THAT’S BETWEEN YOU AND THE LORD…HOW TO COME ALIVE TWO WEEKS BEFORE YOU DIE

if you’re reading this page, maybe you’re a Believer, maybe you’re not

as we say in the South…

that’s between you and the Lord

***

there was a patient one time, however, who was a Believer

but was “worried about some things”, as she put it

***

this woman was only 52 years old, but she knew her health condition was such

that she was probably on borrowed time

we got to talking and I saw the sadness and distress on her face

and the uneasiness in her demeanor

so I volunteered to call in a preacher to settle her spiritual mind

and she accepted the offer so, so gratefully

grasping at the straw

clinging ’til the morrow

when this fine, calm, and caring man of God would come

***

the preacher came the next day and spent some time alone with the patient

the patient’s face was wet with happy tears

and her countenance was glowing

when I came back in

***

I walked into the patient’s room the next morning and this is what I see

a changed woman, at peace

and this is what I hear

“I could hardly sleep last night, I was so excited about

who I was going to see today

and what the day would bring

I feel like I have a new life

thank you for bringing the preacher to me”

***

the patient was discharged a few weeks later

two weeks after that, I read her obituary in the paper

***

thank you to all of those who come to visit our patients in their time of need

sometimes a visit is life-changing

***

in memory and honor of a black-haired patient and Reverend Milton Gardner

*****

How shamed I was of any ill attitudes and unpleasant behavior I might have exhibited at ANY time in my life, after hearing this ill and dying woman tell me that she couldn’t sleep the night after the preacher came because she was so excited to think about what the new day would bring and who she was going to see.

What purity! What grace! What joy! What a testimony! Bless you, my patient-that-became-my-friend, in your heavenly home lo these past seven years.

I told the preacher how much I appreciated his eagerness and desire to come visit this stranger in the hospital and how her spiritual life was renewed by his visit and prayers. I also told him this…”if I never have another patient whose life is changed for the better through a salvation experience or a renewal of their faith, having helped JUST THIS ONE will be worth all my efforts.”

Thankfully, there ended up being more than “just one” patient who had a spiritual experience. This patient was the first, however, and she made a huge impression on me. After my experiences with her, working in therapy took on a whole new meaning for me…the idea that you could help, support, and encourage patients in other areas of their lives besides just improving their physical health.

We had a good therapy team and were always thankful that we helped our patients however we could, whatever their needs were. What a great five years spent caring for patients!!

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I JUST WANTED SOMEBODY TO LISTEN

a night janitor with a fifth-grade education, late sixties, living alone

children scattered

but a devoted sister nearby

when he was young and strong, he never imagined that one day it would take him

two hours

to crawl across the floor to reach the phone to call the ambulance

the patient arrived at the hospital for swingbed therapy very weak after that piteous crawl and the grueling illness that followed

with tired tears oozing from closed eyes he repeated for the third time in two days his crawling story

he remembered the horrors of being alone and crawling and sick with fears of

A SOLITARY DEATH

on that floor

his listener was touched and leaned over his bed and patted and kissed him, saying

“you don’t need to worry any more…you’re here and safe and warm

and

people are all around you and we’ll take care of you”

the patient cried a little more

and said…

thank you

I just wanted somebody to listen

I was scared I was going to die alone

the patient and his sister came back to visit after his discharge

he was so, so happy

strong and walking

smiling from ear to ear

in the presence of those who had comforted him and encouraged him

and

listened to him 

a brother and sister who started out young together

and then

grew old together

*****

This experience with this patient crystallized for me the importance and value of patient and empathetic listening in the healthcare setting (and also, of course, in our lives away from our work environment). Because the patient appreciated the time taken with and care shown to him, he did indeed feel safe and trusted me, and his therapy progressed in its own time as a result of the agape love we shared.

Mrs. Hate might expound in her “diatribes” how hard it is for healthcare workers to attain the extra time many patients, especially the elderly or lonely ones (and aren’t elderly people often the most lonely?), need and deserve. She, however, was most fortunate and blessed in that her particular job allowed her many opportunities to spend extra time with those she cared for. For that, Mrs. Hate is eternally grateful.