Wednesday, May 06, 2009

My friend Justin, who gave his life, while serving the Lord in India last August

While speaking at "Perspectives on the World Christian Movement" last week in San Antonio, I was approached by a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit nurse.

I thanked her for her service as a PICU nurse, and told her how important the role she filled was to us. I shared with her that the nurses on BJ's floor had become family to us during our 6 week hospital stay, and that we had the utmost respect for those in her profession.

We talked for quite awhile. This was a career woman who was somewhere around my age or older. I talked to her about the number of times we saw nurses shoulder abuse from angry families who struggled to deal with their stress and/or grief.

A look of knowing came across her face.

She began to tell me the following story.

When her children were young and she was working through the first years of her profession, she really struggled when a patient passed away. She spoke of how amazing her husband was at helping her handle her grief.

She would arrive home and he would see the brokeness in her eyes, and encourage her to head up to their room for some alone time. Her children wanted to know why Mommy wasn't spending time with them. Her husband told the children, an angel was born in heaven today, and Mommy is thanking Jesus.

This became far too common. Years as a PICU nurse had given way to seeing this happen over and over.

One afternoon, she had assisted in an emergent situation on her floor. A two year old boy was very ill. She had been caring for him for some time. When his SAT's began to plummet, a doctor came in and they began to work feverishly on the lad.

A number of procedures had to be done. One involved her pushing some fluid in through the child's iv. She asked the doctor if he was sure since it could have a serious impact on the already heightened situation.

"Push it!" he told her. So she did.

The young boy flatlined.

They worked at a frenetic pace trying to bring him back. For over two hours, they worked the code. Finally, when all attempts had failed, the boy died.

She was overwhelmed! Her grief forced in and claimed her countenance.

That evening, her young daughter approached her and patted her on the leg and said, "Mommy, was an angel born today?"

A couple of year later, she and her family were celebrating the holidays. They were eating out at a restaurant and enjoying some much needed family time. As she sat there, she saw a young boy at a nearby table that looked familiar to her. She thought about it a moment, and not retrieving a memory, she moved on.

Some minutes later, she was startled by an interruption. "Don't you work at the hospital?" came a question from the mother at the other table.

"Yes," she responded.

"In the PICU?" asked the same lady.

"Yes, that's right," she offered.

"You're the nurse who killed my baby!" shot the mother.

My new friend sat in stunned silence. The boy who looked familiar was the little brother of this former patient. This mother had been pregnant with him, while her two year old grew very ill.

She could not respond. She had no words, just a rush of fresh grief.

She finally excused herself and went to the car.

Bitterness had ravaged this young mother's life after the loss of her son. She carried with her a vendetta, always threatening to surface. Christmas seemed like that time, so she let her wrath and fury, fly.

This nurse who has given her life to serving the sick and broken had to carry this for the rest of her life. Her eyes moist to overflowing as she spoke, evoked a like response from mine.

How could this happen?

The anguished mother was clearly a victim of the enemy. Bitterness over her loss had replaced the joy of life.

Death threatens to claim many collateral victims.

The Lord gave me words of love and encouragement to speak over this nurse. She was not the author of death. She was the benefactor of the brutality of words from brokeness of soul.

She received them, and had grown strong from having God's hand on her. She was not calloused.

I am so very thankful for this nurse, for that fact that she took the time to share this painful story with me, for the many nurses and other medical staff who had such a profound impact on our lives.

We can never express enough, the deep gratitude and appreciation we have for those who took such precious care of our son.

Hug a nurse today! Tell them how appreciated they are!!! They are His hands.



At 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless,
Greenfield, Indiana

At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. What a story.

God Bless.


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