God, Do I Trust That You Have Enough For Me?

God, do I trust that You have enough for me?

You tell me that You are my Provider. That You and You alone supply all my needs and give me abundantly more than I can ask for or imagine.

So I should seriously ask myself.

Do I have scarcity mentality?

Am I constantly striving to do more and accumulate more because I am afraid it won’t be enough? Do I try to fill every minute of my day with checkmarks on my To Do list? Do I ignore Your whispers to be still and spend time in Your presence because I am more concerned about accomplishing worldly things?

Am I worrying about money because I am afraid of getting behind on bills or not having enough to do the things I want or buy the things I think I need? Do I push aside Your reminder that you clothe the flowers and make sure the birds are fed, so how much more will you clothe and feed me?

Do I compare my talents to others, trying to make myself look better, work harder, do more, and tear down the work that they do because I feel like there is not enough success for all of us?

God, let my goal be to adopt abundance mentality.

Let me be reminded that You have good for me. That I should never want to take what You have for someone else because You have given me so much.

Let me grateful.

Speak Your truth over me. That You have given me a divine purpose. That there is enough time in the day to do exactly what You want me to do. That Your will is bigger and better than my plans.

God, help me realize that you have given me enough. More than enough.

A life of abundance.

Matthew 6:26. “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”

Philippians 4:19. “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Matthew 6:31-33. “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Jeremiah 20: 11. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Ephesians 3:20. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,”

Faith in the Mess by Melissa Neeb

God is Calling. It is Time to Go.

I hear God calling.

It is always different.

It’s just a whisper sometimes. Or a word placed on my heart with surgical precision. A persistent feeling in a dream. A melody on repeat in my brain. A compass dropped in my lap.

He whispers of a grace and abundance I don’t deserve.

But God never stutters.

And He is often unconventional.

Answering my prayers in ways I didn’t expect. In ways my mind can’t comprehend. Strands floating through time that are imperceptible to me. Appointments cemented.

Sometimes He puts a road block directly in front of what I want. A boldly painted “No Trespass” sign. A trip wire. A land mine. A reverberating no.

Every once in a while He shouts, a foundation-cracking earthquake that snatches my feet out from under me, leaving me shattered in my own rubble.

It is then that He speaks to me soul, a reminder that it is only He that can blow the dust off and bring these dry bones to life.

I hear God calling my name, speaking of intricate plans and anointings that were designed long before I took my first breath.

He is beckoning me. His voice is trilling birdsong. Tsunami waves plummeting me to the depths. Butterfly wings kissing my cheek. Raindrops sliding down apricot rose petals.

His voice crashes over my banks; His spirit spills and careens out of my cells at breakneck pace.

He drops love letters everywhere, messages scrawled in black Indian ink on maps of worlds I didn’t know existed.

These miracles I can’t deny.

I am listening. I can’t ignore it.

God is calling and I must go.

Faith in the Mess – Melissa Neeb, Writer

Who Am I in the Mess?

When things get messy, as they so very often do, who am I?

What are my defense mechanisms?

What do I tend to do?

Ask yourself these questions and answer honestly.

Do I yell or swear? Cry? Run? Avoid? Shut down? Lash out? Dive into a bad habit such as drinking more or over-eating? Spend money recklessly? Sleep all day?

Do I take it out on those around me?

Recognizing these tendencies is the path to growth. The path to change. The path to healing.

My response to stress, confrontation, or pain is flight. I will try to get away from it as fast as I can. I will avoid and hide.

Knowing this about myself doesn’t make it easier to make a different choice in those difficult life situations. It is hard, brutally so, to swim against my natural current and face the situation head on.

It is a weakness of mine.

It doesn’t matter what your defense mechanism is–what negative response you have.

We have a God who says that His power is made perfect in our weakness.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthian 9-10

So who are you in the mess?

When a loved one dies.

When you’re in a decades-long argument with your spouse.

When your child needs a mental health diagnosis.

When a pet gets sick.

When you are waiting for test results.

When you lose a job.

When you’re flat broke and don’t know where the next mortgage payment is going to come from.

When your best friend moves away.

When someone lies about you to others.

When a pandemic hits.

When you are having a panic attack.

When the dishwasher breaks.

When your car won’t start.

When your heart is broken.

When you are in severe emotional or physical pain.

Who are you?

