Jul 15, 2011

Terri's Problem

After losing her balance and falling at home a couple of times, Terri took a tumble from the top of the stairs and landed on her head. The head CT showed both subdural and subarachnoid hemorrhages. She was a trauma transfer to a larger hospital for neurosurgery.

I've never met anyone who was proud of the fact that a life of drinking had destroyed their liver. It's a regret they must live with and most would give anything to do it all over again. Terri had struggled with drinking for years and the battle took a severe toll on her 46 year old body.

While Heidi acted as an IV pole, holding the bag of plasma as close to the ceiling as she could, I asked if she wanted me to get a pressure infuser, so she could do more important things. Like getting the paperwork together so we could hit the road.

I like Heidi. She gives good hugs. Even when your sarcasm is aimed at her.

We fitted the c-collar on Terri so as not to rip the IV out of her neck and rolled her onto the hard backboard. I put a blanket on it first.

As we loaded Terri into the rig, I thought about how I'm growing farther away from my comrades in how we see our patients. Just about everyone involved in her care (except Heidi) had a critical remark about how Terri lives her life.

Drunk. Loser. Psycho. Professional alcoholic.

I looked at her and saw a broken-hearted woman, desperately in need of one person who believed in her.

After getting her vitals and most of my charting done, I told her I saw a lot of people healed in the ambulance and asked if she wanted me to pray with her.

She was delighted. So I placed one hand on her forehead and she gripped the other one tightly as I commanded the bleeding to stop and released the kingdom of God into her broken and bruised body.

As I spoke to her soul about God's great love and compassion for her, tears flowed like a river. I prophesied a better day and brighter hope and healing of her memories. As I declared God's goodness and protection over her, she gripped my hand even tighter.

The yellow pigment of her skin and bruises only told part of the story.

"Thanks so much for praying for me. I know God loves me. I know He's there and I try so hard to do the right things. But I keep messing up. I want to please God. I want to be sober. And I'm scared that this might be the last time for me."

I told her it wasn't about what she had to do to please God. It was about what He had already done for her. I said God has a really bad memory concerning her mistakes. And what she might focus on isn't the mistakes she made, but the awesome love He had for her.

We arrived at the other hospital and transferred her to the bed. I gave report through the snickers, rolling eyes and giggles. Before I left the ER, I gave her a big hug and told her I thought she was awesome. I don't care what they think about Terri or the fact that she was perfectly lucid with a blood alcohol of 0.44.

I really liked her.

Was she healed? I don't know. It's becoming less important these days. I know she was touched by the love of God and that might be what she needed most.

When I stand in eternity, looking back at every moment of my life from heaven's perspective, this moment will appear once more before my eyes. I'll know all the results of our meeting down to the smallest detail.

And just as it's too late for the alcoholic to go back and change everything after their liver fails, it'll be too late for us to change our actions once we're in eternity.

All we can do is wonder.....

What if?

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