Saturday, June 11, 2016


This week, it was bed seven.  I saw his vitals before I saw him.  A student nurse had taken the vitals earlier in the morning and what initially caught my attention was that his oxygen levels were a mere 77%.  77%.  That's barely passing.... but passing none the less in most academic worlds.  But in the medical world a 77% blood saturation is guaranteed to get you the attention of a lot of medical professionals.  And chances are really high that that attention will come rather quickly.  If you happen to be in the hospital, things will probably start moving fast.   If you aren't.... you will probably be helped to a hospital so that you can receive the urgent care that you need.  

A 77% blood oxygenation level tells the professional that the red blood cells in your body aren't carrying the oxygen as they should to the cells.  A normal level for the "normal" person is in the mid to high 90's..... and most are in the high 90's.  

And so when I saw that bed number 7's oxygen level the morning had been a mere 77%.... my radar went up. I grabbed the portable oximeter and found my way to his bed.  He was young.  Early to mid 20's.  What caught my attention was that his eyes were swollen shut.  Both of them.  And he was short of breath.  His levels were a bit more encouraging, but not by much.  

I could sit here and tell you the things that did happen.  

The scrambling to find a non-rebreather.... and an oxygen tank that could handle the amount of oxygen that he needed.  

How the power went out and for a short while there were two oxygen tanks with 3 patients needing active oxygen.  (I'm not sure what inactive oxygen is...)

I could tell you how desperately I wanted there to be an option of initiating a rapid response.  

I so wanted to get things moving.  In the way that I was taught.   

And how he continued to struggle in varying degrees throughout the day. 

And how shortly before my day on the ward was finished, his oxygen level dipped even lower.  He was now in the 60's.  His pulse into the 150's.  

My training and experience told me that this man was critically ill.  

And truth be told.... He was. 

All these details are part of his story.  

There are a lot of emotions that I felt.  

Frustration was one of them. 

A bit after 4, I was standing near him.  I started to pray for him.  I asked him if He knew Jesus.  He said He did.  I told him I was asking Jesus to heal him.  

And he responded to my words. "You are asking Jesus to heal me?" It was a mixture of a statement and a question.   "Yes, I looked him in the eyes.  I am"  The vulnerability is what has stayed with me.  His vulnerability.  

I have a strong feeling that He knew that He was dying.  

There were so many things that I wanted to do.  

But this is exactly where I am stuck.  

Because, I can't fully believe that the nurses on that ward wanted any different.  

Nurses, by nature, want to help.  

The responses were so different than what I wanted.  So different than what I expected.  

Surely, we could call the doctor. 

Surely, we could initiate a stronger medical response to this man who was actively dying.  



And yet, there didn't seem to be much surely going on.  

There didn't seem to be much of a response.  

And that is where my heart is digesting.  Thinking through.  Processing.  

Earlier this year when My sister's heart stopped beating.  There was a quick response.  A young man jumped into action and initiated CPR before the paramedics came.  First responders continued and doctor's took over at the hospital.   They worked hard on her... and for a long time.  

I am so thankful for the responses.  It would have been so much more difficult had my sister collapsed and that was it.  But I know that on a human level everything was done.  

And that made a difference in my heart.  
A huge difference.  

The surely's happened.  

And, yet my sister still died.  

The response was very different for the man in bed seven.  

And he also passed away.  Void of many of surely's.  

I wonder what it was like for his family.  

But maybe... and this is where it gets tricky... 

surely's did happen for him.  Just not my surely's...or what my training would say are surely's.  

Maybe just being in a hospital was a surely.  

Having the comfort of some oxygen was a surely.... 

Having doctor's look at him and come up with a plan.... 

Receiving medications...

Surely his family is devastated by the loss of their loved one... but maybe they are also thankful for the surely's that DID happen.  Just as I have been so broken by my sister's passing... I am thankful for the surely's that DID happen.  

I don't know.... but my thinking is being challenged.  

Some surely's I would politely argue should always be there.  I would be gutsy and say that not all the surely's that bed 7 deserved were there.  

There are a lot of subjective surely's in the world.  Some surely's are constant.

Constants that I am resting on today.  

God is in control.  He is the author of life.  He knows my frame.  And He remains good.

Tonight, I ask God to comfort the family of the patient that was in bed 7.

I ask Jesus to continue to comfort my sister's husband and children.

I ask Him to continue to comfort my own heart.

And I rest... because out of all the wavering surely's.... He remains surely.

And in His surely"ness" I rest.  All else is "un" surely"ness".  


  1. Amen sister! Such a beautiful read and a reminder of holding fast onto the TRUTH...holding fast onto Jesus! x

  2. Amen right back! It's a daily choice to HOLD on to Him...
    Love ya friend and so looking forward to having a cuppa of tea with you....