Lessons from ICU. 16. The LORD knows our pain
As I was admitted to the ICU, the nurses there had a “big” problem – literally. Due to the severity of edema, I was really huge. So, it was very difficult for them to do their regular duties as far as I was concerned. Especially, they had a problem finding one of my veins to draw blood for the various tests the physicians had ordered.
On the very first day, for nearly two hours, two nurses exerted themselves to the point of exhaustion, just pressing down my arms to find a vein. Finally in my left arm, they were able to find something to draw blood from – but it was not a vein, it was an artery. Inserting a needle and drawing blood from an artery is a painful thing even in ordinary circumstances. To hold my arm in such a strong grip and then to draw blood from the artery – it really was painful. Anyway, I was just happy that the pain was over. But then I was so wrong.
Everyday they had to withdraw blood 5-6 times, especially twice in the early mornings. Once the other nurses found out that it was so difficult to find a vein in my arms, they all went with this artery that was “discovered”. So, the needle was stuck at the same place again and again. In the early morning, it would be cold and the pain was become a little too intense for me. By the fourth day, my left arm was so sore, when one of the believers who visited me, took hold of my arm to comfort me and I cried out in pain – it was really severe and intense.
By fifth day, the pain had become intolerable, and I was scared to go to sleep, because I knew that in the morning, I would wake up in pain. On sixth morning, it was a trainee who came to collect the blood and she had trouble finding the artery. So, she held my sore arm very tight and inserted the needle thrice to get the artery, and the pain was excruciating. I winced in severe pain, and was seeking the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. There was a Christian nurse there, who called me “Anna” which means “Elder brother” in our language. She saw that I was in real pain and told the trainee that she would take my blood. However, even she had trouble locating my artery and I had to close my mouth with my right arm, to avoid screaming in pain. So, she stopped trying to take the blood and went to ask the staff nurse, if she had any other suggestions to take blood in a less painful manner. The staff nurse bluntly told her that she had to do what she had to do, and should not be worried about the reactions of the patient.
On hearing this, I prayed a small prayer, seeking the strength of our Lord and as my wont, started to meditate on Calvary. After receiving the grace of our Lord, I asked the nurse to take blood from me. She was still skeptical, but realizing that I was ready, she came to take the blood. As I winced in pain yet again when she touched my arm, she offered a little prayer. She said, “God, may this be the last time, the blood has to be taken from my brother. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.” The staff nurse who overheard the prayer, laughed out, saying that they had scheduled to take my blood two more times in the next 6 hours, and hence the Christian nurse should not be wasting her prayer on things that God Himself won’t be changing. Of course, the staff nurse was not a believer. The Christian nurse said, “Sister, you have no idea what our God can do.” With that, she took blood from me.
Yes, the staff nurse was right as there was an order to withdraw my blood two more times before noon. But the Christian nurse was more right, as no one knows what a Living God, Who hears the prayers of His children can do. Within an hour, the staff nurse was given instructions that no more blood samples were needed from me, and that I be transferred to general ward from ICU. Praise the LORD! HE heard my voice and the Christian sister’s voice during my distress and He delivered me.
Yes, dear friend, when we call on Him in our distress, we will be surprised to find that He is never far away from us; but right there next to you, waiting to deliver you. May this Christmas season be filled with the joy of knowing that our Lord Jesus Christ is Emmanuel – God is with us. Amen.