Monday, May 30, 2016

He knows...

I don't know what the man in bed 5 was thinking.  For most of the day, he just lay there.  Still.  Calm. Not moving much.  I think most of the movement was from his eyes as they quietly took in the ebb and flow of life on a medical ward.  There was the near constant rumble of the the oxygen machine nearby.  For some unknown reason, it would alarm.  A cue to a passing nurse that the machine needed to be restarted.  There was the sliding of the medication box.  The crackle of the dispensing envelopes.  And not far away came the moaning of a man whose body was shutting down. 

And he lay.  

The doctors eventually made their way to his bed.  He was calm and quiet.  

But despite his wide eyes, his body slipped the secret.  

He had no palpable blood pressure.

The order came.  Give Normal Saline until a palpable blood pressure.  

He wasn't my patient.  I've been sorta of a gopher the last handful of days.  

Start an IV here.  Give this medication.  Draw blood on this patient.  

I heard about him.  And to be honest, I was a bit intrigued.  A non-detectable blood pressure?  And he was awake?

As I passed by his beds a good handful of times. I saw him.  Open eyed for the most part.  Simply observing.  Quiet.  

Shortly before 4 PM, I looked over and saw him trying to get up.  I went over to help him.  

Beads of sweat were gathered on his brow.  His arms were both clammy and cold.  His nail beds a dusky shade.  

None of those were good.  I asked a student nurse to get the blood sugar machine.  I grabbed the blood pressure cuff and oxygen tester.   

And has had been reported, I could not obtain a blood pressure.  I could neither hear nor see a fluctuation on the mercury as it slithered down from numbers over a hundred to ninety... to seventy... to sixty... to fifty.  There was a slight jump on the mercury near the forties.  That I could see... but I couldn't hear the sound to confirm what the mercury was showing me.  

The pulse ox machine didn't provide much more hope.  Due to his clammy skin and dusky nail beds, the machine struggled to pick up an oxygen level.  

His abdomen was both hard and swollen.  

And he wanted to get out of bed.

And I didn't want him to get out of bed.

And so in my very broken Luganda... I told him no.

Not enough oxygen, no palpable blood pressure, and a hard abdomen.... are all variables that can result in a catastrophe.

There were so many things that my training wanted me to do in that moment.

Drop a foley.
Put in another IV.
Hook him up the heart monitor.
Call a rapid response.
Get blood work STAT.
Put him on oxygen. Keep him in bed.
Put a tube down into his stomach.
Get the doctor bedside STAT.

The list could go on and on.

And yet the oxygen tank was in another room.  It was a massive tank... nearly as tall as myself.  There were no wheels and so it was brought over slowly slowly by a nurse.  The slowly slowly was mostly due to the huge size of the tank and the lack of wheels underneath it.

That tank didn't work.

Next a machine was brought over and plugged in.  I switched on the power and the tech switched on the machine.
The outlet wasn't working.

I mentioned to the nurse I was with that he hadn't urinated.

She told me they knew.

There was so much my training wanted to do... and yet, I didn't know how things were run here.

I asked if we could call the doctor.

I didn't get a response.

His family arrived.

The oxygen was finally connected.  The patient relaxed a bit.

The nurse I had been working with had gone downstairs to the other patients.

I found a lady wearing a doctor's coat at the nurses station.

I approached her and told her that the patient in bed five was not fine.

Gave her the information I had gathered.

She was gracious.  She was interested.  And she stood from where she was and walked over to bed five.

She took out her stethoscope.  She tapped his stomach.  And she assured me she would call the doctors who had worked on him earlier.  She would also find out what doctor was on call for the night.

I prayed with the man from bed five that night.  I put my hand on his clammy arm and prayed with him.  Over him.

And shortly after the lady in the white coat saw him, I left.

The man from bed five has been on my heart multiple times since.

And I've prayed.

And I've wondered.

Tomorrow, I'll hopefully find out what happened.

Was he taken to surgery?  to the ICU?  or did his body succumb to hours of no palpable blood pressure?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And tomorrow has come.   I returned back to the hospital that has my attention for the next near 8 weeks.  I had no sooner put my bag down when I was asked to help in the "last office" care of a patient.  Last office?  I had no idea what I was being asked to do.  Until someone clarified.  Someone had died and we needed to prepare the body.

And so I did.  I told the student nurse that I was working with that he was the chief.  He would tell me what to do.  Death is a universal reality, but the cultural realities surrounding death is super unique.

I asked what the "last office" stood for.  The student nurse I was working with had no idea.  He just smiled and giggled.  I was definitely curious, but didn't push it too much.  I just helped him with the "last office".  Delicate care of the an individual who has passed away preparing them for the morgue.  

