When the Nurse becomes the Patient

This past Sunday Charlie called me from work see if I would bring him some medicine.  He said he had the worst stomachache of his life and was bent over in pain.  I’ve never seen Charlie sick beyond an occasional headache, so I was concerned when I got there and saw that he looked really pale and was obviously in a lot of pain.  I tried to persuade him to come home, but he said they had too many patients for him to leave them all with just the one other nurse.  If there’s another thing I’ve never seen my husband do, it’s ask someone else to do his job.

So I continued to check on him throughout the afternoon, thinking the medicine would bring some relief for what we though was an upset stomach.  But he kept saying that the pain was worse and unrelenting.  He’s not one to complain, so if he was admitting to pain then I knew something was wrong.

Finally, about half an hour before his 12-hour shift ended, Charlie called to ask me to meet him at the hospital instead of just picking him up.  One of the attending doctors happened to be up there on a Sunday night and had worked it out for Charlie to be direct-admitted for observation and blood work.  This meant he wouldn’t have to wait in the ER for what could be hours since our small town hospital happened to be slammed that night.  About an hour later, Charlie finished charting on his patients in the ICU and we walked across the hallway where we he got into a bed on the Med-Surg floor and began receiving fluids.  Even though he was in such pain, we had a good laugh with the Med-Surg nurses who were pretty shocked to see him suddenly turn into a patient when they had seen him in the Unit all day!

Our doctor was extremely kind and got our test results very quickly, ruling out any gall bladder or pancreas issues.  By this time, Charlie’s pain had localized in his lower right side, and we all knew we were on the fast track toward an appendectomy.  A late-night scan confirmed his appendix was enlarged, and they scheduled the surgery for first thing in the morning.  In fact, a surgeon that Charlie knows well and had just worked with that day happened to be on call to perform his procedure.  Again, needless to say, she was shocked to receive the phone call that she’d be taking out the appendix of the nurse she’d just been with all day!

With everything decided around 1:00 a.m., we both got what rest we could before I returned to the hospital early the next morning.  They took Charlie down to the OR, where we thanked the Lord for His overwhelming peace.  Charlie’s never had surgery before, so we were both a little nervous just with anticipation.  However, despite being thousands of miles from home and essentially on our own during this ordeal, we felt very much like the Lord was in the room with us and that all would be ok.  It was hard to let go of his hand as he was wheeled back to surgery, but even in the two hours that I waited alone I never felt overwhelmed.  This all happened so suddenly and was so out of our control, that literally all we could do was throw our hearts upon the Lord and trust Him to carry us.

Charlie’s surgery went fine, and the doctor said that it seemed like his appendix had been inflamed for awhile, so the surgery really saved him from future trouble.  It seemed like he was back up in our room recovering before it had even sunk in that all of this was happening!  We spent the rest of the day napping, watching television and visiting with a lot of his coworkers who stopped by to check on him.  They, as well as I, couldn’t believe he finished the last six hours of his shift with acute appendicitis!  Charlie was discharged on Tuesday morning and has been doing really well at home.  He’s determined to recover quickly, so he’s up walking a lot and doing all the things his nurse’s mind knows will help him.  Sometimes he’ll look at me and say, “I just had surgery!” as if trying to make it sink in.  It all happened so fast – it seemed like I dropped him off for work on Sunday morning and then we entered a fast-paced dream world and suddenly we are back at home with some extra medicine and a few more days off.

Through all of this, it’s been so obvious that the Lord is in control.  He allowed Charlie’s appendix to not be critical until a time when we were at home for a long stretch, not off in the middle of Yellowstone or some Wyoming highway that’s always two or three hours to the nearest town.  He provided extra shifts for Charlie the previous week, knowing that he’d miss all of his work this week and not receive a normal paycheck.  His mercy allowed Charlie not to be sick with something more serious which our small hospital couldn’t accommodate.  He gave us His peace so that in our humanness we wouldn’t feel the added stress of being so far from home.

“You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.

If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.”

Psalm 139: 5, 9-12

God’s is constantly with us – not just beside us, seeing what we see, but behind us, before us, and over us.  Unlike our own eyes, He sees our whole path.  He knows what is coming ahead, He sees what is happening beyond our understanding that will affect us down the road.  Unlike us, nothing is hidden from Him.  There is no darkness for Him – nothing can hide in secret and then surprise Him.  Since all is illuminated to Him, He can see everything affecting our path and provide our way through it.

When we were driving a scenic road through Montana last week, I remember looking off into the distance and wondering about the beauty that lay just beyond what I could see.  Everything out our windows was so incredible, but I knew that we were also surrounded by thousands of beautiful acres that we’d never even lay eyes on.  All we could see what was in front of us.  Yet these beautiful streams we drove past began somewhere.  These lush meadows were fed by unseen rivers.   We couldn’t see the whole landscape, but we knew the sights on our own road were intimately affected by their connection to the nature just out of sight.

Thank God that He sees and controls what is out of our sight!  Thank God that He is Lord not just over the created world, but over the spiritual things which our human minds cannot perceive!  Nothing can enter our path that He is unfamiliar with, unable to provide for, unable to love us through.  He cares for the unseen rivers that run through our lives.

Psalm 139 says we cannot escape His presence, which means we also cannot escape His character.   His love, provision, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, grace and peace go before us, follow behind us, and lay over us no matter how our days may twist and turn in our own eyes.  Praise Him!

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2 Comments

Filed under Wyoming

2 responses to “When the Nurse becomes the Patient

  1. Mark

    Beautiful story and thankfully a happy ending!

  2. Jennifer Faircloth

    My heart overflows with thanksgiving for His provisions/ relevations to y’all, and for His gift of beautiful expression to you, Beej! This post will be read over and over as we remind ourselves of these truths during the wait for the revealing of His next assignment for y’all. Happy you’re on trip—relax and be refreshed! Very thankful Charlie has improved! love, Mom

    ________________________________

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