It was just another day, another patient. Or rather that’s how it started out. I walked into Room 108B and found the patient awake. I took her chart off the end of her bed and looked it over.
“Hello Shelia, my name is Marilynn and I’ll be your nurse. And, it’s time to redress your wounds.” She took a raspy breath than, knowing it would hurt.
“Okay, just as long as I don’t have to see myself.” She laughed lightly.
“Sounds like a deal.” I started to prepare all the things need to clean, and redress the burns that had covered a good part of her body. “Okay, you ready? Here we go.”
I began to slowly pull back the dressing. It was the first time the dressing would be removed from the skin graft that was on her legs so I had to be careful. The woman hissed and grimaced at the air hitting the exposed wound. She wiggled a little.
“Now Shelia I am going to need you to lie still why I finish taking the banged off.”
“I know I’m sorry. It’s my fault.” I didn’t realize what she meant at first.
“Oh it’s okay.” I said placing the dressing into the waste bin. “And the skin grafts are taking and healing beautiful.” She nodded.
There was silence and then she spoke again.
“No it’s not. I fell asleep with a lit cigarette. I should’ve even been smoking.”
“Hmm, why’s that?”
She paused before answering; taking a moment to think of how much she was going to share.
“I picked up the bad habit about three years ago. I had a patient that died.”
“A patient, are you a nurse or doctor?”
“No therapist. The patient was alone and depressed. I told him he should go out, meet someone and that the feeling of being alone would stop. But he decided just to stop his life. I couldn’t get through the day. One of my patients early on in the day was a heavy smoker and offered me a cigarette, seeing how shaken up I was. I took it and managed to get through the next session. But by the next one I had a break down. At lunch I went out and bought a pack. Been smoking ever since. I should’ve taken a leave.”
I was drawn into this woman and her story, it made me think back to the first day I had a patient die. Ariel had been there to help me. I was scared and hurt over the shock of losing a patient and people told me to go drink it off, however Ariel told me things like this were hard, but there was something I could do to help. She told me to pray, that God help more than anything found in anything else I could turn too. She had shared with me more on this God that I hadn’t hear much of, that day and I accepted him into my life. I carry him with me now on every job and with every patient. If it weren’t for Ariel I would have gone off drinking with everyone else that night…and who knows where I would be now.
“You know I am not use to being the one doing all the talking and sharing, being a therapist and all.”
I had removed all dressings and had cleaned up the burns and was beginning to cover the wounds again.
“Shelia, I remember the first time I lost a patient and I had a friend tell me a way that would help. So I wanna share the same with you. Prayer. Prayer helps me, and leaning on someone stronger and more powerful then me or anything I could turn to for help or relief.”
I finished dressing her wounds, but I had stayed that day and had a conversation about my Lord and savior, which over a series of conversations in a weeks time span, became her Lord and savior too.
It was just another day, but the dialogue with sweet Shelia and I that day was something that touched my heart deeply and I can tell you that my dear friend hasn’t had a smoke since the day she received Jesus Christ. And though it’s been more than twelve years since that day, Shelia and I still talk about that ordinary day, when I was making my rounds and we had first met in room 108B.
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