For God So Loved a Nasty Little Man
Isabella was in a good mood until she saw the assignment board for the shift. Then she was angry. No, not angry… she was furious.
She could not believe that Cheryl had changed teams right in the middle of her work week. She really could not believe that she would have to pick up Cheryl’s team… the worst team on the floor. What ever happened to continuity of care? What ever happened to the same nurse keeping the same patients for the entire time she was working for the week?
Isabella did not want to take the worst team on the floor, on her first night back for the week, because she knew that she would have to keep them. She did not have the convenient excuse of being a new grad, which allowed Cheryl to drop a team she deemed too stressful. Isabella seethed silently as she took report, then she started to work.
She really did not want to take Mr. Jones, the nasty little man at the end of the hall. Everyone knew he was too demanding… on the call light every five minutes. Everyone knew he was gross… a “frequent flier” with too many health problems to count… and because he was an alcoholic and a drug addict, each and every one of his problems was self-inflicted. As a matter of fact, as far as Isabella knew, no one wanted to take care of him.
She donned the yellow isolation gown, mask and gloves to enter his room. The evidence of the long-term assault of alcohol on his system was immediately evident. His skin was yellow, his eyes were yellow… even his teeth were yellow. The cirrhosis of his liver had swelled his belly horribly. The NG tube drained yellow bile to the suction on the wall. Even through the mask, Isabella could smell how sick he was. She was glad for the yellow isolation mask, so he would not see how she wrinkled her nose in disgust.
He was so short of breath, and in so much pain, he could not speak. He communicated by writing on a yellow legal pad at the bedside. He wrote a note saying he was afraid he would not get his pain medicine when he needed it. He wrote that every time he called the desk, someone hung up on him, but no one ever came to see what he needed.
Isabella felt bad, because she had heard the comments that were being made at the desk, and knew that he was probably telling the truth. She assured him that she would personally make sure that his calls were answered.
On the yellow note pad, he scrawled… “if there is a God…”
Shocked, Isabella replied that she believed that there was a God, and that He loved Mr. Jones very much.
On the yellow note pad… “do you really believe that?”
Compassion flooded Isabella’s heart for this “nasty little man.”
She felt ashamed of herself for forgetting that he was someone God loved… someone Jesus died for.
She knelt by the side of the bed, and took his yellowed hand in her own.
Her voice shook with emotion as she shared the plan of salvation with Mr. Jones. She told him that God had created man to have fellowship with Himself. She explained how certain choices were made that separated man from God. She explained that God is Holy, and therefore had to punish sin, but loved man so much that He allowed His Son, Jesus, to take that punishment on the cross. She told Mr. Jones that all that was required was a confession of sin and acceptance of God’s free gift… salvation through His Son, Jesus.
Tears flowed down yellowed cheeks as Mr. Jones prayed to accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
Tears fell from Isabella’s eyes as she realized that God had a reason for having her pick up the worst team on the floor… an eternally significant reason. She asked God to forgive her for being so angry at the beginning of the shift. She asked God to help her to remember that His love is extended to each and every person, no matter what their circumstances. She asked God to allow her to look on her patients with His eyes, and not her own.
Yellow gown-clad arms hugged a frail yellow body, and welcomed a new brother into the Family of God.
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