Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Opportunities for Regret

During this last work rotation, I met a few people that have not left my mind. I've actually prayed for them each, several times. This is unusual since often, I have forgotten yesterday's work entirely as I rush into today's workload.

The first was Margaret, a woman who had had multiple miscarriages. She was angry, and crying in a wheelchair in the ER waiting room, and I apologized for the wait (about 2 hours) as I rolled her back to one of my rooms. Hallway, actually. As soon as I could, I got her into a room, and heard her story. She was about 10 weeks along, had just stopped taking Prometrium, and had had a sudden onset of bleeding while at work. She was scared, panicked, anxious, and upset. Instead of telling her "we won't really be able to do anything except an ultrasound since you're so early in this pregnancy," I just listened. Blood work was sent off, a pelvic exam was done, and off she went to ultrasound. Her husband waited in the room. Hours later, I saw her leaving, and I asked what had happened. Her entire face was glowing, and the anger and fear had been replaced with gratitude and hope. "The baby is still alive, and that's all I could ask for. Now we'll keep praying." I've been praying, too, Margaret.

Next on the list of patients who made an impression was a young lady, 18, who had just found out she was pregnant. She was sobbing, but for a different reason than Margaret. This patient wanted us to refer her somewhere for an abortion since "I want this out of me." My heart felt heavy. I wished I could somehow say something to give her hope, or help her realize another option, but she was hysterical. I had the social worker go in and talk with her and give her whatever information she wanted. I just pray she'll think about this decision and how it will impact not only the baby's existence, but her own life for years to come.

And finally on the list, a 60-year old man who came to the ER simply because he was afraid of dying. Recently diagnosed with cancer, he'd had a few radiation treatments and thought he was handling everything well. But over the past few days, he'd been overwhelmed with feelings of worry about dying alone from cancer. I asked him if he had any kind of faith in anything. He said, "No. I'm not spiritual at all." I wanted to tell him that yes, he was. And that was why he was worried--because he is a spiritual being and there is a spiritual reality. But it didn't feel like the right time to say that, so the doctor saw the patient, and we referred him to some counseling. Maybe somewhere along the line, after the antidepressants, and the antianxiety meds, and the counseling, God will shine into His life with His truth.

So anyway, I felt like I was of absolutely no help to these three people in the long run. I can only pray that God will help them through other people they meet further along in their journeys. And this makes me wonder if the ER is really where I should be. But it's where I am, so there you have it.


n8breezy said...

i love you, jenny.

Tiffani R said...

I often think that God works through those moments where we listen or hold a hand or offer an encouragement - even when we are constrained against speaking the Truth of the Gospel.
Praying along with you for those three individuals and for you, that you would be encouraged at how God is using you in the ER.
Love you sister! T

Sarah said...

I daily struggle with "what do I say, Lord???". We see people who are desperate to be healed from their addictions, their loneliness, and their pain. I will be praying for you, Jenny, that the Holy Spirit will open your mouth and give you the words to speak in His timing to those whose hearts are prepared. That is the only hope we have.

Brendan and Sharon said...

You are a brave lady Jenny. God loves the work you do and I'm sure it bears much fruit that you never get to see.

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