Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday 2/9/10 - "LIFE UNPREDICTED"

"LIFE UNPREDICTED"

Probably the biggest lessons I receive from visiting patients in the hospital as a pastoral care assistant are the constant reminders that life is totally unpredictable. Unexpected happenings can come from any quarter at any time. Circumstances of such an unpredictable nature often bring people to the hospital.

I visited a man in critical care yesterday. He was totally lucid with four IV stands positioned at his right side with maybe 6 or more lines running to his chest where they were providing his body with the solutions he needed to live. When I enter a room I have no idea why the person is there unless they choose to tell me. This was his story:

I was with him a long time, almost an hour. It took that long to piece together his story. At least three nurses attended him as we talked. They gave permission for me to be there. I will call this gentleman Bud. The first two things he told me over and over were that he had no feeling at all in his arms and he could not move them. He also kept telling me he was a "terminal case". I asked if they had told him that and he said, "no", but he just knew it was so. I came to believe over the course of my time with him that what he may have been really saying was that if he could not use his arms, it might as well be terminal. (Just a guess on my part.)

Bud proceeded to tell me through the course of our visit what happened. Somehow he became trapped between the toilet tank and the wall in his home where he lives alone. His arms were pinned in an upward position. He just kept yelling for help hoping a neighbor would hear him. I don't know how long he was there, but it was a long time. Finally someone heard him and the fire department came. They had a very difficult time freeing him.

His kidneys weren't functioning either. Though he told me he was a "terminal case", when I offered to pray with him and asked what he might want me to pray for, he said the return of his health. I so understood this. The mind was thinking the worse, but the spirit was hoping for the best. We talked about feelings of powerlessness and the power of God's love.

I have seen so many situations both in this volunteer job and when I worked in nursing homes where people were clearly on their way out of this life and then suddenly they rally. The number of days of our lives are unpredictable.

Maybe I ended up staying with him so long so I could meet his daughter who arrived just before I was ready to leave. It was a blessing. I had prayed with her father alone and then she and I were able to pray with him as well. I found out from her that when her father underwent surgery one of the things that was determined was that there was no dead tissue in his arms. There is hope. Will he live? Will he die? Will he regain the use of his arms? Only God knows. I do know he is getting the best possible care available and if it is God's will, he will live and recover the use of his arms.

The message of the day was unpredictability and "powerlessness". I am reminded every Monday of the blessings of good health and I am filled with gratitude. Because the unexpected can visit at any time, I want to stay connected to God. I practice the principles of the Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon programs and continue to work the 12 steps. They keep the power I lack available.

Thank you God for my health and the beautiful lessons you give me each Monday.

Prayer Girl
(Photo credit: Rusty leaf by Valinorri@deviantart.com)

13 comments:

Tall Kay said...

Such a beautiful reminder of how precious each and every day is. We just never know if today could be our last. My recent experience with losing my dad, has really made me aware of how unpredictable this life really is.

May we all be a little more kind to our fellows today. Very touching post PG.

Lou said...

Wonderful post. We don't know God's plan, so be grateful for today!

Andrea said...

GOD always speaks loudly to my heart when I take my therapy dogs into hospitals and nursing homes.

Blessings, andrea

Felicitas said...

I'm sure Bud really appreciated having you with him PG. Life is unpredictable but knowing that we are not alone often makes our struggles easier to face.

Kim A. said...

What a calm and reassuring presence you bring to those who need it. I am so grateful that you found one of your gifts and are living it.

Namaste

Syd said...

I hope that he makes it. None of us knows how long we have to live. That's why I try to make each day count for something.

Brian Miller said...

love hearing these little moments when you touch a life...you have such the heart...

Kay said...

powerlessness...a potent word, thought, indeed. your constant reminders and thoughts are powerful, though :)

Susan said...

Gratitude. For your posts today and yesterday and always. I so appreciate your writing and your sharing. You are a blessing to those you minister to and to all of us who read your blog! Thanks!

Kathy M. said...

Wow. What a great story. I am sure Bud feels blessed to have that time with you. I love how you drew gratitude from him in return. You are an inspiration. God with skin on. Bless you.

Kristin H. said...

Thank you for sharing your day with me, PG. I love the fact that you were able to spend so much time with Bud. No matter what happens, I imagine he will remember you.

sarah said...

I work in a hospital...I see what you wrote here all the time....I always think...but for the grace of God there go I. Life is unpredictable. God let me live...now, like you, I want to shine for others to have hope. You inspire PG. You really inspire. Sarah

Dapoppins said...

Awesome to look at such a painful thing and yet fine hope in the future.