And after the last office was complete, we put him on a trolley and prepared for his last ride.  The journey lasted about 5 minutes.  It was a somber journey that was slowed down both by respect and the bumps on the path.

We reached.  And we handed off this man to the gentlemen at the morgue.  The student nurse I was with signed the patient in.  And as he did, I saw the names of two different individuals that I had taken care of on Friday.

It was clear by his name entered into the morgue book that the man I had worked with from bed 5 on Friday had succumbed to the war raging on within his body.

I found myself staring at his name.

I didn't know him.  Only spoke broken Luganda with him.  Prayed over him.  Put my hand on his clammy arm.  Adjusted the oxygen on his face.  Asked the doctor at the nurses station to see him.

I talked with the nurse that was with him in the early hours of Saturday.

He had been well surrounded in his final moments.

I am thankful for that.

Did he know the presence of Jesus in those final moments?

I do not know.  But I can't help but rest in the character of my Jesus.

He knew this man.  To Him, he was not simply the man in bed 5.   He knew the things that brought this man joy.  He knew the pains of heart.  The things that he shard openly and the things that remained hidden in his heart.  He knew his family.  He knew the size of his feet and the exact number of hairs on his head.  He KNEW him.

He knew His frame.

He knows my frame.

And I'm clinging to that.  I'm clinging to that truth that God knows my frame as I interact with those around me.

As I hop on a motorcycle each day and head to a hospital and take care of patients.

As I get the privilege of doing things I didn't even know I missed.

Like bed baths, IV starts, and intense medical moments.

But God knows my frame.  And he knew I've been missing these things... even more than I did.

And as I see nursing done so differently than how I've been trained... He knows the struggles in my heart.

He knows my frame.

As I feel the stress of trusting Him with my needs after the recent break-in.

I can choose to rest.

He knows my frame.

When my heart is light and I know His joy.  I can celebrate.

He knows my frame.

He knows your frame.

He knows....

11.  For nas high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his osteadfast love toward pthose who fear him;
12  as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he qremove our transgressions from us.
13  As ra father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion pto those who fear him.
1 For he knows our frame;1
he sremembers that we are dust.
15  As for man, his days are like tgrass;
he flourishes like ua flower of the field;
16  for vthe wind passes over it, and wit is gone,
and xits place knows it no more.
17  But ythe steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on pthose who fear him,

Psalm 103

He knows...

Monday, May 23, 2016

The battle is already WON.

It often takes a bit before my soul and my fingers match up...and the words begin to flow.

Today, my struggle is a bit different.  

I don't really want to blog... I don't really want to say much.... 

My heart is feeling stretched... bruised..... worn down.....

And just as I woke up from a headache this afternoon.  My head pounding from the last few days, I pulled up my twitter account.  And there was Beth Moore announcing a new blog post.  

I scanned facebook.  Looked over my twitter feed.  Got lost in the daze of the internet.  

Nothing bad... but it's crazy how much time can be lost surfing the net.  

I have high respect for Beth.   Truth be Told, I would love to sit and have coffee (or tea) with her.  There are so many questions I would love to ask.  And who knows... maybe one day God will orchestrate.  Maybe not.  I'll leave that to Him.  

Social Media.  It's not bad.  But so often for me... it's a time filler.
I love so much about social media.  But somehow for today turning on social media was like taking a vitamin when what I really needed were some serious spiritual antibiotics.  

I mean I love you all.  And social media is the very thing that keeps most of us connected.  

Like I said... it's not bad.  But I do think there is some not so great in there as well.  

I am thankful that in God's sweet sovereignty I clicked on Beth's new blog post.  

And I read.  A message to those in their 30's and 40's.   
That's me.  A woman in her 30's.  (amazing how in so many ways, I feel like I"m still in my early 20's)  

And I read.  

Truth be told, I first skimmed the blog post. 

A short while later.... I slowed myself down and I READ the words.  

And have gone back to it multiple times since.  

And I felt both encouraged and kicked.  And if there was such a thing as good kicking... this was.  

A read that  truth be told initially left me scrambling for excuses...but thankfully His whisper won out.  

God's not about condemning.  

And I can't go by just feelings.  That is the exact reason I AM bringing fingers to the keyboard.  

The reason that I am sharing from my heart.   

Everything in me wants to keep quiet. 

But there is danger in that quietness.  
Danger in letting the excuses of life outweigh the whisper of my Jesus.  
There is even danger for me in turning to social media first before turning to my Jesus.   
Real danger.  

Yesterday afternoon, I came back from church and a quick tea with a friend.  I had spent much of the weekend preparing for an 8 week journey to the capital.  My suitcase was packed and I had just a few randoms things to do before I left.  

As I was finishing the dishes, I noticed dirt on the window sill.  And so, I grabbed a rag and started wiping it down... only to notice that there was a dent in the screen.  And even in that split second an uneasiness came over me.  I reached up and touched the screen.  Instead of meeting resistance, I was met with a giving out of the screen. 

