Monthly Archives: August 2016

Lessons from ICU. 7. Curiosity and Eternity

As I was spending my first night in ICU on July 8th, I was sort of jumpy. Even the smallest disturbance was waking me up. So, it was not a surprise that I woke up at 4 in the morning, when I realized my bed was being moved. Initially I was given the last bed in the ICU and they were shifting my bed so that as soon as the ICU doors were opened, I would be the first person anyone who enters would see. In my slumber, I asked the nurses why they were shifting me to this position and why at that hour; I was told that they were given instructions so that I could be monitored easily. I understood that since I was in a serious condition, they wanted to keep an eye on me all the time. Four hours later, I realized how wrong I was in my understanding.

Around 8 AM, the medical students, interns and various specialists started to arrive and suddenly I was the cynosure of everyone there. The cardiologists were sure that my heart was failing and hence, the edema attack happened. The nephrologists were very confident that it was the failure of kidneys that lead to my condition. The regular physician was adamant that I had taken some country medicine that resulted in an allergic reaction; another physician was sure that I was bitten by a poisonous insect.

Every specialist had an entourage around him, with interns and students who wanted to impress the specialist. So, everyone suggested the tests and scans that must be done to determine the cause of my sickness. Then the specialist would approach me and would ask me a couple of questions in a very serious tone, making it cleat that he is “the specialist.” Once that specialist leaves with his group, the next one would arrive with his group and everything would be repeated again – tests and scans that must be done, questions asked in a serious tone and so on. From 8 AM, this went on till 11:30 AM. By then, I was exhausted. But I was not allowed to rest, as I had to take all the tests and scans that were recommended by the interns and students. By evening, I was too tired. Then one of the nurses assured me that the next day, July 10th, being the second Sunday of the month, and is a day off for all the medical staff, I would have a very relaxing day. birds-tough-untasted-sit-throat-back-cat-sparrow-funny-nature-bird-ground-curiosity-hq-animals-pictures-for-desktop-736x460

But then there were some eager beavers, who wanted to impress their bosses, and score some brownie points, and they showed up on Sunday. They would ask the same questions that the specialists asked, except in a very friendly tone, with a smile – as if the sole purpose of their visit is my well-being. Except, it was more of a nuisance, as it was a Sunday, they kept coming in whenever they wanted. They would wake me up and ask if I had any trouble sleeping – seriously.

When July 11th, Monday, arrived, I was prepared for the onslaught. All the test and scan results had arrived. The specialists and their entourage would talk seriously among themselves and then ask me the same questions again, but there was nothing new. I was disturbed, but not as much as I was bothered on Saturday. By evening, I came to know that all my tests and scans have shown that there was nothing wrong with any of my organs. It was nothing but edema, and there were nothing dramatic, like a failing heart or a collapsed lung, attached with it.

Then Tuesday arrived. No one bothered to even look at me. The group would come, look at the fresh patients at ICU, would just pass by me, when the specialist would say to the group, “Oh, this is that edema patient” and they would nod their heads in agreement and that is all. At times, there might be a weakest link in that entourage, who would look at me and smile weakly. But that was all.

It took them just 72 hours to quench their curiosity about me. They had learned whatever they wanted to learn about me, and that was not quite interesting to them. So, they lost their interest and did not even care about me after that.

Contrast this with God’s care about us. It took those people 72 hours to lose interest in me. But God knew about me before the universe was created. The LORD knows everything about us from time eternal. Yet, He has not lost a bit of interest in us. The Most Sovereign LORD cares about us today as He did when He created the earth so that we can live here safely. And He is preparing for us mansions to stay, with the same care. Time has not eroded His interest in us or His care for us.

Once the medical professionals learned whatever they wanted to learn about me, they lost interest in me. It is not that they learned everything about me. Just those things that pertain to their field of study. But look at God. HE knows everything about us. Not just the “spiritual” things. God knows everything about us. There is nothing hidden from His eyes. All our thoughts, words, deeds, everything is known to Him. There are no surprises for Him. Yet, His interests in us has not changed a bit. With the same interest that He had on us when He decided where we would be born, what would be our hair colour, who would be our parents and all other details, our loving Father in Heaven is looking at all the smaller and greater details with interest.

