Asleep Or Ready?

Every second was becoming intense for every Nursing staff ready to assist each other. As I stood close to the Supervisor who was becoming more upset every second that had gone by. In front of us, a pregnant inmate was crying in pain, turned to the left side as we already started the Oxygen to boost her air supply in her lungs that went through those 2 prongs inside her nostrils. The IV had been slowly dripping, drop after drop of Normal Saline to hydrate her. Still…No sign of any paramedics. The Supervisor had called for “Code 3”. The highest radio call which meant the situation was of top priority and emergent in nature. 

“Awww! I want to push!” the lady’s wail interrupted our soft, frustrated conversation.

“Nurse R., please direct me what to do if the baby comes out. I was an Orthopedic Nurse, not an OB nurse,” I reminded the Supervisor, ready to lead the impending birth of a “son”, the inmate’s 7th pregnancy. 

The supervisor knew, the baby could come out any minute, as we smelled a strong smell of lochia slowly filling the entire exam room.

Trying to interrupt the inmate’s urge to push, I tried talking to her. As the other nurse softly whispered to her right ear that she was doing a great job of trying to relax, as the nurse’s right gloved hand massaged the inmate’s lower back.

“You’re gonna’ have a son?” I asked.

“You don’t have to answer me if you don’t want to…but I’m just wondering, do you have a name for him ready?” I continued.

Without a pause, she smiled and replied, “Malachi”.

“Beautiful! Was that from the Bible,” I probed.

“Hmmm….I just liked the name when I heard it so I chose it,” she uttered, in between her struggling breaths, trying not to push.

“They’re gonna’ be here soon. So hang in there, okay?” everyone coaxed.

Still…Few more minutes had gone by…No sign of firemen nor paramedics.

The supervisor had called again the number to the jail’s Bridge. To get an update of what was going on for the delayed arrival of emergency crew. We heard over the radio, some of them went to another prison, instead of coming to ours.

The supervisor complained to the ambulance service. She said it wasn’t right because we were not equipped with more medical supplies and our facility just didn’t have any hospital sort of equipment. 

Finally, as she hang up the phone, 2 paramedics showed up, dressed in blue uniforms. Not saying much. Perhaps, they knew they were in trouble. As we praised the pregnant inmate with her patience and trying to be strong, they immediately wheeled her out and we heard she was brought to the nearest hospital. Not even to our county hospital as her baby’s arrival was more imminent at that time.

The buzzer rang on the female side of the Infirmary. As the deputy popped the heavy metal door open, along came 3 firemen asking where the pregnant female was. But it was too late. She had left. After their failed response, one scratched his head and I could feel the rest’s embarrassment. They knew…They were a failure at that moment. Maybe they were tired. Some still looked so sleepy. But it was no excuse if one’s job was to respond to emergency. Because it could be a matter of life or death.

When Jesus returns, His imminent arrival will be a surprise! May we never be found asleep and instead, always ready for His return!

Rapture - End Times from tumeg on GodTube.

So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. – Matthew 24:44 (NIV)

No Room For Fear

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The throng of men started piling up on the cold, concrete bench behind the huge, heavy metal, sliding door that barred the outside yard of the prison. One by one, some of them came in, cuffed together with a chain link. As I got my report from the scheduled Intake Nurse last Saturday night, I knew, those men came from one of the county’s precincts.

“Aww….I feel bad now, Rcubes,” uttered by the Intake Nurse. Feeling ill the previous night, I had told her I would work at Intake when I returned that night to make her go back to the Clinic. All of us knew it was always busy at Intake even on the weekends. Not like at the Clinic. It always eased up on weekends since there was no court.

“Don’t be…I’ve been here for a while but that was many years ago…It’s only a matter of getting familiar again…” Noticing the extended area outside the small clinic that has better barrier for nurses now than back then when I used to work and had immediate exposure to the arrestees. Not great as some could become combative without any warning.

The line slowly disappeared. As I switched between the male and female side of Intake. Screening those who had medical or mental health issues. Clearing them to be booked if I didn’t discover anything alarming regarding their health.

Not including the phone calls that came from different small jails of the precincts. Asking if it was okay for them to keep a particular inmate until they would have the necessary staff to transfer them to our main prison. Some of them would get upset if I went against their wishes. Understanding the hundredths of miles between some prisons, still…The incarcerated person’s health came first.

“Do you want anything from ODR?” asked one co-worker. Finding out last minute that I would be working at Intake. Volunteering to offer me food from the prison’s staff’s dining area. But I always brought my own food. Even if I was scheduled at the Clinic. The Intake Nurse I relieved came back twice to check the suicidal inmates for me. That helped a lot as I continued to screen the constant flow of arrestees.

Though it looked so busy, I knew it wasn’t at all. It was nothing compared to some nights. And my co-workers saw the calmness and steady busy. Not like the nights they had when they work down at Intake.

“My gosh! It’s not busy!” the sick nurse exclaimed.

“Because…I have a secret…” I firmly stated.

“What?” she asked in a probing way.

