Roller Coaster

It was a definite hill and valley day. The transitions between were rapid causing the roller coaster ride feeling- the adrenaline and excitement of the high and deep pitted nausea with the sudden dips.

This morning as I pulled into work I heard my email notification on my phone. After parking I glanced down and noticed there was an email from the publisher to whom I had submitted some of my work back in April.

Anxiously, I read the email which informed me the 3 short stories and 4 poems I had submitted were all accepted for publication in an upcoming anthology. I was thrilled! This propels me forward as a writer and closer to a major life goal.

Elated, but with much to do I dove into work with another full schedule of patients due to COVID.

Later that morning, I would have a meeting with the interdisciplinary team at Dad’s skilled nursing facility to get an update on his progess. I was hoping not only to learn of his progess, but to get insight into how long they think he will remain in their care. We still had to figure out where he would be discharged and in order to plan for that knowing his medical needs was crucial.

During the meeting I learned Dad’s mobility and functional status with updates from physical and speech therapy. Unfortunately, however, I did not get any light shed on an estimated discharge day. They essentially repeated insurance dictates how long they will pay based upon his skilled nursing need and once they choose to discontinue coverage we have three days. 3 days! That is not enough time to plan anything like this.

My siblings and I had not reached a decision because we did not know what care Dad would need, what all of our options were, the cost of each option, the resources available, and we were also balancing all of our other life demands. This is uncharted waters. Yes, I am a healthcare provider, however, I don’t deal with insurance or financial aspects (thank God). I just take care of people. So as the eldest sibling I would lead the charge and yet the reality was I was fumbling blindly in the dark through a room none of us wanted to be in, especially Dad.

My stomach was as if I had circus monkeys wrecking a tent. It was a quick drop to a low spot on this ride. My head spinning, I had to clutch onto reason. I knew the harsh reality is we needed a discharge plan ASAP. I did not know where to begin. In the valley of uncertainty, fear, and deep concern for my father I was overwhelmed by the weight of it all. I wanted to scream, cry, run and hide all at the same time.

I pressed on.

The theme of my 3 short stories that I submitted were this: God’s provision in an unexpected family tragedy, God’s mercy and grace has no boundaries,  God’s presence and love reflected in caregiving. Those stories are inspired by events of my life  6 years ago and greater. I have run through those stories over and over since submitting them. As an aspiring author, one hopes to have work that not only reaches an audience, but to also know their work is really good enough to have an impact and meaning. So as I currently recalled each story in the back and forth thoughts in my mind, I decided to stay there for a minute. In the space where the themes of these stories lived in my mind I remembered the family tragedy and God making his presence undeniably known through each step. I dwelt on God’s provision, mercy, and grace illustrated in each of these works. There that is where I needed to rest my mind for just a bit.

Reminded of God’s faithfulness and renewed with resolve I pushed on.
Now the new challenge is navigating uncharted waters of finding long term care for Dad because of his limitations after the stroke leaves him requiring complex medical care and constant supervision. His needs are great. Our financial resources are limited. But I press on with hope because of our loving, merciful, all powerful, and infinitely resourceful God. I also hang on with hope to the truth that as much we love Daddy, God loves him even more.

I am your God and will take care of you until you are old and your hair is gray. I made you and will care for you; I will give you help and rescue you.

Isaiah 46:4

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