Nursing Home Student Finds Purpose in Online Learning

October 20, 2011

By Kathy Blue

Kathy Blue is an online student pursuing a degree in English literature. She intends to continue toward a master's in Christian Studies. She plans to teach for GCU.

Kathy july 2011 As students, our reason for being at Grand Canyon University is to find our purpose.
I am 56 years old with myriad medical problems: diabetes, severe arthritis, COPD, heart and lung disease and a condition known as foramina stenosis in my lower back that requires regular use of the pain medication dilaudid.

I also have an allergy to anesthetic that makes surgery impossible. I need several surgeries - and cannot undergo any.

It was tough to accept that as a young woman I would need to move into a nursing home. To know that I would spend the rest of my life in this setting was devastating.

I have found that approaching the other residents gently, with the love of the Lord in my touch, has been the only way I could watch their suffering and death on a daily basis.

None of the residents of my nursing home is neglected, but the truth is our families have us here so they do not have to suffer the pain of seeing their loved one in this situation. To live with the painful screams and the nurses rushing to and from bed calls, any of which could mean injury or death, is unnerving.

In November of last year, the Lord led me to GCU and Enrollment Counselor Cory Linglebach. I was more than ready for a diversion.

With a huge amount of prayer, I decided I was ready to meet the challenges of college.

Cory kept me uplifted in prayer and filled with determination as my old IBM computer gave up the ghost. On the day I replaced it with a new Dell, the father of my three grown children was found dead in his apartment. We have 11 beautiful grandchildren.

I did not quit. I prayed. My classmates prayed with me. I have gone on to make the dean's list, meeting new challenges head-on and happy because of the tender work the Lord is doing through all the wonderful people attending and working at GCU.

Every day, I have a purpose to get up and get motivated to follow through with my homework and assignments.

Studying keeps me healthy. Instead of running to the comfort of my bed, I run to the comfort of the Lord and my friends at GCU. School keeps my pain levels and blood-sugar levels down. School keeps me inspired to stay healthy.

Not only am I thriving, I share my experience with my nursing-home neighbors. All eagerly wait each morning to hear how things are at school when we gather for breakfast. All of the wonderfully encouraging friends here are full of enthusiasm for my education, and it has become a challenge not to let any of them down.