On a Mission Summer Vol 2 Issue 1

by DARLENE FRANKLIN Resisting Conflict Life inside the nursing home gives me daily opportunity for conflict. It often leaves me spout- ing like someone under arrest, feeling anxious, afraid, and helpless. I struggle to find the correct response when my inner child screams for fair- ness and justice. The needs are real, but ranting and pouting only push any possible resolution further away. A four-day holiday weekend with skeleton staff provided plenty of fodder for a storm. Thank God, I not only survived, but thrived. I’ve been working with a therapist, learning skills on how to redirect my thoughts and change my behavior. I’ve applied the serenity prayer. God gives me wisdom to accept what I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. I’m making progress, Here are examples of those principles at work: Empathy instead of attack My med aide brought my 8 o’clock medicines at 11 a.m. I started to complain. She told me a fam- ily member had gone to jail. Instead of criticizing her, I prayed for her. Thanks instead of criticism My aide and I had mixed signals about my bed- time. She came in an hour later than I expected. I realized I had misunderstood, and thanked her. Look for the good Instead of finding fault (there’s plenty), I look for things that my aides do well, such as fixing my hair. Thanking them for doing things as I like them improves my attitude. Accept what I can ’ t change Over Christmas, I was given half the conti- nence supplies I needed for four days. The man with the key to the supply room was gone. I brought up the problem on Friday and Satur- day. After that, I accepted the situation in peace. If the staff’s lack of planning ahead created an issue later, they would be the ones looking for a solution. Do what I can Most of the conflicts over Christmas weekend were relatively unimportant. One had to be addressed: my call light went unanswered for six hours. When I couldn’t get the shift nurse to listen, I followed through with the Director of Nursing. Cultivate wisdom to know the difference. How do I decide when to fight for something and when to let it go? Where do I draw the line between my needs vs. others, or unpredictable timetable vs. the need to schedule firm phone ap- pointments? It’s not always easy, but with God’s help, I’m learning how. I had ordered glasses in November. In Decem- ber, the home’s social worker told me I couldn’t get glasses because I had received a new pair in July. I told her I hadn’t. After the new year I was going to ask for the prescription to get a pair on my own. I’m glad I waited—she brought me the new lenses a few days before Christmas. With practice, and by God’s grace, we can learn how to avoid conflict before it escalates. Best-selling hybrid author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She published her fiftieth book, Mermaid’s Song, in July 2017, and has contributed to more than thirty nonfiction titles. Her column, “The View Through my Door,” appears monthly in two national venues and three regional. You can find Drlene online elsewhere at http://darlenefranklinwrites.com/ andhttps://www.facebook.com/Poet.Darlene.Franklin/ 38 | SUMMER 2018 ON A MISSION