Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Worst Decisions Make the Best Stories

I had a patient yesterday who just happens to be a nurse. 

I'd actually "met" him a few times before, but those previous times he had a bolt coming out the top if his head, and he yelled really loud when I had to replace his IV, because he's terrified of needles.  Apparently, when one has suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm it is difficult to deal with the little phobias in life that normally you'd deep breathe through...

Anyhoo, he was looking much better and slowly getting back into weight lifting, which is what triggered the aneurysm rupture in the first place.  Either that, or the fact that he'd quit smoking just 4 days before it ruptured.  He's still on the fence about the real cause.

And he's not going to risk something like denying himself a cigarette when he nearly died trying to quit.

He has no tendency toward drama at all.

I was so relieved when the doctor openly addressed his tattoo.  Because I had definitely noticed it the other times when I was pulling the sheath that the doctor places in his right groin and threads a catheter through.  The catheter is then threaded up to his brain to inject contrast so they can get really clear pictures of the vascular system.  Anyway, you probably didn't want all of that info, but it's sort of necessary to help you understand that I had seen is groin a few times before.

And I couldn't help but notice the little "Hi" tattooed on it.  However, being that his coping skills were a bit diminished, I hadn't gathered the gumption to just come right out and ask what on earth he was thinking when he got the crazy thing.  Because, while most patients think it's truly my business to know everything I decide to ask, as a nurse he would probably get that I was just being nosy. 

But I really, really wanted to know.  Was it done on a dare?  Was it supposed to say something else, but he just wimped out?  Was he really a disgusting pervert?  I had been curious, yet disgusted by the thing since the first time I'd met him, under much scarier circumstances.

Never fear, Gentle Reader. My patience was finally being rewarded...

As the doctor began to prep the area for the study, he said "Hey, I see that you got a tattoo, just so I could know exactly where to go."  And I smiled inside because I now had permission to get the whole scoop.  But I was patient, Gentle Reader.  I didn't immediately hound him for details.  I knew my time was coming, if I just waited for the right moment.

Once the procedure was completed and I was checking around the catheter sight to make sure no bleeding had occurred under the skin, my patient commented on how embarrassing his tattoo is.  "You know, when I was 13, and hiding in my bedroom doing that tattoo, I never dreamed that 6 people would be looking at it."

"Well, let me tell you, way more than six people have seen it by now."  I'm sure he found my observation comforting.  "So you did it yourself?  When you were only 13?"  That explains the prison tat appearance."

He started laughing, and I had to scold him, because after all at that point I was holding pressure on his femoral artery, and laughter adds pressure and if my hand slipped I really didn't want to clean blood off the walls...

"Yeah, I used a needle and India ink.  I was just a stupid kid."

And then we changed the subject and talked about his and his wife's nursing experiences. 

And I thanked him for a great story that I will now have thanks to his poor judgment as a teenager.

It just really brings home the fact that the worst decisions make really great stories.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Aren't we all just sick to DEATH of hearing about same sex marriage???

I know I am.  It is just so EXHAUSTING.  I mean, we are hammered with this topic from every corner.  Television, facebook, church, radio, work...

I am just sick, sick, sick of it.  I don't want to talk about.  I certainly don't want to blog about it.  I want to blog about crazy, silly stuff in my life. 

But yesterday morning as I sat on my deck, dogs at me feet, Oliver standing on the rail behind me, coffee cup on the arm rest, God jumped up in my face AGAIN.  I kind of like when He does that.  But it sure makes me uncomfortable at times. 

Well, most of the time.

Anyway, I decided a blog filled with trivialities and laughter will have to wait for a later date.  God has a bigger agenda for me right now.

Right now I'm reading through 2 Chronicles.  My challenge for myself this summer has been to read through passages I have never deemed as "fun" and dig my teeth in where normally I would have just skimmed and called it good.  2 Chronicles 5 reviews the dedication of the Temple.  God ensured that the dedication coincided with the Feast of Tabernacles.  This meant that as the Israelites were celebrating in a gorgeous, eye popping gold laiden temple, they were remembering their travels in the desert.  So even as they were surrounded with unimaginable wealth (that belonged to God) they were dancing and singing praises to God for deliverance and provision in the desert. 