We all have things–moments, heartache, crises–that bring us to our knees. To be human is to suffer. We cannot escape it, no matter how hard we try. But we have a way through.

God’s powerful, life-changing comfort is waiting. His arms are wide open.

He says that His power is made perfect in our weakness.

He turns us around. He changes our hearts and moves mountains in our minds.

Our weakness doesn’t limit God. It proves His might and His perfect timing!

God is doing a thing in you. Let Him work.

Let Him soften your anger and flood you with His forgiveness, so that you can be a vessel of those things for someone else.

In the middle of the mess, little or big, we need to go to Him.

His grace is sufficient for me.

And it is deep and long and wide enough to cover you, too.

Faith in the Mess by Melissa Neeb

Friend, Press into the Pain

I woke up with a nasty headache. The kind that originates from a pulled neck muscle overnight and claws its way slowly up behind my eyeball.

I tried to be nice to it, gentle, so that it would let loose, but ibuprofen, an ice-pack, and a scorching soak in the tub did little to relieve my agony.

The only thing that seemed to help was pressing and working the muscle as hard as I could, kneading the pain point back and forth between my fingers. It was not a one-and-done massage either. I had to keep repeating this action until my fingers cramped and my nerve endings could hardly take it anymore.

Pressing into the pain was not relaxing or enjoyable. It hurt.

But it reminded me of something.

How often there is emotional pain in my life that I need to press into in order to get relief. Ignoring it doesn’t work. Neither does bubble-wrapping it and hiding it in a dark box somewhere.

Denial is really just prolonged, chronic disillusion that festers and rots my insides. Mentally and physically. There is no salvation in that.

I only get relief from my emotional pain when I peel away the protective layers over it, grip it, examine it, and even press on it.

It hurts. It is excruciating actually. The acute pain leaves no more room for denial.

I have encountered many emotional injuries along my life’s path that I tried to ignore, until the fractures were so compounded that I didn’t know where the first originated.

I was just a walking pile of brokenness.

I had to stop walking. Stop ignoring.

Stop bubble-wrapping the pain and deal with it.

Friends, I wish I could tell you that pressing on the pain brings quick relief. It doesn’t. It takes much kneading, so much so that your soul will be bruised and your cries will have no more tears to expel.

But oh my goodness, it will be worth it.

Once you’ve walked through that pain, once you’ve stared long and hard at it, once you’ve found the source and pressed on it with as much force as you can muster, you will ever so slowly begin to heal.

That is the place redemption is found.

One day you will look back on it and that pain you ignored for so long, well, that pain will make you smile.

Because that will be the thing that ultimately leads to your transformation.

A changed life.

-MELISSA NEEB

-Faith in the Mess by Melissa Neeb

Thank you for reading! For more, follow along on social media!

FB: Faith in the Mess – Melissa Neeb, Writer

IG: @faithinthemessbymelissaneeb

Accepting Jesus May Be Easier Than Accepting Ourselves

I accepted Jesus into my heart at a very young age. I knew I was precious to Him and always had a seat at His table as His beloved child and daughter. The unconditional love and forgiveness and grace of God was a gift I could easily accept.

What took much longer to accept, decades perhaps, was myself.

I couldn’t accept my fearfulness. My over-sensitivity. How easily I was embarrassed and cried.

I couldn’t accept my shyness, or my depression and anxiety, or my body.

I couldn’t accept my inability to put on weight, or my awkwardness around guys, or my terror of public speaking.

I couldn’t accept my indecision, my passivity, or my lack of boundaries.

I couldn’t accept that the traumas I had endured had permanently left scars and changed me.

Decades after accepting Jesus into my heart, I was still having a difficult time accepting myself and all my obvious (to me) flaws. I floundered and failed, doubted and rebeled until I reached the very end of myself.

That is when God took over.

He whispered into the recesses of my desensitized heart until I started to feel Him working again and transforming me into who He created me to be. He kept working, challenging my perceptions, and reminding me who HE said I was.

I started repeating His promises to myself all day long. That I am the daughter of the King. That I was loved into being. That Jesus left the 99 to chase down and bring me back into His strong arms. That I was created with a purpose, with a divine calling on my life.

I had to learn how to accept myself and let Him use my weakness to showcase His power.

Friend, if you are unable to accept yourself, please meditate on these affirmations. Say them out loud. Write them down. Put them on your mirror. Insert your name into these verses. Start believing it.