“I always pray before I go to work. I talk to God because I know He knows everything even before they happen. I trust that. And even if it’s busy, I know it will not be something beyond what I’m not capable of.”

“Thank you, Lord, “ I softly uttered in praise behind my head.

“I used to do that…”she quickly exchanged.

“I asked for a good night at the hospital where I work and I ended up having a bad night.”

“Maybe He wanted you to learn something from that busyness,” I replied.

“That’s true. Because somehow, I made it through…” a few, dry coughs mixed as she uttered.

As the huge door remained silent, I knew that was the time in the morning when the dawn was breaking. I knew there would be no more bodies to come except once in a while. Not a throng. As the sun came out and lit up the whole, huge Intake yard. There were no more police cruisers parked except our own Sheriff’s vehicles and buses. The desk I was working on became clear. I got done with all the charts I had to open for everyone I screened that had medical or mental health issues. I knew I conquered my fear. Not with my own strength but by His grace. There was no room at all to fear knowing that by trusting Him, He would always be there for me. And for those who believe and trust in Him.

After all, He calls me to get out of my comfort zone. Busy or no busy. I am called to partake in His suffering. So that in my weakness, people will see the strength He gives me. And through that, people can see the glory.

Not mine. But Jesus’….

Thank You Lord for always being there for me. 

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. – Romans 8:18 (ESV)

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, ... – 2 Corinthians 3:1-18 (ESV)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8 (ESV)

The Tough Day

I knew she would always make it through…

I’m talking about my “best friend”…She always faces a lot on her plate. Daily. She wonders why such trials don’t let up. I can’t answer myself. For even me wonder. All I know is that when God found me, He taught me how the truth comes from Him. Despite adversities, He promised He is always there with us. Going through tough times. Why bad things happen to people, I am limited to such knowledge. But I believe that because this world is not God’s place, anyone can try to see the “positive” through those negatives. He wants us to trust and rely on Him. Trials make us vulnerable and make us feel defeated many times. Trials make us realize we are very limited to what we know and what we are capable of. 

“How can you be so sure?” she asked as I felt my throat formed a lump after I reassured her that nothing would go wrong that morning that she was supposed to have a surgical procedure.

“Just because…” my mind grasping for easier answers she could understand. Not from me…But from Him…since I was also limited.

“Because God promised His love and faithfulness to those who love Him. I know you love Him. But you need to also trust Him…” I replied.

Well…she was right…They ended up cancelling her procedure after her stress brought some changes in her EKG. The doctor wanted her cleared by the Cardiologist. That instant, she had no option but to go for an angiogram. For the doctor to see her heart through a catheter they had to put through her artery on her right wrist. 

With no family around but just a trusted friend which was “me”, she requested the Cardiologists to leave us alone.

Her tears flowed…Suffering for over a week to have a cyst removed, she had already endured so much pain and the anticipated surgery that would bring some relief was cancelled. Understandably, she was upset.

“What else could go wrong, Rcubes?” she looked me in the eye. 

“I can’t believe this is happening…”

I rubbed her left shin…Trying to comfort her…But no words dared to come out of my mouth. I knew…I was limited…Until some did form in my mind…Because I asked for His help…To comfort her. To reassure her. For Him to give her the needed strength…

He is the Best Comforter after all…

“I know you have suffered for so long…But consider that, even though we know that stress can do that, they just want to be on the safe side. Hang in there some more…I know you are tough. You can tough it out the way you did it many, many times…”

Her tears continued to flow as I felt my heart silently breaking. Feeling her pain. Feeling her struggles since over the decade of knowing her. 

I missed her smiles. I had not seen those in a very long time. How can someone smile while facing adversities?

“Part the waters, Lord” I softly prayed as I continued to rub her left shin. Trying to comfort her the best I could…

“Don’t let her drown…on such waves…For I know You are quick to reach out Your right hand and save her…I know that…because of what You have done for us…I believe that because I know You are the true God.” I ended as I tried not to join her tears with mine. I wanted to be strong. At least, for her at that moment.

The few hours procedure turned to the night. As I lingered between going to the unit and the designated waiting area while she had the angiogram. People at the hospital knew we were good friends by then. The nurses kept thanking me for being there to support her. They didn’t know I was grateful to be able to do that for her.

 Because she is a good person…Often, I caution her how she neglects her own health just to care for her family. I know the way she treats her patients at the hospital. She is not only a good nurse but truly a good advocate for their needs. But I’m sad…because now she is the patient. 

And how I prayed that she would be treated the way she worked in the hospital. With kindness. With understanding. With dignity. With respect…Because she deserved that. Not only because of her good heart but because her smiles hid the struggles she faced and continue to face.

The clock seemed to have been frozen as I tried to swallow the ham and cheese sandwich I got from the vending machine. I felt it was stuck in my throat. Bite after bite. Not finishing it, the pager the nurse gave me lit up on my lap. The procedure was over. She requested for me to be there. With her. When she returned.

