Sunday, May 2, 2010

Beautiful, terrible

Last weekend, as things were finally starting to get together, a middle aged lady checks in. She's been having some neck pain for some time now, and just can't seem to shake it. She's been going to her primary care doctor, but nothing has seemed to help. The doctor orders a couple of tests and some pain meds. Pretty routine ER stuff.

Then the call comes from the radiologist. They found a tumor- a massive one- on the lady's brain stem. Pretty grim diagnosis. Everyone kind of freaks, the charge nurse and the doctor are calling around to try to get the lady into a hospital that has a neuro ICU. The doctor goes in and delivers the news. We expect disbelief. Tears. Hysteria.

Everyone is a little dumbfounded when this isn't her reaction. She smiles, and says "It's alright! I'm just glad I know what the problem is. I've got the Lord in my life. I know I'm gonna be okay." We get the transfer in order, and she leaves peacefully, waving and thanking the staff.

Wow. That's real faith. A lot of us say we believe in God, but to believe in him enough to face a death sentence out of nowhere and still be completely unshaken? To leave for the neuro ICU via ambulance with a smile on your face? I'm certainly not there.
I've talked about this a little before- being here really shows you what people are capable of. And not usually in a good way. Usually I see the selfishness and cruelty people are capable of. The stupidity and ignorance and the most disgusting kinds of manipulation. I wish I could adequately describe what it feels like when through all that, you see the best of what people are capable of. It's almost like a punch in the stomach. It absolutely takes your breath away. I'm still crying thinking about this woman. I usually feel pretty good about myself compared to all the awful people. But putting myself next to someone with a heart this pure, it's pretty humbling. It's a pretty good reminder that I'm not so great, and I have a lot of growing to do before I can be anywhere near as awesome as some of the patients I take care of.


  1. Wow! Gave me goosebumps! There are some pretty amazing people out there aren't there!

  2. Wow. Just wow.

    Someday maybe I'll be there too.

  3. It's patients like her that keep you coming back and make you forget about all the riff-raff.