I AM CHOSEN.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

GOD COVERS ME WITH HIS SHELTER AND PROTECTION.

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

Psalm 91:4 (NLT)

I AM WONDERFULLY MADE.

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.

Psalm 139:14 (NKJV)

GOD IS WORKING IT OUT FOR MY GOOD.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

GOD IS FOR ME.

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

RomanS 8:31 (NLT)

Let me remind you, precious one, of this truth. If you can accept Jesus into your heart, if you can accept Him as your Savior and Protector and Healer and Friend, if you can accept His boundless grace and mercy, then surely you can accept the being that was created in the image of God, whose body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is beloved beyond measure.

Yourself.

-Faith in the Mess by Melissa Neeb

An Unexpected Angel

The moment I walked through the double doors of a local church for my first Celebrate Recovery meeting, I was greeted by an angel.

Not a wispy, transparent one. An angel in the flesh.

She smiled huge and squeezed my neck in a giant hug, like we were long-lost best friends. I felt seen, welcomed, instantly loved. I was tethered to her warmth and authenticity, bound to her in some inexplicable, anointed way.

God aligned our lives perfectly. We met at the exact point in time that He designed: the exact century, decade, year, minute, and moment that He needed to fulfill His purpose.

And to fill a deep well in me that was achingly dry.

She showed me how to be emotionally present, how to work through past trauma with grace and forgiveness, how to be strong at my weakest points, how to always show up, how to truly listen to people’s pain and give freely of myself.

She showed up for me in a thousand ways, sporting her “Y’all Need Jesus” shirt and a grin that could melt the Arctic. She radiated light from every pore.

No wonder she was my angel.

God had a purpose for us; plans we never could’ve concocted in our wildest dreams. Plans that a pandemic and a move to another state couldn’t interrupt. The miles couldn’t dislodge us, wouldn’t break our soul connection.

God’s plans and partnerships cannot be thwarted. He is so good.

I didn’t expect to walk into that church and find a living, breathing angel. Sometimes God answers our prayers bigger and bolder than we even dare to ask. He sure did for me that day.

Even as we are separated physically, my angel Krista is never far from me.

Because the best angels are always

only a heart whisper away.

Melissa neeb

Follow more from Melissa Neeb on…

Facebook: Faith in the Mess – Melissa Neeb, Writer

Instagram: @faithinthemessbymelissneeb

Ghosts of New Year’s Past

It used to be so different.

My two best friends and I would spend hours getting ready. We shimmied into barely-there sequined tops and sprayed ourselves with glitter from an aerosol can. As we strapped on our high heels that would have our feet screaming by the end of the night, Missy Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On” was blaring on the radio.

We headed out into the MN cold, leaving our coats in the car, shuffling as swiftly as we could along the glassy sidewalks. We were relieved to dart inside the bellowing warmth of the bars. We precariously teeter-tottered between shivering cold and red-faced sweaty for the rest of the night.

We waited in line for drinks. Waited in line for the bathroom. Waiedt for a pool table. Waited for a regular table. Waited for midnight.

By the stroke of midnight, many of us couples would be arguing, fueled by tequila shots and carousel rounds of jealousy. It always ended the same. Our wide, lipsticked grins and raucous antics of 10 pm were vignetted with the arguments and turmoil that was inevitable for the start of the new year. A fistful of drinks always did that.

The extremes of those nights were evident beneath the layers of makeup and wild camera poses. The pain rippled silently, powerfully, under the surface.

Those drunken New Years are held in stark contrast against the easy smiles we wore in the years following both my husband and I getting sober. There is a softness to our later grins. They are simplified. Laid gently across our face by the certainty of the knowledge that there will be no fights later–no drama, no tears.

Just a good night’s sleep and no hangover in the morning.

Now that’s a good NEW year.

-Melissa Neeb

My Word of the Year: 2021

I spent too many years being afraid. Afraid to break out the box others had put me in. Afraid to dream big. Afraid to be bold. Afraid to say what I wanted. Afraid to be who I was at my core and stop fighting against the steady current of other people’s expectations and limitations for me.

No more.

No more making myself small to fit inside someone else’s idea of who I should be. No more asking permission. No more whispering small, timid prayers in the quiet recesses of my mind.

I will ask God for the impossible.

