Two People On Their Crossroads In Life

Two People On Their Crossroads In Life

Crossroads are bound to happen, it's how you deal with them that matters.

At some point, we’re all going to come to a crossroads in our lives; it’s inevitable. How we handle these crossroads, however, is up to us. I’ve asked two people to share their stories of times when they were at a crossroads, and how they got through them.

SaraBeth, 19: Diabetes

When I was eight I was like, "OK, it’s just a little problem, I got this." I leaned on my parents a lot, I figured it out, I got a pump, figured out some new ways to take care of myself. When I was about 10 or 11 I was like “OK, this isn’t cool anymore, I don’t like it. I wanna get rid of it. This is a problem, why can’t I fix it? Why does this happen to me?” I started to hate God, a whole lot. I blamed him for everything wrong that happened in my life, which obviously is not a good way to live with a disease. I just got really, really angry and really distraught and lost and I hated everything, probably until I was about 16. Well, when I was 14 I “decided” I didn’t have diabetes anymore, I had an OmniPod, a pump without tubing, and so I could have my daily insulin without taking insulin for carbs or sugar and just go on through my day and forget I had diabetes. I did that for about six months until my doctor threatened to take me off the pump and put me in the hospital because my blood sugar was about 250, which starts leading towards kidney failure. That conversation made me wake up and realize this isn’t the only way to live with this, you can choose a different way to live with this. When I was 16 I decided to live with this as a position to share; I was saved at 16 and I realized that God didn’t just give me this disease so my life was horrible, he gave it to me so I had more of a position for open dialog [with people]. And I can eat what I want, I can do what I want, I just have to do it in a different way. Making that switch in your mind makes the disease a whole lot easier to live with.

Jean, 54: Going back to Grad School

Getting my Master’s degree has always been on my back-burner, it’s always been on my to-do list. I really wanted to wait until [Rachel and Robyn] were old enough; it was really hard to be in school when [they] were little, and I wanted to be the mom that did stuff. I didn’t want to be working full time and take away from [them]. I had just been doing a lot of praying over the past six-nine months. As I would drive to work I would just say, “let me do what you want me to be, and guide me where you want me to go, and if there’s a job you want me to have just open the door to make it happen.” Nothing was really happening but then I really just felt like God was saying to me that it was time to go back to school. I was thinking, “yeah, I don’t know about that. It’s just a huge time commitment and financial burden.” Then I tossed around if I wanted to be a Nurse Practitioner or do I want to be an Educator for a really long time. This past winter when I had people that I was orienting at work I just realized how much I really liked doing that. I came home and said to [Bob], “I think I want to do education.” And he said, “Well, why don’t you start looking into that?” I looked at Indiana Weslyan and Ohio University; and one day on Facebook I looked over on the sidebar and see “Want to be a nurse educator? Click here for government loans”. It was talking about the Nurse Educator Loan and how nursing schools are in dire need of faculty. I thought “well, that’s kinda funny.” So I contacted Indiana Weslyan and asked if they had the Nurse Educator Loan and they said they did, but all the money was spent for the next year, and they weren’t sure if they would get another grant. So, then I called Ohio University and they had never heard of the loan. I looked online and Xavier didn’t have it, University of Cincinnati didn’t have it either. Bob and I figured we would just have to suck it up and take out loans. Fast forward to mid May, and that’s when [Rachel] said, “well, Samford has an online nurse educator program.” I looked at it online and thought it seemed do-able, and they had the Nurse Faculty Loan money. I had just applied and Samford got 1.7 Million dollars in Nurse Faculty Loan grant. Everything just fell into place to go to Samford [with the Nurse Faculty Loan] and I just felt like it was God-driven. It’s been amazing to me how faithful God is. There were just too many coincidences for it just to be coincidence. It’s definitely God-driven.

These two people faced tough crossroads in their life, but were able to walk through them, and come out better on the other side. There’s always a choice to make when faced with difficult decisions, we can either drag our heels and have a bad attitude, or we can look at in in a positive manner, and know that everything will be OK on the other side.

Cover Image Credit: Crossroads Bible Church

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Your Guide To End-Of-Life Care

A guide to help you with end-of-life decisions.

So recently, I was in a situation where end of life care needed to be discussed, and decided on. I had assumed that most people are aware of the options that you have. But recently, I was proved wrong. Working in healthcare, you have to advocate, a lot. Not just for your patient, but sometimes for your own family.

The common terms most people have heard of are DNR (do not resuscitate), DNI (do not intubate), and hospice and palliative care.

When you sign a DNR, you are making it known that you do not wish to be resuscitated if your heart should stop, or if you stop breathing. You do not want compressions, or medications that can be used to restart your heart or your breathing.

When you sign a DNI, you are making it known you do not want to be intubated should you stop breathing. You do not want a tube to push air in to your lungs to keep you alive.

When you request hospice and palliative care, you may not actually be near end of life. Many people with chronic pain, or cancer, choose hospice and palliative care for pain management. Of course hospice does also help with end of life care.

But not many people are aware of CMO (comfort measures only), or in Massachusetts, a MOLST (Massachusetts Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment).

Comfort measures only or CMO is for people who are close to dying. It means if you are intubated, the tube keeping you breathing is alive, the fluids you are being given are stopped, typically a catheter is put in, but only for comfort, and main goal is to only keep you comfortable. Most comfort measure only patients are on pain medication, and will slip away with the next 72 hours. It’s not easy to see, but when there is nothing more that can be done for you, I consider it to be the best choice.

A MOLST is a piece of paper that asks you questions on if you’d like to be intubated, have a feeding tube, and a few other questions. It is on a hot pink piece of paper that all medical personnel know to look for. The MOLST is honored in all Massachusetts medical facilities, and should be honored if you travel.

So what’s the difference between a DNR/DNI and being comfort measures only?

Well, DNR/DNI is for people who do not wish to have CPR, be shocked, or intubated should they stop breathing or their heart stop, they will die. Comfort measures only, is for people who are intubated, and there’s nothing more medicine can do for them. An example of comfort measures only is a person that had a massive brain bleed and has no brain activity, at family request, the person was extubated and placed in pain medication to remain comfortable.

So what’s the difference between hospice and comfort measures only?

Recently, a family member of mine was on a ventilator and there was nothing more that could be done for her. If my family decided hospice, my family member would have stayed intubated and been kept alive until her heart stopped. Comfort measures only allowed us to have her taken off the ventilator, given pain medication, and let her pass away comfortably and quickly. Hospice would have prolonged the inevitable, but your doctor would be able to advise you better on which to choose.

So how do I decide?

Obviously this is not meant in any way to help you make a decision. Please speak to your primary care doctor for decisions related to any life sustaining treatment, or end of life care. They can educate you better with a more specific plan related to your medical conditions. The purpose of this was to educate people that there are more options for you.

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