Weeks after I was overdosed by my nurse, I was still unable to get out of bed without help. I couldn’t raise my head off my pillow, let alone get up to the bathroom on my own. Most of the nursing staff was incredibly understanding and compassionate. On one particular day though, the floor was overwhelmingly busy, and my nurse was openly frustrated by her demanding load. During morning rounds, she told me she had way too many patients to cover and if I needed to, “used the potty” I just needed to, “do it on my own”. Not wanting to be a bother I didn’t use my nurse call button for several hours. Finally when I did buzz, no answer came. I found our later two patients had coded one right after another. It was a very bad day on the floor indeed. At the time though, I didn’t know why my calls were going unanswered and after being harmed by a nurse weeks before, my unanswered calls felt like salt in very open wounds.
For the next several hours I tried to get up to get to the porta-potty just beside my bed but every time I did, the room would spin and my head would feel as though it was exploding with horrible pain. Finally, my body couldn’t wait any longer and I had an explosive accident all over my bed, the floor and myself. I wept and wept and wept. Horrified and embarrassed, as I dragged my head on the ground towards the sink so I could get cleaned up, I heard the door swing open. I cringed ready to hear my day-shift nurse scold me for making such a mess but instead I felt a soft embrace surround me. “Oh Sweetie, let me help you.” I instantly recognized the voice of my night-shift nurse who had prayed with me two nights before. “Don’t move. Let me get you a pillow.” Soon I felt a soft pillow being pushed under my head and then a cool cloth gently placed over my eyes. As she quietly worked, she never once made me feel embarrassed or ashamed. Gently, she wrapped me in warm towels and blankets to stop my shivers. Without complaint she changed my bed and mopped my floor. She then helped me back to bed and gently washed my hair and combed it while she sang, Jesus Loves You, quietly and oh so softly. Finally, as she administered my pain medication and I began to drift off to sleep, she prayed, with tears streaming down her face, that the Lord would turn such a painful, unjust experience into good.
For the next 2 nights that same nurse came and sat with me, prayed with me and wept with me. She listened to my confusion about what happened. When I stammered she patiently waited for the right words to come out. When I wrestled with God’s faithfulness she never questioned me. She never shamed me for my physical, emotional or spiritual state. Instead, she faithfully loved me in a way that I imagine Jesus would have if he had sat there himself and in doing so — I. WAS. FOREVER. CHANGED.
Soon I was transferred to a different hospital and I’ve never had the privilege of speaking to my
angel in disguise nurse again. Her legacy in my life lives on though. When I have the opportunity to talk to those who are hurting, I attempt to love them as well as she loved me. To this day, I seek to shine Jesus as vibrantly as she did. I pray that I can enter into others pain as authentically and compassionately as she did. Why? Simply because when we choose to enter into other’s suffering as if it is our own — when we choose to carry other’s burdens — when we value other’s enough to stop what we are doing and only see them — lives are transformed and hope in Christ blossoms anew.
May we all be
angels in disguise people who enter who authentically enter into other’s suffering, carry each other’s burdens and be the catalyst to lives being transform and hope in Christ blossoming anew!