I will hustle and sweat and burn as brightly as I can.

I will throw open the door of welcome for things outside of my comfort zone .

I will allow God to cast away the boulders in my path instead of shrugging in resignation and building a house behind them. They will not obscure my view of the summit.

I will get there. THIS mountaintop is mine.

I will not apologize for wanting what I want. I will not extinguish my yearnings with a ready excuse. I will not put my hand over my own mouth.

Today I align myself with God’s TRUE purpose for my life, confident that with Him guiding my steps, I cannot fall.

I will not fail.

This year, I will be bold. Persistent. Dogged. Fierce. Vulnerable. Raw.

My Word of the Year:

UNAFRAID

-Melissa Neeb

Faith in the Mess

For more, follow me on social media!

Facebook: Faith in the Mess – Melissa Neeb, Writer

Instagram: @faith_in_the_mess

The Importance of Cultivating Daily Rituals with Your Spouse

Every day at 3 pm, my grandparents had a date. They sat down at their white formica table with their glass bowls and ate ice cream with homemade chocolate syrup together.

It dawns on me.

The importance of a daily ritual with my spouse.

Over the years we’ve had our own rituals. Drinking coffee together in the morning and snuggling on the couch at the end of the day watching crime documentaries are several current rituals. Over the years, they’ve ebbed, flowed, and morphed.

Years ago, when my husband first got sober, we’d buy countless cartons of ice cream and eat several scoops in bed every night.

We went through a phase of telling each other 5 things we loved about the other every day.

For a while we took turns reading chapters of the Bible to each other.

After we got a dog, we were religious about going for a walk every day together (except when it was wickedly Minnesota cold).

A small ritual that has withstood the test of time is daily intentional touches. A passing kiss. A long embrace. Hand holding. A butt slap. A back tickle. A finger-comb through the hair. A foot rub.

There isn’t a day that goes by without some form of touch.

Another ritual is just being around each other as much as we can. When we are home, we follow each other around. We are never in separate rooms for long. When one goes to run errands, stop to get milk, go grocery-shopping, or pick up the kids, the other goes with. It is almost unspeakable for one of us to go someone alone.

It just so happens we not only love each other; we really, genuinely like being around each other.

-Melissa Neeb

He is my counter-weight, my ying, my gravitational pull. My home isn’t a place; it’s him.

These rituals we share might not change the world. But they fortify us. When our marriage is strong, those in our orbit can’t help but be affected.

So I guess we really are changing our little corner of the world after all.

-Melissa Neeb

Faith in the Mess by Melissa Neeb

READ MORE…

Southern Minnesota Nurses Share Their Personal Thoughts and Experiences as Covid-19 Rages

Photo credit: Melissa Neeb

With staggering Covid-19 case numbers, hospitals at or near capacity, and death rates climbing, one almost becomes desensitized to the news.

Unless you experience it firsthand.

There is no more riveting tale than the one going on close to home, in our own southern Minnesota communities. The nurses who are in the health care facilities, in the buildings and in the rooms, give testimony that is impossible to refute.

The stories they tell are both compelling and alarming. Their pleas desperate. Their exhaustion palpable.

They speak candidly about the fight they face with Covid-19 every day at work and in their personal lives. Their tones frank, their experiences dire.

Their voices demand to be heard.

***Disclaimer: These amazing nurses wish to remain anonymous. They don’t work together or even know each other. They were free to share whatever details they wanted. Their opinions and experiences are uniquely and entirely their own.

Here are their stories.

Nurse A:

We’re tired. We’re stressed. We’re beyond exhausted and the mental toll this is taking on us, especially those working in the ICUs and other front lines, is horrendous. And having to listen to friends and family who come up with every excuse in the world why they shouldn’t have to wear a mask, much less follow any other measures, is just the straw that’s breaking our backs. The measures aren’t going to stop the spread- but they might help us slow it down enough to keep us from being overwhelmed. If ‘every life matters’, then wear a mask, wash your hands, and stop social gathering.

I want to see my family, too. I want to have holidays with my whole family. I’m missing out on all that and am just as sad about it. But if it will keep JUST ONE PERSON from the suffering I’ve seen in the hospital, I will do it.

Health care workers are NOT your first line of defense. We are your LAST. The community is your first line, and that has failed. If we can regroup and recover our frontline defense in the community, then the last line of defense in the hospitals (your doctors, nurses, nurse aides, pharmacists, cleaning services, etc) might have a fighting chance.

