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Earlier this year I read a quote or meme that said something like:
Jesus doesn’t want us to suffer. He may not take away our suffering but He is with us while we suffer.
That statement came to my mind as I sat in a hospital bed on the neurology floor this summer. After 3 emergency room visits and being admitted to the hospital twice, the doctors finally insisted on giving me a lumbar puncture.
I was terrified. I thought the waiver I was signing was me saying,
“yep, might get paralyzed and never walk again”.
But the headaches weren’t going away and I couldn’t move my left arm or most of my face.
It was the middle of August and I had been sick most of the summer. The blood tests, CAT Scans and MRI’s didn’t provide any answers.
I had to get this procedure done.
As I sat in that hospital bed waiting for the neurologist to set up, I silently said a prayer.
I asked Jesus to allow me to feel His presence during this spinal tap.
I thought, okay, this has to happen – the suffering has to happen – but it won’t be that bad if I feel Jesus with me.
After my prayer the Physician’s Assistant explained how the procedure would be done. The neurologist explained that if it didn’t work there was another way method they would try.
Side note: This doctor was so serious. It was clear to me he had been doing this work for a long time. I tried to make him laugh several times, but, he would just look at me.
At this point I had a new nurse enter the room that I had not officially met yet. He put on surgical gloves and stood by the window.
I sat down as I was directed on the edge of my bed, and that new nurse took my hand.
Then the serious doctor, who had not cracked a smile for any of my jokes told me
“don’t worry, I’ve done this at least 3 times”.
He then threw in another one liner, “I saw someone do this on Youtube once”.
I laughed. That was really funny – and he does have a sense of humor. I was slightly more relaxed.
Like 1% more relaxed.
I was numbed, then the actual spinal tap occurred.
The needle hit a nerve and the whole right side of my body involuntarily twinged.
I grabbed that nurse’s hand and almost pulled him to the floor (Oh my goodness am I paralyzed???? ran through my head)
I held that hand so tight.
The doctor pulled the needle out and re-inserted it again. He didn’t seem to phased that I just almost got paralyzed.
I continued to squeeze this nurse’s hand with not only my left hand that he was holding, but my right hand that had grabbed his arm when the crazy twinge thing happened.
I was so grateful my hand was being held. I wasn’t expecting that, but boy was I grateful.
After it was over and I realized I was not paralyzed, I thanked this nurse for his act of kindness.
I also apologized for practically throwing him on the floor.
The doctor and the P.A. left and as I sat there in my room I thought about how grateful I was that nurse held my hand.
Then I remembered my prayer.
I thought about that nurse. He was the first male nurse I had in my crazy hospital adventure so far. I wondered, with humor, if his initials were “JC”. I thought, he definitely looks like he’s in his 30’s too. I thought, wouldn’t it be funny if he was 33?
I continued to think about that little prayer I said.
Huh. I never thought I would physically feel Jesus with me – but Jesus used that nurse’s hand to answer my prayer!
I eventually asked the nurse his name.
He said “Justin”. His last name does not begin with C but his first initial is J!
Justin was an amazing nurse. I was lucky to have him most of the week I was on that floor and in that hospital.
His kindness was a wonderful act. He didn’t have to be in that room during the spinal tap and he certainly didn’t have to hold my hand.
When I was transferred to another hospital about a week later, I had to have another lumbar puncture. I asked if someone could hold my hand. The doctor looked at me strangely and said, “I guess we could arrange that”. Then I asked my nurse if she would stay and hold my hand. It was clear this was an unusual request.
I believe Justin ‘s kindness came from a place of Christian love. That same love probably inspires him to make a difference to his patients every day.
Justin, if you are reading this – I owe you (and Myron, and Conrad, and Maria) a dozen donuts and a thank you card.
Who are Myron, Conrad and Maria? I hope to tell you in another post . . . stay tuned.
If you’d like to hear more about my hospital stay this summer, I recommend this post: The Power of One Rosary
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