The Shy Inmate

“His left side of his face is drooping!” exclaimed one nurse last night as she saw the young, male inmate who requested to be seen by the staff for his complaint of possible drug allergy.

The other male nurse, who initially accepted the phone call from the unit was still looking at his status in the glowing computer monitor and as he clicked on his booking photo, he yelled, “Oh! Don’t be alarmed guys! His face was like that already!”

I stole a glance from where this nurse was and with the enlarged photo, I saw there was no difference to the soggy cheek on the left side of his face.

As I tried to get the medical chart, the other two nurses were already surrounding him, asking him a lot of questions. He seemed shy. Clear, dark skin despite the droopiness. His words were limited as his eyes tried to maintain contact back and forth, aside from the two nurses, then, with the prying eyes of the Infirmary Deputy. He must have felt embarrassment. From all of those curious eyes. From those curious ears.

I got it, you guys!” I volunteered to the other two nurses as I went to work for 4 hours just to help out the night crew, knowing how short they were. They had been asking me to come in whatever shifts I wanted.

“Are you sure?” asked the male nurse.

Yeah! You’d be going home soon! It’s my turn!”

The whole time, the male inmate sat quietly. Without any movement. His ears widely open. But his mouth was shut tight. 

As my co-workers went back inside the Clinic, he noticed…It was down to just him and I. He took a deep breath. I started asking him probing questions about his symptoms. He said it was his first time to take those pills for his Seizure. He felt itching on his left foot. Then, some burning all over. I didn’t see any rash. He was not having trouble breathing. 

“Sorry, Ma’am…” he uttered…

“I didn’t want to bother anyone,” he calmly added as he bowed his head and looked down on the floor.

Don’t apologize…You’re not bothering us. That’s why we’re here 24 hours because anything can happen anytime. There is no silly symptom. I might not see a rash now but if anything worse occurs later, you’re welcome to complain and come back,” I reassured.

His face became more uneven as he tried to give me a smile. He started talking about his droopiness on his cheek. He was shot when he was 9 years old that hit that nerve and paralyzed that side of his face. He said he was lucky. That he was still able to see, eat, and talk. He appeared more comfortable as I watched the calm rise and fall of his breathing. The redness on his face went away. I knew…It was not the allergy. It was him being shy and being intimidated by so many staff when he first walked in.

I told him that I still would put him to see the doctor in the morning to make sure the new medications were not causing any problem. Or if the order needed to be changed. He thanked me as he got up and slowly went back to the long hallway that led to his unit.

How it related to one’s journey…Any weaknesses should never stop one from complaining or by praying. There is no circumstance that should prevent one from praying as a follower of Christ. If there are any distractions, may one learn to ask by faith for His grace to drive those cares away.  Not only difficult circumstances, but also prayers drive away the spiritual enemies. If one doesn’t know what and how to pray, that can also be brought to God:

Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples." – Luke 11:1 (NLT)

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The Attacker (5/15/09)

The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies. Ephesians 6:12 [37 kb]

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].