So please, stand strong on the front lines. Your health care team on the last line begs you.

Nurse B:

There’s so much I could say…to be honest, I’m trying really hard to stay positive and optimistic through all of this. Sometimes it’s really hard with the constant changes.

The beginning of all this was terrifying because I didn’t want to bring any germs home to my kids or loved ones. Then right when I felt confident in our control with Covid, all hell broke loose. Inpatient numbers more than doubled, staff continue to fall ill, and they’re shifting nurses from the clinic into the hospital to help with nursing needs. They’re even asking retired nurses to come back. They’re closing OR’s & delaying elective surgeries again because we don’t have beds post-op.

It is so frustrating that people continue to belittle the seriousness of the situation we’re living in. The pandemic is real and it’s hitting us healthcare workers hard. I might not be in the front lines taking care of Covid patients on the floor but I am working diligently every day to make sure those numbers decrease. I wish the community would work just as hard to protect themselves and us by simply following the rules and recommendations put in place.

Nurse C:

2020 was my first full year as a new LPN. To say the least, it was not at all what I was expecting.

I’ve witnessed multiple families have conversations with their loved ones in nursing homes about changing their code status and rewriting what their final wishes would be. Residents have BEGGED and pleaded to me that they are ready to go to Heaven more than ever because the world has turned upside down and truly what is the point, if they can’t see their loved ones?

If residents aren’t dying from Covid-19 itself, or Covid-related conditions, they are dying of loneliness.

My grandma back in Iowa has recently had to stay in the hospital for 3 days due to heart complications; I wasn’t allowed to see her. She has been all alone in her apartment for the past 8 months and her life truly depends on family and quality time with loved ones.

I’ve seen a huge disconnect from her. All she has is technology and that has always been a struggle for her to figure out. Thankfully, family always popped in to show her how to work her iPad or fix her cell phone but now she has to figure it out on her own. She doesn’t sound the same on the phone; she’s lonely and would do just about anything to be sitting next to someone, drinking tea and NOT talking about the pandemic or politics.

It’s a lonely world for lots of us but when your last remaining years are filled with isolation and fear, it sure makes you question so many things. All I keep saying is, “It’s not fair.” To any generation. The price I would pay to be holding her hand again and having a cup of tea, talking about how crazy dark it is at 4 p.m, and then laughing because we say that every year.

During nursing school, my grandma would give me a kiss on each cheek and promise me that everything was going to be all right. What I would truly give to have those 2 kisses right now.

In the clinic, I have to disappointment families daily when we have a new rule now being implemented. Or watch parents yell back and forth when I have to tell them only one parent can be allowed in their kids’ appointment.

I’ve also been asking to cross-train in outpatient mental health due to rapid increase of new patients or increased frequency of visits by current patients.

At my one job, it’s almost “frowned upon” to get tested. It could almost feel threatening to get tested without at least 3 symptoms and the symptoms lasting longer than 5 days. Zero screening done.

My other job doesn’t require testing quite YET. Daily screening with vitals being taken and recorded. Zero staff with reported or positive tests nor residents. They have access to rapid testing, if needed. They have about 3 different “charts” to follow in case a staff member, resident, or a high-risk exposure happens.

It’s usually a daily changing situation and truly never know what you’re about to walk in to. Hospital employees get turned away from getting tested on a regular basis yet are the ones with firsthand exposure to all age groups.

I average about 24 med passes in 8 hours and could point out and tell you exactly the medication and dose of each resident 100 times by heart. Since March, those medications have changed drastically. Extreme increase in anti-depressants and a lot of new anti-anxiety prescriptions.

We are tired. So tired.

Nurse D:

To read her entire account, click here.

Excerpt:

It was a Friday afternoon when I got a text message from one of my management members saying that they went in to get tested due to having some mild flu symptoms and a free test was conducted in their area that particular day. Thinking nothing of it, I went on with my evening; it’s flu season, it probably is nothing.

Oh boy, was I wrong.

She tested positive. Because of the close work-relationship that management has in our facility while at work and privately, all of us had to go into quarantine and get tested that following Monday. Each of us got a different test: one had the saliva test, one got the mid-nasal, and one got the throat swab. Now the waiting began.