God is so cool.

Anyway, my commentary recommended I flip to Psalm 107 for a great example of praising God for His provision.  As I read it, familiar words flowed into my heart, "Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, His love endures forever..."  I mentally started singing along.  But then as I read on, painfully familiar themes were woven through.  Things I do not want to walk around humming about.  Famine.  Imprisonment.  Drought.  Especially verses 33-34, I'm sure they struck such a strong chord in me as wildfires raged mere miles away from my house, and the stench of the smoke permeated the air around me...

Communities all across the state have been meeting and having prayer that God will have mercy on us and send the rain.  I pictured this group of modern day prayer warriors crying out in the one room school turned into community center near my folks house.  And I was saddened to think that our country has become so wicked in God's eyes that he has perhaps pronounced judgment on us.

Not that I have any way of knowing such things.  But I do know I am surrounded by wickedness. 

Strangely, as I reread verse 33-34, and my soul mourned at the wicked world my children will grow up in, God whispered 2 Chronicles 7:14 into my heart.

"If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

I was struck by several phrases:

 my people.


 humble themselves

 turn from their wicked ways.

 It doesn't say "the people", it says MY people.

"My people."  Who is that?  Is it the world?  Is it the general populace of the good ole US of A? Is it the people in my state, my county, my town, my church, my FAMILY???

 Sorry, but the answer He gave me was a very clear "no."

God told me that He is speaking to ME, his child.  Called to His family by His grace and mercy alone.  And while I've always given lip service to "you can't expect the lost to act like Christians" I secretly still expected it.  I mean, really we are a country founded on Biblical principles.  Why won't they just get on the bus and go along with the historical precedence our forefathers set forth?  One nation under God and all of that?

Well, duh.  Because the general populace is NOT Christian.  They are lost.  Drowning in their misery.  Doomed to an eternity of suffering and misery.  Even if they are loving life now, they are lost and facing a horrendous eternity. 

And if I'm not walking, breathing, LIVING the life that Christ has called me to do, then I am failing them. 

So what God told me is that He is not calling the people around me to humble themselves, to pray, to seek His face and turn from THEIR wicked ways.  He's calling ME to do this.


I am called to be drastically different than the world. And I'm just not sure I am. Want to know something?  I don't WANT to be different.  It's not comfortable!  But God has been strengthening me with examples of truly DIFFERENT people than the world around them.  Let's start with Noah.  Surely he was lonely and felt a tad bit ostracized from the world around him as he and his sons built the ark?  I mean, do you think his neighbors were inviting him to any back yard barbecues?

Hey!  Guess who was Noah's ancestors?  Enoch was his great grandfather.  He walked with God 300 years before God took him home with him to heaven, without even dying.   Do you think Enoch was perhaps different from those around him? 

Esther.  Talk about different!  A Jewish girl not only in the enemy camp, but her husband (who happened to be king) had elevated a man who had vowed to destroy all of her people to the highest seat in the land!  (Esther 3)  Do you think she got to sit in her chambers and wait until she had her life in order before she bearded the lion in his den and spoke hard truths to the very man who could behead her at his whim?

Okay, I got it.  I am God's people.  I am called.  I am to humble myself...
As a Christian I am not called to hide from the world and sing my praises to a God who saved me with my Christian friends and my Christian music and my Christian facebook friends... I am called to speak the truth.  I will only be showing love to the lost when I share God's word with them.  Not one of the examples listed above (and they are a mere tip of the iceberg) hid in their little bubbles and waited until they had their lives together before they were called to proclaim God's truth.  A truth that the world did NOT want to hear.  And that's what I'm called as a Christian to do. It will not be easy.  There will be many times when it will not be "fun."  But I'm running a race, one that was specifically laid out for me.  And it is not for worldly treasure or accolades.  There is much more at stake than a gold medal.  We are talking about eternal consequences here. 

I don't think I can just sit in my little comfort zone and pretend that's not the gospel.