My screen had been cut.  Enough for someone to crawl through.  

I just sorta of stopped in my tracks.  

I texted for help.  And before I knew it I was surrounded by friends.  

A few hours later a dog was brought.  An attempt to track the thief.  

Didn't happen.  

There were a few trips to the police station.  Reports to be filled.  Knowing that someone has been in my house is quite unsettling.   Having things stolen... also unsettling.  

And yesterday, as I stepped away for a few minutes.... I found myself saying out loud.  The victory already belongs to Jesus.  The battle is ALREADY won.  My feelings leave me feeling vulnerable, unsettled, unsure... but I can't rest on feelings.  

 Ephesians 6: 12
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

The truth is.  My God is with ME.  My God is personal.  He is actively involved and present both in the good and in the bad.  He is no less with me today than he was with me the day I found out my sister died.  Or the day that I held Ayeko after a life changing operation.  Or the moment I graduated nursing school.... or....... the list is endless.  

I want to keep walking.  And I will.  

Keep standing.  Keep leaning into Jesus. 

Truth be told, I need to be leaning into Jesus a WHOLE lot more than I am.  

I am encouraged by the words... and kicked in a good way with the areas of my heart that need to change.  

Because there are definitely areas of my heart that need to change.  
And areas of my heart that need to be encouraged by what I read today.  

There are new locks on my doors... and the windows have been screwed shut. 

And soon, I'll be drifting off to sleep. 

Tomorrow morning will be take two with the journey to the capital. 

Hopefully, I'll still feel the sting of the kick.  And the adrenaline of the encouragement.  

And I'll keep walking with Him and ALL that He has planned for me.  

He is good. SO SO good.  And I love Him.

PS.  Here is Beth's blog post if you would like to read her post.

Friday, May 6, 2016


Well, it's currently the 6th of May. It's a few minutes past seven and I'm laying on my bed typing.  The power is out and there is only a faint bit of light crawling in from the other room.  Solar is set up in my main room... but hasn't quite been set up in my bedroom. I'm thankful for that light.  Without it, I would be fuffing with candles and flashlights.  Fuffing.  It's a new word I learned this week.  I am always up for a new word... but the problem is I don't always remember new words as I should.  This week I texted my friend thinking I was using the proper British word for something... only to realize I had totally messed it up.  Instead of communicating something nicely.... I was actually communicating it a bit rawly.  So thankful for grace, good laughs, and more grace....and more laughs.    But, one thing I am pretty sure about is the word Fuffing  Not fluffing or faffing... but fuffing.  Shoot, maybe it should be faffing.  Now, I am not so sure.  

And I've probably lost a few... literally.  

It has been a week.  I come to the end of this week feeling stretched and stretched some more.  

I feel like I could write a novel and yet, I keep deleting the words.  

Today, my friend and I went into Kampala.  The plan was to do a whole lot of "fuffing"... aka chilling.  Being.  

It's what I needed to today.  Exhaling, Inhaling, and just being.  

We had a fun breakfast... picked up a stroller for a friend who just welcomed a baby into her home... and did a little shopping.  

As we were coming out of one store, we saw 3 helicopters zooming around in the sky.  One turned on it's side.  It was odd.  People were looking up.  There wasn't fear in the air, but there was an awareness that people were observing... and wondering.  

Then as the helicopters were seen flying, police sirens further broke the air.  

Weird.  A bit unnerving.  

But just as quick as that happened, we continued on with our day.  

We went into the grocery store and started picking up things we needed (and truth be told a few goodies I didn't need...)     And then, without much warning there were loud noises heard.  Sounds of planes much too close.  And heard again.  And heard again.  

They were fighter jets.  

It was a moment where you stop.  And you suddenly feel small.  And a bit unsafe.  

And then it was over.  

The President is being sworn in next week and the military wants to show their power to the opposition.  Well, if they didn't succeed with the opposition, I must say that they did a good job showing their power to the general public.  

Yep, I think I will be staying in the bush next week.  

The moody power and internet is a welcomed thing.  As are the sound of the bugs greeting the night.  And the sound of children playing.  

Yes, I'll keep faffing.  

I'll keep being in what He has for me. 

My heart is feeling a bit discouraged.  A bit raw.  Feeling like I'm being stretched.  

So wanting to know the Power of my Jesus as He stands against my opposition.

I want to lean into Him and I want to faff with Him.  I want to chill.  To be.  To rest.  

With My Jesus.  

Ahhhh even in the stretching times... I love that there is so much in life to smile about.  

Like the creativity of words.  And the beauty of the sun peeking up over the horizon.  

And in the bumps of a road that is more bumps than dirt.