She exclaimed a little “Ooohh…,” surprised with the landing of small dab of cold gel on her lower abdomen despite my warning prior to squeezing the little bottle. Laying on the exam table, I encouraged this young female inmate to take deep breaths and try to relax as I scanned the tiny Doppler being glided by my right hand, finding the right spot to make her baby in the womb’s heartbeat to be audible.
“There you go! Can you hear it?”
“Yes, Ma’am…”as I made her look at the number that registered in the Doppler.
“147-155 beats per minute…That’s good.”
This inmate was 4 months pregnant, complaining of right flank pain. She was just sent to the hospital for the same reason. They told her that her ligament was being stretched so it was hurting on that spot. She was trying to tough it out yesterday, not demanding despite the continuous pain that bothered her all day. Until she could not stand it anymore and worries overcame her than calm. Pressing the call button in her tiny cell, she requested to be seen by us, medical staff.
“Everything was good. You didn’t have any bleeding. Your vital signs are normal. And your urine was normal too except I noticed it was concentrated. Try to drink more water so you won’t have Urinary Tract Infection.”
“You’re right, I was not drinking as much. I’ll try…”she softly uttered as she got up from the table, with both of us separated from any one’s eyes with the drape I pulled all the way to cover the door.
I knew she was incarcerated for helping in a gang activity. But I wasn’t afraid of her. I knew I must not be talking with her in friendly manner because it was in the prison’s policy to not make the inmates feel that they were being befriended. Silence. Just her and I in that Exam room filled with all medical supplies. The thought of my Highest Supervisor witnessing both of us…as she started venting out.
“I read the Bible a lot so Ma’am, I’m not afraid. I know that God has a plan and that everything happens for a reason.” She tried to look me straight in the eye, trying to see my reaction.
Remaining calm and perhaps, spilling a little joy from my eyes, she sensed that upon her mention of the word Bible and God.
“That is true. Everything you said…God is good…You got any other kids? You don’t have to answer me if you don’t want to,” I reminded her.
“Oh, no. I feel comfortable with you Ma’am. Yes, I have 2 small kids still at home. My husband is also here (in the prison).”
“Yes…I think of my children a lot…”
“You believe in God and you read the Bible. That is a great thing to have. He does have a great plan for all of us. But we must also do our part….(long pause as she bowed her head then looked up again and instead of standing up, remained eager to hear the rest of my statement sitting down on the edge of the table)…It starts with making the right choices. You’re still young and you have a baby to be brought out of this world and the other two back home needing their parents.”
“I’m sorry…I can’t let you stay here for a long time though I still want to talk to you…”
“I understand, Ma’am. I know the rules here…Thank you so much for your help…”
She took a sip of the small glass of water I offered when she first walked in…
“One more request, Ma’am…”
“Would you please pray for me, as a ‘sister-in-Christ?” she smiled shyly, as if making a big and impossible demand.
“I always do…”
“Even for those who don’t know Christ yet…”
I let her out of a metal door and her body mingled with those other who came down to have their blood sugar levels checked inside the Infirmary. I saw her leave the Clinic amid the big throng of orange-uniformed women, marching back to the corridors that led to their units.
“Oh, Lord…Please help her…and all these women know Your love and grace. Help them find their true freedom despite being locked up. The freedom that comes from You…Thank You Lord…”
“Are you okay, Rcubes?” asked one of the people who I discerned to be a part of those who had been giving me a hard time regarding my job.
“Yeah, I’m okay…”
“Are you sure?”
I was intimidated with her question. I sensed she wanted me to relate more regarding my battle at work and find out the difficulty or any hardship I was going through. But these things did not matter anymore to me at this point. After meeting that inmate and other past events, I knew God was always in control. For me to think of their senseless evil ploys would be just useless. It was that inmate and others like her that mattered to me more than my own battle at work against some people trying to imprison my spirit with invisible walls of hate, wanting me to be a part of their schemes…
“Yes, I’m sure…because God is good…” I spoke with certainty.
It was her turn to be silent…But in my heart I would always remember that she and the others, too, who were abusing their power at work were also in big need of prayers…
For they don't know...my sister-in-Christ incarcerated was truly free...
may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need
12 and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation
but rescue us from the evil one.” – Matthew 6:5-13 (NLT)