Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Lesson in Forgiveness

Last night at work, an RN phoned to say that she was attempting to add an order for a certain blood test on her patient who was due for bloodwork in two minutes. She couldn't get the information to go into the computer and she was afraid that she was going to miss the phlebotomist who had already left the lab on her way to draw this patient.

Yes - she missed the phlebotomist. Michelle had already left to go to draw the patient's blood. I commented to Aimee RN that in order to avoid having the patient have a second needlestick, she was going to have to intercept Michelle before she got to the patient's room because Michelle only had orders to draw one green top tube. The additional test requested required a blue top tube.

Aimee quickly responded with, "well, doesn't she have a bleeper or a doodad pager thingy or something?!" "Yes, Aimee, I will be happy to page Michelle, but there's no guarantee that she will answer the page before she draws the patient."

I paged Michelle.
No answer.

I called Aimee back. "Aimee, Michelle hasn't answered her page. You're going to have to go stand in the doorway of the room - or write a note to have her see you before she draws the patient in order to avoid having the patient stuck twice."

Aimee: "I can't! I can't! I have to go to report!"

At which point I wanted to scream! Forgive my language here...but 'screw report!' It takes two minutes to write a note and place it where my phlebotomist will see it in order to avoid an extra needlestick on a poor woman who is already a pincushion because she's a "hard stick"...a woman who is unresponsive (oh, so that means it's OKAY to stick her again and again...) who is unable to tell the phlebotomist that the doctor ordered an additional test and would you please check with the RN because you'll have to draw an additional tube of blood....

Right at that moment that Aimee was having a fit about being late for 'report', the phone rang - it was Michelle, answering her page. Situation handled. The patient was only stuck once. Thank you Lord.

Meanwhile, back in the lab, I was reduced to tears. And why? Because a patient's care may have been compromised due to the fact that this RN was going to stick to her schedule no matter what and give report at precisely 11:00pm? No...that's not why I was reduced to tears - although it certainly did upset me that the patient care may have been compromised. No...I was crying for another reason entirely...

Flashback - 3:00 pm June 28, 2002. Olivia was three days old. I had just been released from the intensive care unit and had not yet seen or touched my baby girl. Because I was so critical after her birth, I was relegated to the MICU while my daughter was in the NICU... Finally, I was well enough that they were going to take me to see her. I had begun my journey down the hall an hour earlier - but because of some medical complications that had to be addressed, I got a later start and my husband didn't wheel me into the NICU until 2:55pm.

Problem. Change of shift. Nurses give 'report' at change of shift. No visitors allowed during 'report' time. Because of confidentiality reasons, they didn't want anyone to overhear anything about any other baby in the unit. At that moment in time, all I would've heard was my sweet Olivia. I could have cared less about anything else in the world. All I wanted was to see my daughter for the first time.
Enter Cindy, RN. "Mr. and Mrs. Erskine, you'll have to leave, it's time for report." At which point, I completely lost it. I had waited THREE days to see my only child and now, as I'm standing within six feet of her isolette for the very first time, you're telling me that I have to leave because you're afraid I may overhear something about Baby A and Baby B while you stand and give report 25 feet away?! Needless to say, I was an emotional wreck at that point. I completely lost it. With sobs wrenching from the very center of my being, I allowed my husband to wheel me away from our daughter into the hallway where we had to wait for the longest 30 minutes of my life before we were allowed back into the NICU.

Olivia is six. years ago, I was hurt and angered by Cindy, RN. And last night at work, when those words came out of Aimee, RN's mouth..."I have to give report...." I realized that for seven years I have held onto the hurt and the anger of not being able to see my baby after waiting for three days. I have not forgiven Cindy, RN...all these years later.

Lord, finally, after seven years, you're causing me to see my sin. The sin of unforgiveness. Your Word says that every seven years a year of Jubilee was called. A year of debt forgiveness. Realizing that the debt was monetary....but similarly, this was a debt. An emotional debt. A debt caused by an RN who was so bent on sticking to her schedule that she wouldn't be flexible enough to delay giving report in order to allow a brand new Mother to see her baby for the first time. Perhaps it's because she had no children herself, that she didn't understand the yearning in my heart to see my child. Perhaps it's because she had worked in the NICU for so long that she had become calloused or desensitized. Whatever the reason. She owed a debt to me that I needed to forgive. Obviously, Cindy, RN knows nothing of this debt. For the forgiveness is not about her - but about me and the attitude of my heart.

Father, please forgive me for holding on so long to the anger I had toward this nurse whom You placed in a position to care for my precious daughter when I was unable to do so. Thank you for using such a creative way to get my attention - and for not letting this attitude of my heart go on for one more day. I ask that you bless Cindy, RN - wherever she is today. If she is still nursing, bless her hands as she works and cares for the babies you have placed in her care. Cause her to be loving and compassionate and not forget nor dismiss the emotional fragility of the brand new parents whom she deals with on a daily basis. May she know you as her Lord - draw her close to Your side. In Jesus' name, amen.

I have forgiven her. I am now free!

And when you stand praying,
if you hold anything against anyone,
forgive him,
so that your Father in heaven
may forgive you your sins."
-Mark 11:25


Trish said...

May we all have hearts humble enough to find forgiveness and practice compassion as we celebrate this time of Thanksgiving.
Lovely Post Deb

Pat said...

How sweetly He gives us the opportunity to forgive and gain freedom. How sweetly you accepted His invitation. Sounds like one more reason to give thanks and praise...we will never run out of reasons to praise Him!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Becky said...

happy thanksgiving!

Margie said...

wow! that was amazing!!

This post is such a blessing to me!! thank you! and thank You Jesus for placing this on Deb's heart and touching mine!!