I glanced at my watch as I rushed down the hospital’s sanitized halls to check on a patient; three hours left in my shift. As usual, the day had been long and hectic on the thirty-bed surgical ward. Seldom did I have time for a break and I certainly did not have time to waste on a confused, elderly woman who had run my legs off all evening.
Mrs. Garrett had arrived several hours ago from the recovery room following gall bladder surgery. A post-stroke patient from two years ago, she was unable to communicate well. The recovery room nurse had applied soft wrist restraints to prevent her from removing the IV, nasogastric tube, and indwelling urinary catheter. By 7 p.m., I had replaced all three.
“Her room would have to be the last one,” I grumbled as I entered Room 224.
“Oh no. Here we go again.”
The wrist restraints lay on the floor. Mrs. Garrett clung to the sheet that she had pulled up to her neck. I held my breath as I peeled back the cover. The bed was soaked with blood.
“The transfusion is for you, not the bed. What am I going to do with you? Why are you doing this?” I asked, not expecting an answer.
She scowled and mumbled something about “water.” I offered her ice chips but she spit them out and shook her head babbling a few unintelligible words. After I replaced the IV, I waited outside her room. I wanted to know how she was getting out of the restraints. She scooted down in bed and untied each device with her teeth. Too bad she doesn’t have dentures. I thought. I would remove them.
I assigned one of my nursing assistants to stay with Mrs. Garrett the rest of the shift. During my report to the night nurse, I warned them to keep a close eye on her. I went home and collapsed in bed.
The next morning I poured a cup of coffee and read Scripture for the first time in several weeks. My spiritual life had suffered since I started to work in the hospital. I felt God wanted me to change my way of life. I prayed. “Do you want me to quit working, Lord? You helped me get through nursing school. Should I leave nursing?”
I dreaded going back to the hospital that evening. The day nurse reported that the night nurse had replaced the IV and nasogastric tube once.
At visitation time, I met Mrs. Garrett’s daughter and son-in-law who had just flown in from the west coast. I let her daughter know that we had had a terrible time keeping the needle and tubes in place.
“I’m surprised the nursing home didn’t tell you about my mother’s routine.” Her daughter said.
“No, I never heard about a routine.” I replied.”
“Mom was a Sunday school teacher for over fifty years. She is a strong Christian. Every night she prays while holding her Bible. Since the stroke, an aide or nurse at the home prays with her. She is calmer and more cooperative when the Book is within eyesight. Mom can be obstinate sometimes.
“She used to call the Bible the Word, but since the stroke, it sounds like “Water.” I have to go speak with the administrator today so I’ll make sure I bring the Bible back with me.”
“That’s what she meant yesterday. I didn’t know. We will certainly try it.” I said.
Mrs. Garrett’s daughter left the worn, black Bible beside her mother. Later that evening I closed the door and prayed with her. I thanked the Lord for the opportunity to help one of His children. When the prayer was finished, Mrs. Garrett smiled, slapped her hand against the Bible and said, “Water.”
“Yes, thank God for the Word.”
Mrs. Garrett never gave us another problem over the next five days. She regained her strength and returned to the nursing home.
God often uses people, objects, and circumstances as instruments of persuasion to accomplish His will in our lives. Moved by the Spirit to change my life, I left the hospital two months later to work in a nursing home. The pace was much slower with ample time to get to know the residents and their families. I felt less stressed out, my attitude was more positive, and I enjoyed going to work. But even more important, my spiritual relationship with the Lord grew.
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Based on a true story.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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