Because God’s interest in us is not because of any curiosity or intrigue in us; for He knows everything about us. His interest in us is because He loves us. And there is nothing on earth that we can compare with His love. No human being or pets can love you like this. This is the love of Heavenly Father. This is the love of our Father Who gave up His only Son for us, even though He knew everything about us; though we have no surprises to make Him glad. For this love can not be understood by humans. This is the love of God. The love of Almighty. We can only cherish it. And cherish it, we can, for eternity.

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Lessons from ICU. 6. Where you are trained, matters

As I was being treated at the emergency ward, there was one thing that concerned everyone – my blood pressure. It was 240/120. It was because of this high BP, the attending physician had warned my family that my heart may stop at anytime. But once the medication started, my BP started to come down. So, they decided to keep me in ICU to treat me for my high BP.

Once I reached the ICU, I started to sleep and sometime in the middle of the night, got up because someone was standing next to me and talking. I saw the two staff nurses who were in charge of the ICU that night there and one of them was complaining to the other: “But we should not do this without doctor’s consultation.” The other nurse was telling her: “But where is the duty doctor right now? Our first and foremost duty is the welfare of patients. Anyway, I will write it in my report. You don’t have to worry about it.”

I understood that one of the nurses, let us call her Sister M, was making a pretty important decision about one of the patients and the other nurse, let us call her Sister L, was quite scared to take such a decision without a physician’s consultation. So, sister M was assuring her that if something goes wrong, the blame would be squarely on the shoulders of sister M and not on sister L. Then I drifted back to sleep.

Next morning, the nurses changed shifts at 8 AM and a new batch of nurses started to take care of us at the ICU. And within an hour, there was quite an uproar near my bed, with physicians and medical students confused about something.

Apparently the medication to control my BP was turned off completely at 1:30 AM by sister M, with a note saying that my BP is normal and I don’t need the medication at all; that my high BP when arriving at the emergency ward must be because of the trauma I was suffering. Along with the note, she had written down my BP for every 15 minutes to show that I have no hypertension.

Obviously it did not go well with the “doctors”, but what surprised me was that they did not do these two things. 1. They did not restart my medication. 2. They did not reprimand sister M for taking such a big decision without a physician’s consultation.

However, the doctors did not change their view about my health. Even now, in all their reports, it is mentioned that I have hypertension. So, I was quite confused about all these. Then the answer came on July 13th night. The deputy superintendent (obviously, he is the second most powerful person in that hospital) had come for rounds. He took one look at me and asked the physician-in-charge, “What is this patient still doing in ICU?” The physician tried to explain that I have hypertension and hence, they did not know when to discharge me.

The deputy superintendent retorted, saying: “What hypertension? I have been following his case ever since he came into the emergency ward. Because of trauma, his BP was high when he got admitted. But on the very night, did not sister M turn off the medication because his BP is  normal? Even now, you are taking his BP and it is always normal. So, what hypertension? If you did not know that trauma would cause high BP, how did you even become a doctor? Discharge CMC-Vellore_1.jpeghim first thing in the morning”, and then he left.

So, sister M is right all along. But still I could not understand how she was so daring to change my medication and why no one even bothered to question her about it. Then as I was talking to another nurse, I got the answer. Of all the staff nurses working there, sister M is the only one who studied and trained at the prestigious Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore. While others have the same degree, they were from other institutes. And if you are coming from CMC, it means a lot. Though some of the other staff nurses, and the medical students and the interns were giving her looks, the head honchos knew her value and respected her for that.

Yes, dear friend, it does matter where you get your training. Especially in a life that determines not only how you are going to live in this world, but also in the world to come forever and ever. So, where are you getting trained?

