  Ask God to give you the wisdom you need as you seek which treatments and direction you should take.  Ask God to give you peace in whatever place you end up settling in that you lived your life well.  Ask so you can know deep down in your gut that you trusted Him with your whole heart and health.

You may still need to take your medications, that's ok.  But at least you'll know that God has provided your health care to maintain a life you can live well, no matter what is your diagnosis.

To good whole health!


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