Monday, May 21, 2012

Emergency Room Visits

I was recently reminded that emergency room visits are not the norm for most people.  I know this to be true, but it's easy to forget because I go there all the time to work.  You severed your finger using a table saw?  Yeah, people do that all the time.  You think you have a kidney stone and the pain is a 12 out of 10?  We have just the thing.  Chest pain?  We know what to do - happens every day.

Based on my patient's symptoms, I grabbed an EKG machine and rolled it into the room.  As I was checking out the electrical activity of his heart, a family member behind me said, "Keepin' the same hairstyle, huh?"  I quickly cased the room, but there was no one else in there he could be talking to.

"Are you talking to me?"  I said.  "Yeah.  You wore your hair like that the last time I was in here - with my mom."  I didn't recognize the guy, so I asked him when that was.   "Oh, you were still training so it was a few years ago...must have been 2007."  Hoping she was still alive and well, I asked about his mom.  He said she's doing just fine these days (praise the Lord - that could have been awkward).

I was, indeed, in orientation in 2007, but seeing dozens of patients a day, I really only remember a few of them.  Several, however, have remembered me.  I don't think this is because I'm extra special or anything like that, but because it's out of the ordinary for them to go to the ER.  When they do, they often remember the nurse that took care of them.

"Duh!"  All you out there are saying, but I need a reminder every once and a while.  People come into the ER scared and hurting and there is so much opportunity to have an impact on their lives, whether they remember their nurse years later or not.  This guy's comment inspired me to remember that.

"And as you go, preach, saying 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons.  Freely you have received, freely give."  Matthew 10:7-8 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Happy Nurses' Week 2012

In honor of Nurses' Week, a hymn (no, not "There is Fountain Filled with Blood Drawn from Emmanuel's Veins ;)  

Rescue the Perishing
Selected words by Fanny Crosby

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o'er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save.

Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
Chords that are broken will vibrate once more.

Rescue the perishing, duty demands it,
Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
Back to the narrow way patiently win them,
Tell the poor wand'rer a Savior has died.

One thing I like about this song is the holistic nature of it.  People are not just physical beings, nor just spiritual.  Trying to treat a patient with a mental illness or one that is emotionally broken with merely physical treatments is not going to work.  Telling a patient to "transcend to a happy place" in their mind when their leg has been severed also will not work.  Jesus gives us a perfect example by having compassion on people and going out to preach and heal.  God has created us in a multidimensional way and this is how health care workers should view patients.  As for "feelings [that] lie buried that grace can restore" (exceedingly abundantly!), who hasn't, at one time or another, been stirred by kindness and love?  Oh how humbling it is to see God working through humans like this!  Why does "duty demand" that we rescue the perishing?  Because we ourselves have been rescued, we should realize how desperately others need to be.  Because He first loved us can we now love Him and others.  And by His grace He gives us the strength to do so.

Rescue the perishing, my fellow health care workers and friends!
Rescue the perishing, dear believing brothers and sisters!
Rescue the perishing, as you yourself have been rescued.