“Hello? Nurse Rcubes. May I help you?”
“Hi Nurse. We have an inmate here who accidentally cut his finger from the serrated edges of the plastic wrap as he was wrapping the food trays. We had been putting pressure for a while and it’s still bleeding a lot!,” was the jail cook’s reply.
“No problem. If he’s okay to come down here to the clinic, I’ll see him right away.”
“Thank you Nurse”.
A minute later, a tall, white, young male emerged holding on to his index finger of the left hand. I didn’t even ask, I immediately let him in, into the Exam Room. When I asked him to let go of the pressure, there was only a blood-soaked Band-aid dressing visible.
“Go ahead and remove the Band-aid, Sir,” I requested.
As I was doing a lot of things at the same time, like getting his vital signs right away and observing the wound, I started asking him some medical questions, too. The cut was not bleeding actively anymore when I saw it. However, in his set of vital signs, he had a low grade fever. I asked him if he had cold symptoms from the past days and he said he did, for about a couple of days. But he denied coughing or having trouble breathing.
I got concerned with his cold symptoms because of the last flu scare we had in the jail few weeks ago and with him, being in contact with other inmate workers and with preparation of food, I wanted to take him out for a few days so others would not get sick until we made sure that he wasn’t contagious. I handed a mask and to which he obliged right away.
I took another look into those glassy eyes.
“Sir, there’s more to those glassy eyes of yours. I know you’re not in pain from that minor cut and you’re not too sick. Would you like to tell me what’s going on, that is…pause… only if you want to tell me because it is still your right not to do so. I’m only wanting to help you the best I could.”
The head looked down. The facial expression turned to sadness. As good as he was with eye contact the whole time I was speaking with him, this time, he was looking at the floor.
With a sad tone of voice, he replied, “Ma’am…pause…You’re right. My mom just passed away on the 31st [July] from throat cancer. It hurts that I didn’t get to see her because I’m not out until October.” A deep sigh followed.
The jail is strict in implementing policies. The staff is not allowed to talk with inmates especially in friendly manners, as if they are friends. That prevents the staff from the possibility of developing close relationships with inmates. It is for safety concern. And I did hear a lot of stories that some of the staff ended up trying to help the inmate they became fond of, to escape.
That moment was crucial for me. I felt the higher policy that comes from the Highest Authority. He commands His children to love Him first, and then, love others, even our enemies. We are to shine our light so that those living in darkness still will tend to know that Source, which in turn, will give them the hope that they thought is forever lost, being in that dark place.
Staying calm with my composure, praying in my mind for the Lord to quietly guide me with what to say, I said, “I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. That must be difficult that you didn’t see your mother. But if you don’t mind me asking, how old is your mom and if you have a family?”
“Ma’am, you have no idea that I’m so glad that someone finally understands me. Of course, I don’t mind to tell you. My mom was 65 and yes, I’m married with 2 children and I miss them,” came the reply with an excited tone, this time his eyes met mine and he wasn’t backing down. His eyes lightened up.
[Back of my mind: “Lord, help me! What do I say now?”]
“No offense meant here, Sir. I don’t need to know why you’re here in the jail. But if there’s an opportunity for you to be released and start a new life, do so. I know life is so precious, and your mom had lived for 65 years, but you have a family waiting for you and that’s who you live for, especially your children. I’m sure they miss you, too.”
“You are so right, Ma’am. Thank you so much for everything. Thank you for treating me and talking with me. I feel better now. And yes, I will try not to be back here again. My family is important! And I learned so much…”
[Back of my mind: “Lord, may this man know You because I know that’s the only way he can change and be healed with his wound deep inside…”].
He went back to his unit after I took him off of work for a few days so he can properly grieve and rest to fight the cold symptoms. I had scheduled him for another nurse follow-up to make sure that he was not running a fever anymore and that, his cut was infection-free.
That man was not bleeding from his wound. He was bleeding and hurting in his heart! I saw that in him, just like the way God saw my wounded heart years ago. That “person” was grateful as he walked away from me. A “person” not an “inmate”. The way God looked at me: “His child” not an “enemy”.
There is no big wound that God can not heal…
He gave me beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise, instead of despair. Instead of awaiting my death penalty, He saved me and declared me “not guilty!” when I believed in His Son Jesus.
Yes, I am grateful that Someone understood me…Finally!
“I will tell of the Lord’s unfailing love. I will praise the Lord for all he has done.” -Isaiah 63:7
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].