Unit 15 - the unit that housed inmates with special medical and mental health care needs was located across the hallway from our jail’s Infirmary. It was one of those busy nights when things seemed to be overwhelming for Nursing staff. There were lots of doctor’s orders to be noted, the lines constantly rang and sick inmates came down requesting to be seen and treated by the Nursing staff.
A radio call broke out amidst the busyness inside the Clinic:
“Charge Nurse! Can you 87 [meet] Unit 15?”
“Charge Nurse copy! En route!,” I answered swiftly.
With another staff nurse who eagerly wanted to help me, we found 2 deputies holding down an unconscious old man on the cold floor, as the Unit 15 nurse tried to assess why he was that way. The male deputy was doing his routine checks, when he saw the man lying on the floor, inside his cell, not responding but kept moaning and had an involuntary movement with his right arm.
As we, nurses split with interventions to help the man, I started the oxygen right away via mask thinking of maintaining his airway first. The other nurse started an IV and applied a neck collar. I stepped out to go to the unit’s clinic and took his chart and started the paperworks for the inmate to be brought to ER. I called for an ambulance, Code 3 [which meant it was critical].
That man was known for being feisty with deputies. There were days that he would try to spit on the window or call the deputies some disrespectful names. When the deputy found him on the floor, he knew right away that he wasn’t playing around. He was only housed alone so an assault was not possible.
His pupils were reacting within normal limits as I shone my penlight over his eyes. But we knew he just sustained some kind of head trauma. He must have fallen, and hit his head hard on something... I decided to slip my gloved hands under his head. There were no bleeding nor lacerations anywhere. The digits of both of my hands felt something uneven...There was a huge BUMP on his left side of the back of his head. Immediately, I knew, he had some bleeding inside his head. This became a very critical moment for that inmate.
As ambulance took him away stabilized on a C-Spine board [cervical spine board that prevents movement of head if head injury is suspected], we remained wondering how his injury was sustained. In the chart, there was no listed medical problem nor mental health problem except for a history of polysubstance abuse.
When the man reached ER, he was immediately taken into surgery to have the bleeding controlled and prevent that bump from getting bigger. He remained non-responsive.
This incident reminds me that there are also times in our life’s journeys when we sustain bumps and make us confused regarding our spiritual walk with God.
“It is not a matter of right and wrong, but a matter of God taking you through a way that you temporarily do not understand. And it is only by going through the spiritual confusion that you will come to the understanding of what God wants for you.” ~ Oswald Chambers
When we sustain those bumps that make us non-responsive to God’s request for our obedience and as we become weaker in faith sometimes, let us allow God to do that special surgery for Him to remove those bumps.
In the meantime, during that confusion, let us remain trusting in Jesus and stand firm in this faith we believe in…
Isaiah 42:16 - “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” [NIV]
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 himself and ended up injuring his attacker severely.
[Source: NLT 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].