She told me she doesn’t remember the day we met. Honestly, I don’t see how she could, she had been so sick when I admitted her the week before. I sure remembered her, though. She was pretty unforgettable.
She wasn’t much older than me, but her body had been broken for many years. She lived in a nursing home, bedbound and totally dependent for her complicated daily care. She was an extremely sick, bone-weary woman.
But, for some reason, what I remembered most was her eyes.
They were beautiful. Even though they were clouded with illness the few times she’d actually opened them for me last week, I still remembered their deep, deep brown.
Like giant pools of warm chocolate.
I learned in report that morning that she had improved significantly since my previous time with her. Her condition had stabilized, tubes had been removed, and she was now fully awake. This made my heart happy. This, my friends, is exactly why we come to work. Praise God!
I also learned, though, that with her improvement, she had also become extremely “particular” in the way she liked things done. As thankful as I was for her recovery, I also knew that when you’re juggling five sick patients, those words could mean trouble. Those words meant that my busy day had just gotten even busier. Yay.
As I spent my shift trying to satisfy her plethora of “particulars”, I told her about our previous two days together. There was such an incredible difference between the woman I was treating today, and the one with whom I’d been last week, I decided she should know about the “place” where she’d been.
I told her what I remembered of those days – her condition and the tests and interventions we’d had to do to help her. I even told her how beautiful I thought her eyes were that first day. She laughed when I said they looked like pools of melted chocolate. She shook her head and said they were just “puddles of dirty, old mud”.
She just had no idea.
This woman … she touched me so deeply. As I looked at her … so ravaged by disease … this woman who needed so much of my time … I saw her discouragement. She was helpless. She was hopeless.
This was her life. All day, every day.
In the three days total that I had been with her, not a single person had even called to check on her. What she was doing today was her whole life. She may soon move back “home” to her facility, but this was it for her. And it always would be as long as she’s on this side of glory. She would spend the rest of her days just waiting in a hospital bed.
I was now beginning to understand her need for “particulars”.
This broken person was still someone. She may be just a shadow of her former self, but she still held presence. And she wasn’t letting go of that. And she shouldn’t have to.
Her “particulars” were simply her way of fighting to keep her presence known. She was fighting to remind us that she was still there and she still mattered. Her “particulars” were just cries for us not to forget about her.
So … as I mixed her relish, mustard, and seasoning mix together for the third time that day … as I was preparing to spread it ever so quickly over her perfectly warm hamburger … as I was opening the packet that held the knife I would use to meticulously cut it into four equal pieces, I thought about all of this.
Wow. She had taught me so much.
We get so overwhelmed by the stress of our days, we can easily forget the people. Not the patients – they’re what’s keeping us so busy. But the people. We can forget that they’re still people. No matter how sick they may be.
We ended our day with me telling her how much I had enjoyed our time together. Even with all her “particulars”. What a blessing to be able to go from simply taking care of her, to actually getting to know her.
I also told her that today I noticed the sparkle of diamonds in those beautiful “puddles of dirty, old mud” that she was looking at me through. She still just shook her head and laughed.
She truly just had no idea.
I had been so discouraged lately … feeling so incredibly weak and useless in my recliner … but this woman’s story lifted me up and reminded me. She probably doesn’t even realize it, but God used her in a huge way that day to refresh and restore me.
All while she was crippled and helpless in that hospital bed.
She reminded me that whether my moments are spent running around a hospital hoping to keep people alive, or spent curled up aching from another Lupus sucker punch … they each matter. Each moment matters. Each holds purpose.
No moments are useless.
There are NO moments where I am useless.
There are no moments where YOU are useless.
Because they’ve all been given and ordained by our incredible Abba Father.
Be encouraged and praise God with me.
Thanks for growing with me. ❤
“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” (Exodus 9:16)