I had been in Toledo St. Vincent Hospital for 15 hours and I was so sick. As long as I just laid in bed and allowed the oxygen being fed into my nose to work — I could at least breathe. Even a short 5 foot walk to the restroom exhausted me and left me gasping for breath. I longed to talk with someone about my condition. Just how bad was the viral pneumonia in my lungs? Should I be concerned about receiving 5 liters of oxygen or not? How long would I be hospitalized? But there had been no one to ask… I still hadn’t seen a doctor yet.
But then, Noah’s shift began at 7PM. He was to be my night nurse. What a soothing balm he was to my soul. As he saw to my IV’s and medications, made sure that I was comfortable in my bed and that I had all that I needed, he chatted away… sometimes about my condition… but mostly just chit-chat.
He assured me that I was doing ok. Five liters of oxygen was really not that bad… and it hadn’t needed to be increased all day long and that was good. I was a healthy person with no other medical issues in my life. He told me in no uncertain terms that recovery was just days away for me and that everything was going to be ok. That night I thanked God for Noah, over and over again.
The next four days my day shift nurse was Selena. Selena is a real life super-hero! At least, I think so. She took such good care of me. She has been caring for COVID patients since the pandemic began over 15 months ago and SHE KNEW HER STUFF! Certainly all my medications were prescribed by the Virologist Specialist that was my doctor, but Selena was given charge of gradually weaning me of my oxygen support as I regained my strength because she had done it for others dozens of times. She took great delight in doing this in a sneaky, sneaky fashion… turning my oxygen feed down secretly then telling me later… “you have only been on 3 liters for the last hour, by the way.”
Selena is a single mom with young children. I prayed for her every day and told her that I was. I shared with her how Jesus had rescued my soul and how if he could do that for me, he could do it for anyone. And, I invited her and her kids to come spend a day with Lauri and I out on the Lake… I hope so much that she does.
I had some other care-givers as well, but you know what I learned? While grateful to each doctor and nurse… some are obviously just doing a job… and others… well… they are living out a calling. You can really tell the difference too. Some people, like Noah and Selena, just have a deeper level of compassion and are gifted to care for others who are ill. I have always respected those who work in the medical fields… and if that is you… I have a much higher respect today. Noah and Selena helped me see that. By the way, both Noah and Selena contracted COVID while caring for their patients.
For the follower of Jesus, we have all been called to have compassion for others (see Matthew 25 and Luke 10) and we have all been given at least one spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12). Today we begin a new four week emphasis on Acts 1:8. Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Christians are called to be like Christ… and we are gifted by the Holy Spirit to do what Jesus calls us to do. How has the Holy Spirit gifted you? What has God called you to do? How are you a witness for Jesus? Because just like a good nurse… when you are living out a calling… it’s obvious to everyone else.