Four people headed down the corridor to the conference room. It was quiet and a perfect place to discuss the different options. The patient was ready to be released and the question that had to be solved was where to send the patient. The pastor initiated the topic and everyone gave his own viewpoint. It had reached the point where there were two available choices. The first and most obvious decision was to return the patient to the home environment. The second and least desirable decision was to admit the patient to a nursing home. Since mobility wasnít a problem for the patient it didnít seem like it should be a hard decision. But there was a look of confusion on the face of the person responsible for the patientís care.
Most elderly patients have no desire to be in a nursing home, but there were home issues that needed to be addressed. The home environment was cluttered with boxes making it difficult to move from room to room. Safety was a major concern as well as the risk of a fall. Allergies to dust meant that the home needed to be cleaned on a regular basis in order to remove any allergens. Dust covered the tops of furniture and papers and mold was visible in certain sections of the wall. How had it become that way? I donít think anyone really knew the answer. But the homeís interior needed a thorough cleaning and some rearranging before the patient could come home.
The other alternative was a nursing home. It was not a choice that anyone wanted to make. Depression, lack of interest in life, and loss of independence all are very much a reality. Familiar places and people seem to vanish. Televisions and little conveniences are permitted but it isnít the same as being home. Other people make decisions; you are expected to adjust to their schedules. Being around other patients was a reminder of exactly where you were. It was easy to see how gloomy the atmosphere could become.
No amount of talking could help the spouse to make a suitable choice. The idea of a nursing home didnít appeal to her. She had mentioned to others that she never wanted to be in a nursing home. But the issue of the home environment was an even harder one. She wanted to have her spouse home but didnít want to make any effort to clean up the house. Offers from friends and neighbors to help clean up the house were available. With some effort the home could be safer and the risk to the patient would be minimized. Asked to make a decision, the spouse couldnít make a choice. The struggle within the mind continued. Each and every tiny scrap of paper in the home was deemed important. The air in the home didnít bother the patientís wife so why it was a problem at all? Everyone was against her and she knew exactly what was best. Unable to make a decision the patient was taken to a nursing home.
I had my eyes opened that day. No amount of reason could change the mindset of someone who was determined to do what was right but couldnít make a choice. Stubbornness had been obvious for some time but now it had crossed over to the inability to face up to reality. There was no sensitivity to the feelings and emotional needs of her spouse. She didnít care what others said and she even told others that the doctors didnít know what they were doing. All available options were researched but there were no legal options available. She was deemed capable of taking of herself. None of the state or local agencies had any control over decisions made about her spouse. When it came down to the last minute, the patient went to the nursing home.
The patient spent his last few years going back and forth from the hospital to the nursing home. Congestive heart failure caused edema and visits to the hospital required removing the fluid around his heart. After several months in the nursing home the patient requested to go home. The familiarity of home, the place where he had lived for 40 years, was what he wanted. During that time his breathing became labored. The dust and mold in the home made it difficult to breathe and on the last trip to the hospital he was diagnosed with a respiratory infection that no one could identify. The infection had become so extensive that nothing could slow down the raging over-productive cells. The patient died about six years after his initial diagnosis.
In life we meet all different types of people. Some are easy to get along with while others are difficult and test our patience. It may be a parent, co-worker, friend, or just a casual acquaintance. No matter where we are or what we do others are reading our lives like an open Bible. They listen to what we say and how we act. Control of our life should be given to over to Christ, especially in difficult decisions. Stubbornness and unwillingness to listen to reason are not part of Godís plan. We need to ask God to reach into the deep recesses of the minds of people who want to take control of their own life.
Our trust needs to be in the Lord and no one else. We are reminded more than once in the Bible to put our trust in the Lord. We are commanded to ďPut your trust in the Lord.Ē (Psalm 4:5). The idea is repeated in Psalm 71:1, ďIn you, O Lord, I put my trust.Ē. God asks for our trust so that he can enrich our lives and help us resolve problems that are way beyond our scope. When we turn the struggle over to Him the pathway becomes so much easier. He can give us the strength to let go of cumbersome problems that are weighing us down. He can ease the tension and uncertainty and guide us in the right direction.
The challenge we face now is to apply the principles of Godís Word to our life. Let go of the things that are problematic and put them into Godís hands. Open your eyes to new vistas and follow the plan that God has for you. Look for a chance to tell others about Christ and let them see Him in your face. Donít be too difficult to learn a new lesson. Reach out to someone who is uncertain and needs guidance. Guide them into a new life with God and change their focus. Put your trust in God and let him direct you. (Hebrews 2:13)
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