Working nightshift at this correction facility I've been in for nine years, it is expected that we see inmates who feel ill at night, time to time. It's hard sometimes as we don't have a doctor on board. We can consult an on-call physician if we need to.
So, one easy-going night can turn chaotic just like that, depending on requests received from different units whose inmates are requesting to be seen by the medical staff. Some are real, and some have fake complaints.
One night, I received a call from one of the units and this man was complaining of chest pain that just wouldn't go away after dinner. Escorted by the deputy, I saw the big man came through the double door. I motioned for him to go through a particular door that led to the clinic so I could start assessing him and start taking his vital signs. I had a small brown bottle of nitroglycerin nearby if I needed to give it depending on my assessment. So, as I was taking his blood pressure reading, I started asking him.
"How bad was your pain and where is it located?"
Inmate: "Really bad, ma'am. I can't sleep. It started after dinner. Right here. [while he started moving his right arm up and down pointing from the front of neck down to mid-abdomen where the stomach is located]."
"What did you have for dinner? Was there anything new that you might have eaten or anything irritable like too spicy kind of food?" [All the vital signs were normal at this time]...
Inmate: "Come to think of it, yes, I did have a lot of coffee."
"Hmmm....Did you have any history of heartburn or any problem with stomach from the past?"
Inmate: thinking for a while, "yes."
"I'm glad you said that because I see it from your chart that you do have a history of taking a pill specifically for heartburn. I know that it's not a heart problem now but more of your heartburn."
Inmate: "I'm sorry ma'am. I just didn't know what it was. I thought it was chest pain."
"That's okay. If you don't request to be seen, then we will never find out. That's why we're here is to help you with those kinds of things. Let me ask you further, if I may. Was there anything that happened in your unit or something today that might have precipitated to your stomach ache?"
Inmate: "What do you mean, ma'am?"
"I'm just saying that it's not only irritable foods that might give you an ache, but also any form of worrying or anxiety, like if someone was threatening you, I want to know, so I can have the custody staff help you in that aspect. Maybe have you be moved to another cell if needed."
Inmate: "Ma'am....paused....long sigh....You're right....I went to court this morning. I was so scared because I didn't know what the sentence would be like. I didn't want to be incarcerated for a very long time and so, I was worried the whole time until I saw the judge. We just started with the trial so I don't know the result yet." [I gave him a concoction of 3 kinds of liquid medicine that would help with his stomach pain at this time].
"Sir, that's understandable. To not know the outcome. But no amount of medications can help you not unless you help yourself first. Try to relax and just take it, one trial at a time. If you feel like you need something to help you calm down or sleep, you can ask for us to see you again or you can let me know now so I can get you the appropriate help that you need."
Inmate:appearing more relaxed at this time, "I feel better now. I think I want to go back to my unit now. Thank you so much, nurse."
"You're welcome and I hope that you will always feel better. Relax...Don't forget."
The haggard face gave me a smile back.
Are you like this person, feeling anxious for any uncertainties in your life? Worrying about the future? Scared about how you would come up with the mortgage payment now that the interest rate had gone higher? Fearful of not having enough income to pay for your bills? Worried about your failing health? Anxious about the future of your marriage? Worried about your children who are not heeding your advices? I can go on and on...
The problem with that inmate was not from something that he ate but "from what's eating him up."
We all have an on-call "Physician", too Who we can call on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He knows our needs and He can surely help what's ailing us. Hand over the storms in your life to the Hands Who will calm them for you.
Matthew 6:25 -""Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
Matthew 6:27 -"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?"
James 1:2 -"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds"
Psalm 94:19 -"When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."
1 Peter 5:7 -"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
The Attacker (5/15/09)
The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies.
Out in the prison’s yard, some huge Sheriff’s buses were illuminated by the soft glow coming from the lights all over from the tall lamp posts. Their engines were turned on, warming up, before the buses would take the inmates to the different courts where they would have their trials.
Orange-uniformed men were lined up in pairs, joined together with handcuffs and chained, forming a long line. They already had their breakfast and had their morning medications prior to going to courts. Some were fidgeting, as they waited to board those buses.
All of a sudden, all hell broke loose! Two men were engaged in a fight, using weapons they made secretly for a while. Deputies called for help on the radio, both for custody back-up and medical staff, as well.
When the air was cleared and the other inmates were secured, one man was down on the floor. He sustained multiple gashes but two of them were deep. One cut was vertically etched from his left ear going down to the jaw line. The other dangerous cut was horizontal on his left neck, close to the jugular vein. Pool of blood dripped all over the floor. Holding his bleeding neck, he was pointing at the other inmate few feet away, being guarded by the other deputies.
The other man being accused was not hurt. There were no lacerations nor any other signs of trauma. He was obviously very agitated as he was being questioned by those deputies, while the medical staff started treating the other man on the floor. They cleaned the wounds and controlled the bleeding. That man was sent to the nearby hospital.
When the investigation was finalized, it turned out to be that the “downed man who was accusing the other inmate” was the attacker and the other one who didn’t have injury was the one attacked. The deputies found out that it was the second attempt to attack the unhurt man. Both attacks on him failed. He was well-prepared after the first attempt on him, that when the second attempt was done, he was able to defend himseld and ended up injuring his attacker severely.
[Source: Life Application Bible]:
We also have an “accuser of the brethren.” Satan and his army of demons are the enemies of God and of everything good.
“Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.” –Hebrews 2:14
Because of what Jesus had done [dying on the cross], we, who live in constant fear of death shouldn’t be afraid anymore. Jesus had freed us from that fear so we can live for Him. When we belong to God, we know that death is only the portal that leads into “eternal life”. [“Thank You Lord!].
Paul warned us, too that we also battle against the evil forces of Satan, who is a vicious fighter. But to be able to withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. We face an army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, they become our enemies. They will try any device to turn us away from the Lord.
Fear not! For God has provided His supernatural power to defeat Satan and his army, through His Holy Spirit within us. So, arm yourselves with God’s armor.
Let us be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Let's put on His whole armor to resist the enemy's attacks: put on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that we are well-prepared. We will need faith in every battle as our shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed by Satan and his army. Let us put on salvation as our helmet, not forgetting the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let's pray at all times, on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all Christians everywhere. [Ephesians 6:10-18].