A Little Girl Lost

Archive for the ‘isolation’ Category

MRSA Isolation


While in rehab in Shepherd Center after my spinal cord injury, a culture of my trach grew out MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), (pronounced mer-sa), the very contagious, hard to kill superbug. My lungs had filled with infected mucus and I wasn’t able cough.
The nurses moved me into an isolation room. Every staff member donned yellow paper gowns, blue masks, latex gloves and safety glasses before entering my room.
The nurses began to “cough” me. Think one hard CPR compression only below my diaphragm along with my weak attempt to cough. It worked so we “repeated until clear”. The first thing anyone said on entering my room was, “Let’s cough.”
Every assisted cough shot searing pain to both of my shoulders, and it took a month of coughing to clear my lungs. Though still in isolation, but not coughing, my nurses came in without isolation garb. I knew who each one was by her voice.
I knew each woman’s story of life. Their loves, their hopes, their dreams and their desires. I knew who they were and that I would remember many.
Earl and I returned to Shepherd nine years later. I asked about several but only found two. One woman had cleaned my room five days a week and had achieved her desires. She had married her boyfriend and was working in the finance office at Shepherd.
The second woman, a new registered nurse, had a passion for working with persons with spinal cord injuries. She had advanced to the role of clinical coordinator for Shepherd, married and had two sons.
I remembered a few names. Jesus never forgets one.
Our Shepherd calls us His sheep and we know His voice. He knows our stories from the beginning. Our loves, hopes, dreams and desires.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (John 10:14 NIV).
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27 NIV).
In Christ,
Berta
Photo Courtesy of Free Flickr Images

Controlled


At sixteen, I lived with my family of eleven in the old Standard Oil gas station on the corner of Main and N. Putnam. We actually lived in the garage.
Daddy built three sets of bunk beds for us eight kids. The four youngest shared. Daddy and Mary, my stepmother, slept on a rollaway bed. My one-month-old niece slept in a bassinet.
We had an electric stove, a refrigerator and a large storage cabinet. We placed a 4′ by 8′ sheet of plywood over the hydraulic lift to use as a table.
Mary opened a gift shop in the office. Everything we sold was handmade by us. I learned how to create beautiful flowers, baskets and candles. I enjoyed crocheting afghans, hats and scarves.
Some days I forgot about the smell of engine oil and grease as I created beautiful objects that people would enjoy.
That winter we heated the garage with a potbelly, wood burning stove. When the temperature dropped below freezing outdoors, Daddy moved our milk cow into the garage with us.
My sisters and I shoveled manure into buckets and dumped it in the back yard. The foul odor became another normal part of our life.
The oddity of our lifestyle separated us from our peers. The matriarchal power abused by Mary to isolate our family trained us to follow her instructions to the letter. If not obeyed her punishment was severe.
For eighteen months, because of Mary’s control, I spoke to no one outside my family.
Why? Control. Plain and simple.
We all have a desire to be in charge of our own lives and our environments. Some, like Mary, cross the line.
In the Old Testament, the Jewish leaders added many laws after they received the Ten Commandments from God. The people focused on obedience to the rules and many lost intimacy with God.
Jesus did not come to set rules or force us to obey His commandments. He offers freedom not control. Abundant living is ours to receive and share. Love one another. Pray for each other in times of lack and times of plenty.
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12 NIV).
In Christ,
Berta
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A New Creation

In 1972, my stepmother began to isolate my sisters and me (along with her own children) by moving us away from the town we knew and restricting our access to peers. I quit school and worked alongside Dad each day in the wooded area deep in the bottoms along the Illinois River where we lived in a school bus.

I enlisted in the Navy in 1975 and followed orders 24/7 in basic. At my “A” school and then my permanent duty station, I had time off. Used to structure, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t understand why everyone in my barracks sat crowded together in the lounge watching television. I tried to make friends but was socially inept.
Lonely, I started drinking and fell in with the wrong crowd. I did fine for a while but alcohol soon became my enemy as people took advantage of me. Tired of being used and thrown out like yesterday’s trash, I grew hard-hearted. I lived by my own rules and hurt many people—mostly myself.
I’d heard about Jesus in those days but believed I had to be perfect in everything I did for him to love me. Imperfect as I was, I knew He couldn’t.
But when I met Jesus, I knew He loved me. As dirty as I was, He wrapped me in His loving embrace. He knew everything about me—the good, the bad and the ugly. He washed me clean. He healed my wounds. He saved me from my life of sin and death. He set my feet on the Solid Rock.
I received a new and loving family. Forgiving. Accepting. Welcoming. Alive in Christ.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18 NIV).

In Christ,
Berta

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