To do: witness

I have been so burned out on nursing for the past few years. It would seem that nursing is all emotional highs and bonding experiences, but the truth is that bedside nursing, especially in acute care situations, is mostly a thankless job made up of repetitive tasks. For example, my current position consists of the following: gown, glove, enter room, perform tasks, degown, deglove, move to next room, gown, glove, enter room, perform tasks.....etc etc ad nauseum.

It's only occasionally that I seem to get thrown an experience that touches my heart. This morning I had one of those experiences that reminded me of the grave importance of what it is that I do. It may seem like I'm only being a nurse most days, but the reality is that I get to nurse people. I get to be present during the most intimate and vulnerable moments of a persons life. I get to see things that no other person on earth gets to see with these people and participate in parts of their lives that are reserved for the closest of the close. I am present during pivotal, life-changing moments. Sometimes when you're in the midst of it, it's easy to forget what a monumental blessing and privelege that is.

Yesterday evening when I received report on one of my patients, I was told that they had made him a do not resucitate and are going to do a terminal wean on him today (which means basically that they are going to turn off the ventilator and let God make the decision aka turning off life support). It made sense to me and at first it was no big deal, but as the night went on my heart became a little heavy for him. How do you fill out a careplan with short & long-term goals for someone when you know they won't be around another day? What do you say to someone when you know that in a few hours they won't be here anymore?

It was on my mind most of the night and as I sat there doing my paperwork, I pulled out my report sheet and wrote "witness" on my to-do list. Right there on the list of "sign off meds, chart check, new tube feed bags," etc was the word witness just like it was any other menial task to be done before the end of my shift. The thing is, it wasn't just A task, it was THE task to make sure I completed before going home. I just couldn't go home and sleep knowing that this person was going to pass today and not have spoken to them about Jesus.

You wanna know the neat part? This guy has been relatively unresponsive for the two days I've taken care of him....until I started talking to him about this. After talking to him for a few minutes about this (acting as if he could hear me just fine), he opened his eyes, turned his head and looked me square in the eyes, listening as intently as if his life depended on it...which in a way it did, didn't it? I hope he heard what I shared with him. Really heard it. At the end when I asked him if he was a Christian, he barely managed to shake his head yes. I really hope he is. If so, this will be the best day of his life.


chell said…
Veronica, I just wanted to tell you how awesome I think you are. I love you, Chell
Thank you. *sniff* I love you too...and miss you tons.
Greg said…
Wow, I can't imagine the reunion on the other side when they run up to meet you and thank you so sincerely for sharing the gospel with them!
ok, so I'm sitting here crying and thinking what a wonderful friend I have. Love you sweetheart!