Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BORED - Begins 1-11-18 / Ends 1-18-18 (01/11/18)
- TITLE: Yes. Tonight.
By Donna Powers
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They’d recently renovated this unit, and our patients had been redistributed to other units while we’d gotten re-painted and re-papered. I’d worked on different units during the week of renovation, and I was glad to finally be back on Liberty One.
But all our patients hadn’t come back to the Unit, since the Lord had called Home during the renovation. Some of the patients’ families had decided they liked the new rooms better. Mr. Robinson had decided to stay on Freedom One because he’d started a romance with Miss Sinclair – and good for both of them. So, instead of having my usual twenty patients with various nighttime needs and call bells dinging off the walls, tonight we had ten sleeping patients.
Cora, the nursing assistant, had been folding and refolding neat piles of linens and setting up the morning trays several hours early. She’d finally sat down a few minutes ago. Usually, Cora sitting down was a sure sign the call bells would start ringing.
There was a list of night shift duties, and I’d already finished it. I’d checked and revised everyone’s care plans and even done my monthly audits – two days early. Each minute tonight had seemed full of promise; then, each minute petered out into nothingness. Liberty One would be have a full house again soon enough. I hated to complain about lack of activity, but it felt weird to be sitting here tonight; doing nothing while I was being paid to be at work.
I sighed and got up. Well, if my mind was out of options, maybe my body needed a workout. Quietly, I walked down the hallways of the unit. Mr. Carerra was half-listening to a Spanish game show, and Miss Johnson was snoring; other than that, there were only soft, regular breathing noises from each room.
Until room fourteen.
If I hadn’t been walking down the hall, I wouldn’t have heard her. It was barely a whimper; as soft as a newborn kitten. I barely heard it over Mr. Carerra’s game show.
But I heard it.
Mrs. Lane was a new patient. I knew she’d had a stroke, and it had robbed her of most of her speech. I heard a soft, slurred “please” floating out from her room, and went in.
Her face was awash with tears, and her left hand was clenched. At first, I hesitated. Her agony looked so private; yet, what else did I have to do tonight?
I touched her shoulder softly. She drew herself back; her eyes flew open. At first, she seemed afraid. But when I pointed to my badge, her face became more relaxed. I asked if she was in pain, and she shook her head, “no.” But, those tears had come from somewhere.
The night surrounded us with its silence. The streetlights streamed into the room, and they cast an eerie glow on Mrs. Lane’s dresser. I clicked on the night light. I saw a family picture: a younger Mrs. Lane standing next to a handsome man and two beautiful adult women who resembled the couple.
“Your daughters?” I asked, pointing to the girls.
She smiled and nodded. So, it probably wasn’t about the girls. I pointed to the man. “Your husband?” She nodded again. I looked more closely at the picture; the family stood in front of a brick fireplace. The windows above the fireplace seemed typical of an old-fashioned home. Then, I looked at the newly painted, modern walls of Mrs. Lane’s present room.
“Do you miss your home?” I asked. The tears began again, and she shook her head, “yes.”
I understood that. I’d been cranky for the past week while my “work home” of Liberty One was renovated; and tonight, I’d felt at odds because I hadn’t had anything on my agenda. Yet, here was Mrs. Lane: who couldn’t even express her homesickness in anything more articulate than a soft, mewing whimper.
I took her left hand in mind and asked if we could pray. Suddenly, this night became alive with purpose as I asked God to comfort Mrs. Lane, and to show me that each night can become alive with its own godly purpose.
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