"Breathe, Lydia, breathe," I whispered to myself quietly. My hot breath made my glasses fog up a little under my mask.
My patient was coding. She was just talking with me. Then she wasn’t.
What do I do?
Call a code! My brain yelled.
CODE BLUE I yelled as loudly as my shaky voice would let me. It actually was pretty loud.
It was my first solo code at my new hospital. My third shift off orientation consisted of several complex patients. An hour earlier I had to administer IV medications to a very sick older man to slow his heart down- slowly, but not too slowly, or else his heart would stop.
I had patients have seizures on my on my previous unit but it had been 6 months since then. Here on this unit, I had none of my usual seizure resources. This wasn’t the unit or kind of patients that had seizures. So I thought.
My mind swirled with my patient’s health history as people swarmed into the room. I breathed in sharply and rattled off all I could remember about her. We’ll call her Sally. As we all worked to help Sally, I was praying to God she’d be OK. I was praying I hadn’t made a mistake to cause this. As the team of experienced nurses and doctors surrounded me and problem solved next steps, I felt the charge nurse looking at me.
The hospital stat nurse and I quickly got Sally ready for a test to check for other issues. During the test we called in the neurologist and apparently she had a seizure and then a stroke. It was decided she would transfer straight from the test to the Intensive Care Unit. I prayed they would be able to help her.
When I got back to my unit, I felt the charge nurse put her hand on my arm.
"This wasn’t your fault," she said.
"How do you know?" I asked.
"I checked all your charting. I see you were unable to get her to take one of her medications numerous times today. You notified everyone her team and even asked for help a few times. That medicine can cause disastrous side effects if it’s missed," she explained.
"But that medication needs to be missed for days to cause that intense of a reaction doesn't it?" I asked.
"She’s been refusing it for a while now. It finally caught up with her. I hope she’ll be OK. But I wanted you to know it wasn’t your fault," she said firmly.
"Thanks," I mumbled as I breathed out heavily. Slumped up against the wall, I finished my charting carefully. Once I finished, I gathered my things and clocked out for the night. It was well past 1 am once I got to my car and leaned my head against the steering wheel.
Tears welled up in my eyes. "Oh God," I prayed, "Oh God." I didn’t have any other words. I just kept whispering those two words over and over. Finally my adrenaline came down enough for me to begin driving home. I kept lifting up Sally in prayer as I drove.
As I prayed, I felt the Holy Spirit begin to whisper to my heart something that shook me almost as much as seeing Sally code.
This is what happens with stubborn believers.
Just as Sally knew she needed to be in the hospital, but kept refusing medicine, so it is with those who say they trust God but refuse to accept His discipline. Eventually, it catches up with them. It won’t be right away, but it is inevitable.
I shuddered. How can anyone remain teachable enough to avoid this kind of crash? As I prayed, Philippians 2 drifted into my mind. Reverence and humility. I knew that the fear of the Lord led to wisdom. I knew that humility was important as a believer. But I don’t think I thought about how critical those two things were in our walk with Christ. Without them, the result could be disastrous. But with them? I felt reminded that these are ingredients for how people are healed and they cultivate a healthy life in Christ.
Something to consider…
Have you thought about a time when reverence or humility saved you from disaster? What do reverence and humility look like to you?