We were all convinced that we were positive due to the fact that we had just spent the last 3 days in close contact. We went out together to a meeting, spent lunch hours together, had a zoom meeting, and even went to purchase Christmas decorations for our facility.

I’m not going to lie, a lot of scenarios went through my head but my main concern was my family:

What if, after all these months of training and preparing, I brought it home to my family. What if my babies got sick? What about my husband? He has underlining health conditions and I could be the reason for him to get severely sick.

Believe me when I say that that night I said a very long prayer and didn’t sleep for a few nights until I finally got my test results…NEGATIVE…all 3 of us!!! YAHHH

Per CDC and MDH guidelines, because we were in contact with a confirmed Covid-19 positive person and we didn’t have any symptoms, we had to stay out for 14 days. I drove my daughter to my workplace, gave her my keys, and told her to get me the most important folders, files, calendars, and other necessities for me to keep doing my job remotely.

Now the mandatory testing for our residents and staff started:

We had a runny nose here and there, but again, it’s October and we just went from wearing t-shirts to having a 4-foot snow blizzard in one day. We are fine: after all, we had been following every single guideline for months and my girls were pros by now.

Oh boy, was I wrong again.

First round of testing and my care providers and residents tested positive one by one. Care providers had to stay home and positive residents had to go to full quarantine in their rooms. 2 week notices started to get placed on my desk.

Care providers told me that they wouldn’t show up for their shift because they were afraid to bring it home. We were down to 5 care providers and 3 of them where high schoolers who only worked part-time.

Parents started pulling their children out of fear of them getting sick. We didn’t have enough care providers left to cover all our shifts, so the decision was made to pull management out of quarantine so that we could work the floor.

Head count: 4 management, 2 care providers, and only 2 people for the kitchen were left with about 20 Covid-positive residents.

The next 10 days were the hardest and longest days that I had to endure since my service time. I decided to pack a suitcase because I knew I wouldn’t be going home for quite a while.

A: It wasn’t logical to drive back and forth just for a few hours that I may get a break and B: I didn’t want to take a chance of infecting my family.

We worked between 15 to 18 hours each day, trying to catch a quick snooze on blown-up air mattresses that we brought in and set up in our movie theater. We were eating a bunch of junk food while running up and down the hallway answering pages from residents who were running a temperature, had diarrhea, or were coughing so hard that they couldn’t catch their breath or were throwing up.

When I tell you that our Crocs didn’t have a profile left after these 10 days, I’m not over exaggerating. Around day #4, we noticed residents dropping in their O2. We normally would like to see a person’s O2 in the mid to upper 90’s if they don’t have underlining health conditions such as COPD.

We had residents complaining of shortness of breath left and right with an O2 in the mid 80’s. We were running to get oxygen tanks and hook up our residents so they could receive some sort of comfort. Ambulances were called because our residents where laughing one minute and dropping in their vitals the next and begging us for air.

It was a nightmare and not the even the best training or PPE could ever prepare you for this. Ambulances brought our residents back due to their age and the underlining health conditions they had.

Plain and simple, the hospital needed beds for people that had a chance of recovery.

We went from being a healthy facility with 28 residents and 25 care providers to 25 residents testing positive, 5 of them getting put on hospice, and about 8 bodies to work and keep the facility running, all within a few days.

If you think it couldn’t get any worse, think again…

We lost 4 of our residents in a matter of 3 days!!!!

 All of our kitchen staff had to go into quarantine due to a positive test and then we had to run it all with 6 people. Mind you, on a normal day we have 3 shifts running with approximately 10 care providers, 3 kitchen staff, with maintenance and management also in the building.

When we didn’t cover the floor we spend our time in the kitchen preparing soups/salads/hot dishes or sandwiches for our residents, while in the back of my mind I was thinking about my family and how much I missed them.

While all this was going on, we also had to figure out how to utilize the plans that the CDC and MDH had in place for when a facility has an outbreak. Needless to say, their plan looked better on paper then in reality.

You would have thought that when you are giving the recommended agencies a call, you would tell them what you needed and help will be on its way: be it temporary care providers or PPE supplies.

Oh boy, was I proven wrong again.

We had to fill out a form to receive a form that needed approval first to receive yet another form that then had to be forwarded for a signature to be posted for approval.

