Apr 5, 2012

Playing Chicken

Bernadette sat in a wheelchair as we rolled the gurney through the front door. She could walk, but it was difficult and she wasn’t able to go far. I shot her a glance then looked at her mother and wondered which was the patient.

“Hi”, I said as I reached my hand toward her mom. I introduced us and asked her name. She told me hers and mentioned that she was partially blind and had difficulty hearing. The fact that she wore sunglasses inside should have been my first clue.

I asked what brought us to her house today. Getting information from her was difficult, but we learned that it was her daughter that we were transporting.

Bernadette was young, but her life had been one medical setback after another since she was a girl. At the age of 11, she suffered a severe diabetic seizure that left her with bilateral foot drop and other neurological issues. Recently, she’d had her gall bladder removed and had been experiencing chest pain for several days following the procedure. She’d been evaluated at one of the emergency rooms but they found nothing and sent her home. We were seeing her to take her to a different hospital for a second opinion and to see her surgeon.

Her countenance was sadder than a woman of twenty-something should have. A deep sense of discomfort began to stir inside me.

“Why was she so terribly sad?”

We loaded her and got a set of vitals. I asked about starting an IV.

“Don’t bother. I have a port. You wouldn’t be able to get an IV anyways. My veins are terrible.”

I could see a small bulge in her skin in her right upper chest at the edge of her tank top strap, where the port was located.

“OK....no IV.”

We did an EKG, checked her blood sugar and rolled down the road. I began asking questions.

After the routine questions, I thought about asking if I could pray with her. But she seemed, for some reason, like the last person on earth who would want prayer. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why I thought why she would say no. It just seemed to me like she wouldn’t be interested. I almost chickened out.

One of the greatest problems I struggle with is the temptation to take the position that I have no responsibility to pray with patients and nothing to loose if I decide not to ask if they want prayer. i wish I could say that I ask everyone. But I don't.

“I have one more question to ask you…..Would you like me to pray with you?”

Her face lit up like a Christmas tree. With a beaming smile she said, “I know God heals people and I love to have you pray with me.”

She took my hands in her, closed her eyes and started thanking God. I asked the Holy Spirit to touch her and commanded pain to leave. We prayed and prayed and prayed. Then we talked.

It turns out, Bernadette is a believer. Her husband is part of a group of men who go down to Mill Avenue in Tempe on Friday nights and pray with anyone who wants prayer. We had a lot to talk about.

We discussed her medical problems and the frustration her husband has because she hasn’t been healed yet. I told her I have the same problem. I shared with her the strange fact that many of us who see the sick healed, can’t get our own family members healed. It seems like when I pray for my wife, my prayers bounce off the ceiling and fall helplessly to the floor.

In spite of the fact that she hasn’t been healed yet, Bernadette showed an amazing love for God. Her trust in Him was deeper than her outward appearance showed. My judgment of her willingness to have me pray with her wasn’t even close to the truth. She loves Jesus and loves to pray.

She felt absolutely nothing in her body as I prayed with her. But the joy in hear heart was impossible to measure and it couldn’t be hidden behind the Great Wall of China. I gave her a card to the website and told her to look me up on Facebook.

As we pulled in the driveway of the hospital, she began to perspire. “You better check my blood sugar again. When it starts to drop it goes down fast.”

We did another check of her blood sugar. It was 60. We usually give sugar if it’s less than 70.

We transferred her to the ER and gave report. I got her a container of orange juice to drink. The nurse behind the desk gave me a scowl. “What are you doing?” I explained that her blood sugar was dropping. “Well, she’ll need more than one. I’ll get another one and you take her to her room.”

We got her moved over and gave report. I told her not to be a stranger. She promised to keep in touch.

Later that day she sent me a friend request on Facebook. She’s been admitted to the hospital. I posted a prayer request for her on my Facebook page and people responded.

She’s the first patient I’ve transported who connected with me on Facebook. I’m glad to have a friend like her.

When she’s healed, I’ll let you know.


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  2. I can't explain why exactly, but this post brought tears to my eyes. I think it was the small (but big) part where you talked about how frustrating it is when you pray for family members and yet it appears like nothing happens. It hurts. I hate seeing someone I love right in front of me in pain and no matter how many times I pray or how hard I pray, they don't get healed. And it really causes me to struggle with even wanting to continue offering prayer with family. I know that's not the right response, but it's something I'm processing and working through.

    But this post was such an encouragement. Sometimes it's nice knowing someone else is experiencing the same thing and that you're not alone. We're all just trying to figure this whole thing out and truth is independent of our experiences.

    As usual, so blessed by your blog. Thank you again for sharing.

  3. Thanks for stopping by Ashley. It is hard at times to want to continue praying for people when they aren't healed. I wish I had a good answer for why that happens. For now I just remember the ones who were healed and march onward.


  4. i too request for prayers for my mama who has turned out to be a laughing stock to an extent that my spiritual life is heavilly shaken and am loosing faith in life itself.

  5. I'm praying for you Violet. You are greatly loved by God.

    - Praying Medic