11.24.2015

matthew 5:16

This is one of those posts I am writing for a remembrance, something to help me remember the Lord's love for me and the importance of becoming an instrument in His Hands. Humbling ourselves enough to be malleable for His purposes. I saw this quote a week or two ago and I think not only is greatness what you give, but using what you have been given, being gracious about what you have been given, loving with all you have been given. 

A day before I left to go back to Seattle, I was working in the midst of a very emotionally taxing week in many regards. I was feeling so weary and looking forward to a long weekend in my home away from home, especially being an escort for my dear friend at the Seattle Temple. One of the nurses asked me if I could go in to educate a family about the safest possible textures to have/swallowing techniques to help as they decided to transition to hospice. I briefly read two of the notes in the chart (one of the notes ended up containing important information to help me build rapport), printed out a few different materials to give them, and knocked on the door. The patient smiled as I came in the room. Surrounded by family, we talked about his decision and the options/strategies to help him be comfortable in this transition. The wife spoke of how he was her rock and how he had cared for her over the years. They continued to talk to me as I carefully fed him and taught him how to swallow the safest possible way. One of the notes I had read told me a little bit about their family dynamics and I spent much longer than I would normally with educating and counseling. But I felt very much that I needed to say the things I did. These people were so kind and asked if I stop in later in the day to check in. I replied I would if I could. Even though the day had already been long, I decided to quickly check in with the patient and family. I gowned up and gloved up to walk in the room. Before I could even say anything, the patient and family exclaimed, "There's our angel." They spoke of how grateful they had been for all I had done for them earlier in the day and how I had brought peace to their souls.

The next morning, one of the doctors called me and spoke to me at length about this patient's decision to go on hospice to line up our goals of care and education for him and his family. I stopped in the room one more time this afternoon, despite our department's rule of discharging services if the patient decides to go hospice. Again, the patient and his family spoke to me at length about the peace and countenance I had, the calm they felt around me during "this time of learning to let go". I started crying and I said, "I'm sorry. This is so unprofessional, but I am so grateful for your kind words. You have no idea how much I needed them; you are the true angels." We shared hugs and tears. The wife said, "If anything, this is what more professionals need. Those tears of yours are golden and precious to us. We couldn't have made it through this without your compassion." After more thank you's and asking if there were any more questions, I left the room, tearing up some more.  

This encounter was one of those moments where I know that I had been called to be here "for such a time as this". And again, on Friday, I happened to go to the RICU (respiratory ICU) late in the afternoon to check on a patient. I walked in the room with one plan in my mind, but suddenly felt like I needed to do something else. This cute RICU nurse sat on the edge of the patient's bed while I reevaluated this patient's condition and made new recommendations. He said to me while we charted outside of the room later, "How did you know you needed to come down here? It's a good thing you came to see her."

At my parents' stake conference on Sunday, one of the counselors of the Stake Presidency spoke about being an instrument in the Lord's hands and quoted Matthew 5:16. While it was good to be back in Seattle and I miss my people, my places so much, the past two or three weeks have really shown me that the Lord is using me as an instrument to help other people in this job. I have truly tried to let my light shine in this job and the past few weeks have been filled with glimpses of why it is important to let that light shine. While the past two (almost three) months hasn't been the easiest of transitions, it is so humbling to recognize all the little ways He is in my life. I don't see the big picture yet, but I know one day, I will look back to see these little brushstrokes of mortality will paint a grand masterpiece of His eternal love and plan for me.

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