“Rcubes, you’re doing the inside diabetics,” warned the Charge Nurse as I walked into the Clinic to start my shift. (It meant doing the blood sugar levels of those who could come down to the Clinic while another nurse goes to those who were locked up and not allowed to go out of their cells). I would have more diabetics than that other nurse.
“Okay. Thank you for telling me. Are all the units aware of who to send?”
“Yup! They got the lists of the names and the insulin was already pulled.”
“Awesome! Whoever drew the insulin,’thank you.’”
My skills seemed rusty at first, monitoring, getting the blood sugar levels, recording, then administering the needed dosage, adding if more insulin was needed. It seemed easy but not when there were fifty-something bodies that kept flooding the Infirmary’s waiting area, the scent of sweat pooling in the already stagnant atmosphere. But I needed that. I learned prioritizing through that, watchful for those who tried to get my attention and distract me. They were frustrated that their attention-grabbing manners were not succeeding. I remained careful and making sure I was getting all the “needles” they used to prick their fingers.
As I survived the first wave of these diabetics, I had a 3 hour window to prepare for the bedtime doses and prepare the names of those needing to check their sugar levels again before bedtime. As one body showed up after another, I only heard the last word “suicide”, a distress call from our radio and calling for medical staff’s help. I dropped everything and still wearing my pair of gloves, I saw the Charge Nurse grabbed the heavy medical emergency bag and I ran right behind her, the Deputy left to watch the things I left without any warning.
Down the hallway that led to one of the two female housing units, a hoard of female deputies came out, pushing an orange-suit clad female inmate wailing in tears, her wrists cuffed up behind her. They stopped in the middle of the hallway as they saw our pairs of feet rushing to meet theirs.
She was asking the Deputy something at first after chow time (meal). When the Deputy had advised her to wait as she was doing her logs (checking on all inmates), her cellie (cell-mate) buzzed the bell and told the bubble (those controlling the doors and security of that unit) that this inmate had cut her throat with a razor.
“Thank God, the wounds are superficial,” I uttered to the Charge Nurse watching me clean her vertical wound on the right side of the neck. The gauze gathered the few drops of blood that covered the cut. On the left side of her neck were three cuts, one with a little deeper wound and had more blood than the rest. I poured more saline to a fresh wad of gauze and she grimaced in pain as I barely touched those areas.
“I’m sorry, it’s gonna’ sting some,” I warned. As I got done cleaning her wounds and covering them with more fresh gauze, I could only put little pieces of tape to make the gauze stick to its place. She would be in constant monitoring after that because of her suicidal intention. She was placed in Suicide Watch and she had to wait until the Psychiatrist had to evaluate her and either keep her or release her from that cell.
As the female deputies continued to talk with her, with one yelling at her and asking her why she couldn’t wait, I could only pray for this precious life who was given a second chance by the One Who gave her life in the first place.
If people will only draw nearer to God, they will know that God’s plan is for life, not death…God is the Potter. We are the clay. In His hands we are constantly being spun, shaped, and reshaped. Those times when we are broken, it’s only His hands Who can fix those pieces. Only if we allow those Hands to change us and make us more like Jesus, that’s when we know our true life’s purpose. Through tears, we are being kept moist and through brokenness, that is when the power of the Cross works best. Only those willing broken vessels are used best by God. And that is our greatest gift to God.
“What we are is God's gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.” – Eleanor Powell