Some Christians get their training from certain preachers. What the preacher says becomes gospel truth for them. Some of are trained based on the doctrines of the church we attend. Some are trained in the traditional ways of the Christian living.

But if you want to outshine everyone else, if you want to excel in the way of Christian life, there is only one place to be: at the feet of Jesus Christ. Learn from the Master Himself. Learn from the Greatest Preacher. HE is willing to teach us. Jesus knows our weaknesses, and hence will be patient with us in His dealing. HE will make sure we learn the lessons properly. There is only thing needed to be  done and it shall not be taken away from us (Luke 10:42) and that is being trained at the feet of Jesus.

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Lessons from ICU. 5. God is always faithful

As the LORD asked me to drink from the bitter cup, edema started to affect my body. The part that was most affected was my neck and throat. From my face to chest, there was just 941_render_shrek_3a huge lump of flesh that would scare everyone who dared to look at me. I started to look like Shrek, except Shrek is cute and brings a smile to your face; I looked horrible, and those who looked at me would take a step back in horror.

Some of the believers would spend the entire week praying for my healing and on Sundays, they would come eagerly, assured that their prayers would be answered. Then one look at my throat, you could see how upset they were. Once a sister saw me while coming to the church, and right there, she broke down and started crying. I looked really that horrible.

So, I took the matter to the LORD in prayer and the LORD said that this lump would disappear like a morning mist, that I would not even know that it had gone from me. I was, obviously, excited and next morning, woke up and checked the mirror… but the lump had grown larger, and more importantly it had hardened. As a result, I was not able to turn my neck around, As days went by, things got worse. The lump had become enormous, I had trouble eating, breathing, drinking and talking. Anyone who would look at me, would turn away their faces in horror immediately.

I went to the Lord again and I received the same answer: it would disappear like morning mist and I would not even know that it had gone.

On July 8th, as I was being taken to the emergency ward, the lump had grown larger and harder. At the emergency ward, they gave me first aid and other treatments and then after four hours, decided to shift me to the ICU. As I was being wheeled out to the ICU, I asked the attending nurse: “Sister, it was my throat that was giving me so much trouble. Why none of you are talking about treating it?” The nurse did not understand what I said. With a puzzled look, she asked, “Why? Is there a problem with your throat?” Now it was my turn to be confused. I told her, “Of course, there is something wrong with my throat. Can’t you see how large it is?” The nurse, a Christian one, held my hand and with a smile said, “Brother, there is nothing wrong with your throat. It looks like a normal throat. No one mentioned otherwise. So, don’t worry.”

When I reached the ICU, my family came to meet me and I asked them about the throat and only then, they also realized that huge lump was gone and there was no evidence of any such swelling. Just like the LORD promised. Like morning mist, disappeared without any evidence. And I did not even know that it was gone.

And all I could do sitting in the ICU, was praise the LORD for His faithfulness.

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Lessons from ICU. 4. There are angels among us

As I was in the emergency ward, with so many tubes and wires attached to me, I was watching the doctors, the nurses and the technicians gathering here and there and talking in hushed tone. Later, I found out that they were all stunned with the way I looked and wondering what would have gone wrong with my body.

My wife informed me that they had taken some preliminary tests and were waiting for the “specialists” to arrive to decide what had gone wrong with me. Then she assured me that there is nothing to worry as there would be nothing wrong with me. I smiled weakly as that was all I could manage.

But with time, there was much commotion in the nurse’s station and with lots of interns pouring in to see a very odd emergency case, it looked like a market place. Everyone would steal glance towards me, then go behind the curtain and talk in hushed tones. While I was not bothered by that, one of the friends who had accompanied me was very worried. He has been to few hospitals and few emergency situations too… as he has helped few people, and he said that if such things continue, it means there is something seriously wrong. After sometime, he even left my side as he was scared what the doctors would say.