In other words: Have fun figuring it out while we tell you all the things that you may or may not be doing wrong and then on top of that, threatening you with a visit from state to look in to your facility and your policies to see where you failed.

It’s been a very long and exhausting experience and even though we are almost done with our infection period there is still no end in sight.

My heart is heavy for the residents and families we lost and I’m still checking anxiously on my residents every day to make sure nobody else passed away from this terrible virus. We are slowly having our care providers return to work and hopefully can return to a “normal” Covid-19 free future!                   

Nurse E:

I watched Tim Walz’ press conference on Wednesday, November 18th and felt the emotions pour out of him as he spoke. The feelings of: compassion- that all Minnesotan lives matter; respect- understanding that everyone has their own perspectives and beliefs in regards to politics in general, and more specifically Covid-19; exhaustion- feeling defeated as Minnesotans continue to take a stance against the recommendations, no matter the avenues his team works to approach them from; and so many more.

I watched, knowing that I had known him on a personal level, and now in a respected elected position. I do not consistently stand on the same political side that Tim and his Democratic counterparts do, but in this moment of desperation and despair, it should not matter, and it does not for me. I watch him and feel his struggles and know he cares for each one of us Minnesotans alike, no matter their level of support for his position.

Following Tim Walz’ press conference, I saw varying responses within the individuals who are “friends” within social media, I saw individuals referring to Tim as ‘the dictator,’ sharing feelings of having their rights taken away, as well as comments from individuals asking why additional clinics/hospitals weren’t being built and why we weren’t providing preventative care/supplements to individuals rather than restricting them.

I also saw many of my fellow healthcare workers and public servants sharing their adoration and support for the plans that have been put into place and encouraging one another to power through the next four weeks in order to assure we make it out on the other side.

While I am a firm believer in preventative medicine and the need to educate and empower individuals to take care of the personal health proactively, in the midst of a global pandemic, when our society is trying to survive and make it to the next day, the government is unable to direct funds toward these things.

Nurses are exhausted, they are putting in long shifts caring for individuals gasping for breath, trying to hold on for another day, in hopes that tomorrow will be better. Nurses are working extended shifts or additional overtime shifts to cover for their peers who unfortunately contracted Covid-19, have been exposed or have another ailment that takes them away from work for a shift.

Due to the staffing constraints and the additional needs within the hospitals, we are facing shortages of resources within the hospital walls, and that is not a political exaggeration to increase the community’s cooperation, this is a fact.

It is extremely difficult for me to understand how people can look at Covid-19 and make it a political battle at this time. As Minnesotans we know that the winter months are cold and flu season for us, even prior to Covid-19, mostly due to the decreased activity and outdoor time in addition to the increased hours indoors with exposure to one another’s germs. Unfortunately, the risks of illness have only magnified with the addition of Covid-19 this year.

As a nurse, it is my job to chart and document clinical data (truths) and refrain from including opinions, only observable data, describing it in understandable terms, and I have no reason to believe that Tim Walz, Jan Malcom and all members of the Minnesota Department of Health are doing anything but that. They are sharing information forward to the community to assure that we’re informed and subsequently educated, in order to assure we are making informed decisions in our daily life, including routine shopping outings, interactions with one another, and holiday celebrations.

I believe it is the best decision for all to follow the experts’ advice and refrain from gathering for annual Thanksgiving gatherings this year, in order to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 unknowingly to your family/friends.

I have witnessed a family gather for a celebration, with under 10 people, and 3 households, and unknowingly expose their vulnerable aging parents, who in turn tested positive for COVID-19 and continue to struggle with symptoms. The pain and frustration this unintended exposure to their parent’s causes is heartbreaking.

While I don’t work at the bedside with patients suffering from COVID-19, I feel for my fellow nurses and healthcare workers fighting this fight, let’s show them support by being proactive in our interactions with one another, refraining from holiday gatherings and wearing a face covering when running errands.

Lastly, a message from a doctor in Blue Earth County:

The exposure to kids is minimal and most every child in Blue Earth County that contracted Covid-19 was virtually unaware they even had it.

The biggest thing I’ve seen in the clinic is people not being honest about their symptoms.

If you are sick, you need to stay home.

THANK YOU to all the nurses, doctors, and health care workers who face this virus and it’s grim effects every day and for sharing your poignant stories with all of us.

You are heroes to me and countless others.

@faithinthemess