A recognition and thank you.
I have spent a few hours in the ER today, not for my neighbor but for myself. Apparently a 3 day virus has taken over the city. That, on top of horrendous sun and heat that has knocked everything and everyone here down, took its toll on me. I left ‘early’ because there were 18 people waiting in the hallways of the ER proper and I had yet to be called back. I had been through triage and had an IV in but felt I could make it back home and nurse myself. I am sipping ginger ale and nibbling crackers..
I told the nurse who spoke to me last that I had previously written an essay titled “The Hospital is a Holy Place.” I think she anticipated that it was criticism. I pointed out to her that I had observed much compassion when I was here several months ago. She was credulous; she remarked that I must have been thinking of ICU or the Heart Center. No, I was talking about the patients and their families waiting in the outer waiting areas. She found that difficult to believe so I will attempt to pass this and that other essay along to the ER staff…somehow.
As I drove home, though, I remembered that my previous essay did not say much about the staff of the ER…if at all. Granted, I was writing about what I observed from the external waiting area because, as I was not family, I spent my time out there…not among the staff members. What I observed among the staff today was a great deal of tension and signs of strain, stress, and (although swift, alert, and competent) emotional stretching. I am not implying today was atypical but what I saw caused my soul to desire to extend compassion and gratitude to the staff of the ER.
No one was short-tempered with me. In fact, the technician/nurse who inserted (and then later removed) my IV, or maybe it was someone else, added that if I need to come back, they are always open.
So, this post is dedicated to them…the devoted staff of the Anmed Health Medical Center Emergency Room.
As I rested in the post-triage waiting area, my thoughts drifted to my previous visit and how I had been poised to address whatever Jesus pointed out to me. So, I queried in my heart, “Are you here, Jesus?” As Jesus is omni-present, omniscient, and omni-personal, of course He was there. But I sensed His focus was elsewhere…not on me. I took that to mean I would be fine. So, I turned my intention to what He may have been focusing on. My first suspicion was to the enormous amount of suffering and intense emotion felt by all of the patients throughout the whole hospital…not just the ER. Then I wondered in rhetorical amazement: How do You handle all of the trauma, pain, and need…not only in this hospital but in all hospitals as well as in this world? That just made me feel dizzier and weaker.
But now that I am home, I speculate the He was just as concerned with the members of the staff. Many times during my wait I overheard calls concerning the need for immediate attention at various entrances, transport areas, and sections of the ER. These men and women were spread thin and stretched to the max…but their service and skill never showed it…not that I noticed. They were not overly chatty or smiling, but when I spoke to them, I had their undivided attention. They did not rush me along or dismiss my situation but seemed to have a keen ability to prioritize and assess. In other words, they were sharp, keen, and on top of a very bad situation. They did their jobs well, and I commend them.
I still feel compassion toward the woman who found it difficult to believe that I had observed compassion among the patients duri9ng my previous visit. I overheard concern among strangers in the post-triage area today, as well. I hope those interested will go to my previous essay and gain from my observations.
(Jesus, bless those capable and over-extended staff members, individually, if you would, because I am also aware that they have families, bills, worries, and illnesses of their own. They seemingly give 175% to their vocations and we benefit from it and never, or almost never, say thank you.)