As I was lying alone there, suddenly one intern broke from the crowd and came to me and asked: “Are you a Christian?” When I answered in affirmation, he told me: “I am also a Christian and I want you to know one thing. All the preliminary test results have come back and there is nothing wrong with your organs. You will be fine soon.” With a gentle smile, he walked away.

I still remember the peace of God embracing me at that time and I started to smile from then on. Even the chief supervisor of the emergency ward commented on how they all were tensed about me, while I was being all smiles during the trauma.

Later, I tried to find out the intern who gave me the heads up and guess what, no one could identify a Christian intern during that time. I gave the description, but no one had seen such an intern there; and the Christian nurses were sure that if there was a Christian doctor there, they would have known and as far as they know, there was no Christian doctor present during that time.

Before going to the emergency ward, as we were praying, the LORD promised that He would surround me with angels and, there are angels among us.

Dear friend, if God is leading you during a very tough and difficult path, then take heart, for He has given charge to His angels regarding you. And they will keep you safe in all your ways. (Psa. 91:11-12)

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Lessons from ICU. 3. Bruised egos and piercings

As I was lying in the emergency ward with oxygen mask and lots of tubes or wires, I am not sure what they were, were attached to my chest, I heard the in-charge-physician telling the technicians to get some blood from my body to get some tests done.

Though I was in a serious condition, I was able to realize that among the technicians, there is an ego clash between a male technician and a female technician. It was also obvious that not long back, they were close friends or more than friends, but they don’t talk to each other. I praise the LORD that they did not hate each other, or I don’t know what would have happened to me that day. They had some ego problems and were pulling each one’s legs through their friends.

Anyway, as the physician asked to get blood out of my body, both the boy and the girl wanted to get it done, but it was the girl who got the tool kit first. So, with a grumble, the boy left. The girl felt very satisfied with this “great” victory and boasted how one must be alert in their job like she is. But I don’t think she realized what a big mistake that was till she started to search for a blood vessel in my body, suffering with edema. It was almost impossible to find a blood vessel in my hands, and she tried her best. She kept piercing here and there, but nothing… except water.

After 15 minutes, she gave up and left. As soon as she left, I heard a chuckle from the other side of the curtain and the boy emerged with a happy look in his face. He told the other technicians, that being alert alone is not enough, but you should know how to do the job too. He asked all them to watch how a master does his work and, yes, all this for injecting a needle in my body and taking some blood out. Once he started to search for the blood vessel, he realized his folly. But his ego would not let him accept his mistake. So for next 20 minutes, he kept piercing here and there in my hands and it was very painful. Finally once he was sure that the girl was not around, he said that no one could get blood out of my body and left.

Few minutes later, the girl came back and asked the other technicians if that boy was able to get blood sample from my body. When she found out that he also failed, she felt very invigorated. She told the other technicians there that she would prove that boy wrong by managing to get blood of out of my body. Then the pricking started. Since she was determined to get blood, she did not care how much pain it was causing me. She kept pricking here and there with so much force, it really hurt me. Finally, I called her out, “Madam”. She looked at me with disdain and asked, “What?” I asked her with a genuine smile: “In your ego clash, you both are not going to puncture my entire body, right?” All the technicians assembled there could not control themselves and erupted in laughter. Only then the girl realized her mistake and with a sheepish look, apologized and told the physician that they were not able to get any blood out of me, and only water was coming out.

Just few pricking here and there. Only waterJesus-on-the-cross-about-to-be-pierced-with-a-spear-610x352 came out and I was complaining. Yet, Jesus was pierced for our transgressions. His arms that saved us from the powers of this world were nailed to the Cross, because of our sins. His beautiful feet that brought the Gospel unto a dying world was nailed to the Cross. And even after He was dead, His loving heart was pierced and blood and water came out. Jesus gave everything up for us. Yet, He never complained. Yet, He never accused us, even when we went astray. His eyes are filled with compassion and love for us. How amazing is His love for us! The more we meditate on His love, the more we realize how unfathomable the depths, heights and width of His love! Let us be filled with His love, for He was pierced for our transgressions.