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Saturday, 29 January 2011

We Need To Be Real 3 - Stephanie McEntire


eanut Butter Crackers by Stephanie McEntire
posted as a Facebook note in 2010
"Love is the expression of the one who loves, not of the one who is loved. Those who think they can love only the people they prefer do not love at all. Love discovers truths about individuals that others cannot see" — Søren Kierkegaard

In our clinic we have an area that we call the "Isolation Room." Patients that have HIV or are infected with Hepatitis B are put in there in order to "isolate" them away from other patients. It is a necessity of course. Having never worked in isolation in the 10 years I have been a dialysis nurse I looked at the room with dread in the new clinic I have worked in for over a year. Not dread for me, but for anyone who would ever have to be put there.

The training for working that room involves first in having enough antibodies in your own system to fight the disease. So, every couple of months your blood is drawn and tested for antibodies against the diseases that would land a patient in isolation. I have none...so, I have to be injected with antibodies in a series of shots and to this day I am trying to build up antibodies in order to be able to work the isolation room. To date, I cannot. I do not have enough antibodies. They will just keep injecting me until I do...but it is up to my body. I just took another "shot" and my blood will be drawn in 30 days. I can't wait for that 30 days. I have never wanted anything so bad in my life. I want to be able to work isolation. The other nurses think I am crazy and resent me for not having to work it. They think I should enjoy not having to work in such a place with such "people."

If you work the room you look like a Space Man in all the protective garb you have to wear. Last but not least they instill a fear in you for working with those patients in order for you to be on your guard at all times against becoming infected yourself. It's all necessary I suppose. In the clinic I worked in before we did not have "isolation" however in this clinic we do. It has been empty until a few months ago...

The room has clear glass for walls and one day "Miss V" I will call her, came in having various ailments that required her to be in isolation. She had just found out about a few weeks before and having no health care most of her life her decline into Kidney failure was swift and even though she had been sick for years it was still unexpected that her life would take such a turn. To describe her and the lifestyle reported to us isn't necessary. I think it would go without explaining. She was young and obviously very depressed. She literally lost every friend in the world save a few. She walked by all the patients and took her place in "isolation." Everyone knows when there is a patient in that room and that they are pretty sick. The room is in view of all the patients so basically you are on display. It's not on purpose..it's just that Architecturally and how the water is delivered it is necessary for the room to be where it is. Most patients are afraid of anyone that is put there. To say that a patient like that is shunned..is an understatement. The nurses also are in various states of how they feel about her..and the room. It's very obvious to anyone...it is a stressful situation for all involved.

Miss V and I haven't spoken much due to my not having antibodies. All that I can do is go up to the clear glass and put my hand on it..and look at her and mouth the words "need anything".."or how are you?" I do it often. I noticed that she usually doesn't come in with any food so a few times I have held up peanut butter crackers or something and she has shaken her head yes and smiled, something she doesn't do very often. ..and the other nurses will garb up and bring them to her...all the while complaining that I shouldn't do that. Sometimes I just turn around and go cry because why shouldn't I?

I remember being in "isolation" albeit in my own head. Staying away from everyone because I thought that I was too "diseased" to be part of folks who seem to have it all together. I still fight that disease to this day. I am glad that I have learned that God isn't afraid of me..and doesn't have to suit up to take care of me. I am glad that God has all the antibodies of unconditional love to walk right in my heart and through his son say...eat my body..drink my blood..remember this. Everything about me is for your benefit..so that you may know how much your are loved..and then picks up a towel and washes my feet..and the dust and disease of this world is of no matter to God..he brings something that transcends glass walls and protective garb of religious rules and falling short of grace that others preach will separate us. This is what I want to bring to Mrs. V in the isolation room.. Until then..the love of God will be sent in with Peanut Butter Crackers and hand on the glass....

Yesterday Miss V came in and was very ill. She got through part of her treatment and it was decided that she would need to be examined at a hospital. It took a while to find a "ride" for her. She is usually delivered to treatment by various people in her sphere. A young lady came and I told her what was going on. I hadn't seen her before. The hospital that treats our patients is in a bigger city and is around 40 miles away. The young girl did not know that it was going to be that far...but here is what she said.

"When I was little and had no one to take care of me..Miss V did. I have some make up in the car that doesn't work for me. I am going to take it back to Wal Mart and then I will have the gas to take her to the Hospital." I was so overcome with emotion I had to leave the floor and go outside. I have been a wreck every since. The love of God is amazing isn't it. In the least of these that we would throw away as unnecessary in our little worlds of comfort..God is still at work in every heart..every soul. Love makes a way when there seems to be no way...

For now...I am praying for antibodies and until I get them I will give her Peanut Butter Crackers...and a hand on the glass. If you think that what we have for healthcare right now is acceptable in our country...shame on you. I have one thing to say..."the least of these..you have done it unto me.."

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hallelujah! beautiful story of the way the Holy Spirit works both in true believers and 'the least of these' around us.

Chris Welch said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

Christine has embarked on a career in nursing.To get experience fefore Uni, and now on University placements she is looking with a Christ eye on the patients she is serving.This extraordinary dynamic that Mother Teresa, and yourself and Bonnie Morris and Stephanie report on has to be experienced to be fully understood: whatsoever we do for a Christ one....basically anyone born under the sun...is serving Christ Himself. This makes more sense not less sense the more we understand that being born again is awakening to who we are, who God made us....rather than signing our allegiance to a leftbrain 4spiritual Law type of dry teaching.Just because people do not know God sustains every single atom with His Word of power, does not mean atoms suddenly cease to be....it's just man's stubborn ignorance as to what is real.