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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Patience (08/21/08)

TITLE: Wound Healing
By Emily Gibson


I was recently reminded what it takes to heal a wound which is something, as a physician, I should understand very well.

In unthinking haste, I touched my arm against a hot grill while fixing a meal and went straight to the dinner table to serve a hungry family, rather than dousing my arm in cold water. The blister was almost immediate, and within two days, I had shaking chills and watched an advancing infection cover much of my forearm around the deep burn.

Knowing I should have sought treatment sooner, I slunk into the local emergency room last weekend, hoping to keep a low profile. As I sat hooked to the IV antibiotics, a long parade of nurses and doctors trooped in to see just what had brought me in, commiserating about my carelessness.

Thankfully, I have managed to stay out of the hospital, but it is taking daily diligence to work at getting this deep wound to heal. It will not happen quickly and I’m learning a lesson in patience. If I ever wondered the origin of the term “patient” for the person being treated for illness, I surely understand it better now.

The irony is that this burn wants to heal itself too quickly, and my body is not always very smart about how it goes about it. The wound covers with a scab of cellular debris and dried serous fluid which must be removed and debrided daily to allow the growth of healthy new skin along the edges and in little granulating islands of new pink tissue. This wound must be "reinjured" to the point of fresh bleeding in order to heal properly. Wound therapy is surely one of the most painstaking, but ultimately rewarding clinical tasks we do as healers, but there can be no “hurry” in the process for it to happen properly.

Sometimes our wounds aren’t visible like my recent burn but exist in places that can't readily be seen. They may be carefully hidden from view, festering and desperately painful to us, yet not so apparent to others. If not exposed, cleaned, and even retraumatized, they may never heal completely. I see this every day in my patients who are suffering from illness whose roots are from a previous "injury" they have carefully covered up because the healing process has taken too long, or hurts too much, or there is no one available to help. One of my detective jobs is to try to find the "wound" which is the source and then we can work together to find the healing solution. My patients find themselves in a relationship with a very persistent and patient health care provider who will pick away until things heal over properly, no matter how long it takes. At times it will hurt, they certainly won't like it, and they'll want me to go away and leave them alone. But I won’t abandon them even when they pull away from me.

So in cleaning and bandaging my arm twice daily, I am renewed in my thanksgiving for a Lord who knows all about the most painful of wounds. He invites us to touch Him where He was hurt, knowing, in turn, we cannot hide our suffering from His healing hand.

"Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake." Victor Hugo

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This article has been read 602 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Holly Westefeld08/28/08
An excellent analogy, and well-written devotion.
Jan Ackerson 08/29/08
Excellent illustration!

I wonder if you could eliminate the first sentence, and just start with the burn--more of a hook, perhaps?

I've had some experience with slow-healing wounds, with my daughter with a spinal cord injury. I won't forget this object lesson.
LaNaye Perkins08/30/08
This read like a great devotional to me and had a great message. Well done!
Joy Faire Stewart08/30/08
I like the healing process of body and spirit in this writing. Excellent!
Allison Egley 08/31/08
Ouch! My grabbed my arm when you were talking about the burn. I loved the parallels you drew here. In my (limited) exposure to medicine in my job, I found this quite interesting. Thanks for the information on all levels. I also loved the quote at the end. Great job.
Ellen Dodson08/31/08
I was especially touched by the closing lines in this. In remembering (touching) Jesus's wounds, we are healed and comforted. The description of your job as a patient physician is a visual of the hands of Christ at work in you. Thank God for your diligence. My only red ink comment is that I do think this is a touch long winded in a few areas. A bit of trimming would make this shine even brighter. It's a piece all need to read. Thank you for blessing me with this.
Yvonne Blake 08/31/08
Yes, God is patient with our impatience, isn't he? This is a great analogy.
Anne Linington09/02/08
I particularly like the use of "re-traumatised"- which is such a useful picture for emotional healing in particular. I once had an absess which had to be packed and not allowed to heal until it did so from the botttom up. Thanks for the reminder that premature healing is often dangerous.
Sunny Loomis 09/03/08
Excellent lessons here. Good subject for the topic. Nicely done.
James Dixon09/03/08
A very good and original illlustration. God wants us to be patient while He sets us right , doesn't He?
Joshua Janoski09/04/08
This piece really got me thinking. The part about healing too quickly caught my attention. Sometimes I have tried to just cover up my problems like a scab, but underneath the problem is still there (and often getting worse). This analogy gives me new insight. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us.