Reviewing and renewing Biblical faith through story and study

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Nurses - God’s Undercover Agents


There is no way to explain how amazing nurses are. They come in a check on you with regular faithfulness, they ask questions to remind you where you are what day it is and they come every time you press that jolly little button. 

I’m serious. Press it. For whatever. And they come. I have yet hear a nurse say, “Oh get over yourself!” And actually, I’m not talking about myself. I’m doing really well. But Sandra*, in the bed next to me calls out 3 to 4 times an hour when she is awake. She, too, has had brain surgery. And her legs don’t work. So, she cries out for someone to “get my hamstrings for me” or “chuck my hamstrings out the window” or in her less lucid moments, “can you get hamstrings with that?”... And then she repeats herself. The nurse will just have left the room and she will cry out about the same need. And the nurse returns. They all give her the “use the button” spiel but they all come when they hear her call.  

One of my nurses spent some quality time massaging Sandra’s legs and positioning and repositioning her on Friday night. Then she passed through the wall into my room. Aren’t angels the only ones on earth who can pass through walls? I had been listening to her deal with Sandra’s suffering and heard the way she used love and kindness to calm Sandra and help her sleep. As she passed through my room, and asked if I needed anything, I was just overcome with her generous spirit. “You’re amazing.” I said. She tried to pass it off, but I continued, “You can be trained in some things, but what you just did for Sandra was wonderful. You are an amazing person.” She smiled and said, “Thank you. Sleep well.” And I did.

Then there’s Jack. He was a firefighter in the Black Saturday fires nearly four years ago. The nurses come and call his name until he responds when he slips away. He got stranded, ran out of water and shut down emotionally. Then he came good - for a couple of months - then one fireless day he called his wife and said, “I’m on a stump. I don’t know where they’ve gone. But I know they need me. The smoke is so intense.” The hospitals had been put on three-month standby for these firefighters. It’s Post-Tramatic-Stress-Syndrome and it can hit up to 90 days after the traumatic event. He’s been in that fire and out of it for nearly four years now. On my first lucid night - I think it was Thursday - he woke me up when he shouted, “Incoming. Get everyone out!” He was dreaming and flash-backing at the same time. His wife is amazing. She nurses him, usually. But, then he started fitting and that put him in hospital - over 3 months ago. He fitted this morning for a few minutes and spent the rest of the day recovering from it. The nurses were there through it all.

One of my nurses was doing the usual checks on me and I asked her a question. My Dad had just been to a majestic cathedral next door to experience Sunday Mass. As this is not in our faith tradition, he and I were both curious. When he returned he was telling me all about it when the nurse walked in. I said to her, “We’ve never been to mass before, so my Dad was very interested in the experience. What about you? Is Mass something from your faith tradition.” She said, “I was brought up going to Mass. I am Catholic. But I don’t practice anymore.” What makes this so intriguing to me is it took all day for my mind to make the obvious link that I normally would have made instantly. Just before she had come in, My Dad had read this “Good Samaritan Card” that he was handed on the way out of Mass. It was a beautiful description of why that church does all they can to help whomever they can at whatever opportunity they are given. Race aside. Creed aside. Faith aside. They will reach to anyone. Tomorrow I will give “The Good Samaritan” card to that nurse. She hasn’t stopped practicing. She’s just started.

Blessings, people. 



*I’ve changed the names to protect the people in this story. They are just every-day Joe’s and Jill’s like me and you.