She looked so tired by then. Her pain slightly diminished as they gave her some IV sedation. The cardiologists came and facing them as my friend laid on the guerney, they explained how beautiful her heart was. That she was cleared for her surgery. 

I couldn’t help but butt in.

“That was only the literal meaning you had explained…” the doctors both looked up and grew silent as they allowed me to speak.

“I’m sorry to interrupt you both. But I just want to tell you figuratively, she does have a ‘beautiful’ heart.”

None of them knew what to say. They didn’t get me at first. Until the more experienced Cardiologist got it. They agreed with me. 

But I didn’t need that. I knew that. And I wanted to make a statement for her. 

A lesson learned for me that day. To not believe that all smiles I meet and see daily in my path does not mean that person is happy. For some smiles hide the struggles they are going through. For me, it helps to realize that just one…Even one act of kindness might help that person. It shouldn’t be hard…Because sometimes, it’s just equivalent to a minute as I tie my shoes or brush my teeth or comb my hair. But one thing is sure…

This world is hurting…No wonder…Jesus commands for us to love Him first then love others…

Yes…Even our enemies…

May I ask for your prayers friends for her to have a quick recovery. For the Lord to provide her strength and comfort and all of her needs. Thank you.

Just Surrender

I saw the dried, red specks of blood on the shiny floor near the Infirmary’s third entrance door. It was the result from a diabetic, young male, who had been incarcerated for a while and knew his game very well.

 Refusing his blood sugar checks and insulin ordered by our jail doctor, he would wait until his sugar became so dangerously high to attempt to make a complaint and made it his ticket to go out to the county hospital. 

The nurse who saw him was tired. Of all his manipulations. Everyone knew…it was all a game. I never met him. I just knew his name very well when I would call the hospital for updates at times he was admitted for a few days for his treatment and stabilize his sugar. Until…

A muscular, young deputy was walking behind the Clinic. I saw him…Yeah...Mr "M"...Through the window reflecting the activity inside the Clinic. He had a short, curly hair. A very observant pair of eyes scanning the corners of our place. And a smile…Actually, perhaps, a smirk. Walking in a slow pace as his hands were cuffed, he was already sure he would be sent out to the hospital because he said he wasn’t feeling well. 

The nurse started taking his blood sugar which was high as it was not a surprise to us. Despite his vital signs being normal, that had always been the main problem and his weapon to go out as he wished to. The nurse was determined though…not to send him out because there were measures she could take before it would be necessary to send him to ER.

I wanted to be involved. I wanted to question him regarding his intention. I wanted to let him know that what he felt as victory on his side actually was harmful and a loss…To no one but himself…But I remained silent as I heard him talked back, not only to the nurse but also to the deputy who had escorted him.

“You guys need to bring me to the hospital. I know I need IV fluids and some other medications!” he yelled.

“Shut up, M!” intervened the deputy.

“That’s what you think,” the nurse replied.

“Have you forgotten you had signed all those refusal forms because you were not compliant to the doctor’s orders every time? You know it means that we are not responsible if anything happens to you because you are willing to take that risk of being sick and maybe even die?”

“I am Jesus Christ! I am not going to die! I am to live forever!” he echoed back, his last reply hitting me like an arrow as I walked to where he was sitting and that was when I decided not to join the conversation. There was truth to what he said. 

That “Jesus Christ is alive forever!”

Except…He was not Jesus Christ!

And as he yelled and would not cooperate to be still, 2 other deputies wrestled with him to make him calm down. I wasn’t sure where he was hit…But the drops of blood were splattered on the floor. It must be from his finger that was just stuck from the needle when the nurse checked his blood sugar.

The doctor decided to see him when the nurse consulted him over the phone. Despite his refusals and knowledge of the consequences of his choice, that was our code of ethics… As medical professionals, we are committed to devote ourselves to the welfare of lives on our hands.

But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this? – Romans 9:20 (NIV)

Destruction is certain for those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot ever argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you are doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exlaim, ‘How clumsy can you be!’ – Isaiah 45:9 (NLT)

The created object has no right to demand anything from its Creator. Man’s existence depends on Him. And that is the only way…to keep his pride in check. Pride which results in his downfall. Pride with any personal achievement brings one to nowhere. Instead, one needs to be still and be silent before Him…Jesus…And plead for His mercy and grace.

God is our Supreme Ruler whether we are going through trials or not. We can thank Him on good times and still do so during bad times instead of resenting them. For trials can be opportunities to learn what impurities need to be removed so our lives can become better servants of God…

Our doctor was not there during nights so no one is there to answer this manipulative inmate’s demands. I stopped probing what was in his heart because at that time, I just wished he would submit and be compliant to what was best for his health...

But God is here, all the time. With His Word, He has an answer to those demanding answers from Him:

“Do you question what I do? Do you give me orders about the work of my hands? I am the one who made the earth and created people to live on it. With my hands, I stretched out the heavens. All the millions of stars are at my command.” – Isaiah 45:10

Lord, forgive me and help me surrender my life to You daily...

All posts/composed songs copyright by RCUBEs.