Part of my job everyday is to make sure there are beds available in the hospital so the sick patients I see that day can be admitted for treatment. So each day as I round on my patients, I am trying to evaluate if there is anything that we are doing for them that requires them to be in the hospital itself. If they have an IV pole next to their bedside or oxygen tubing going into their nose, they have a good chance for staying, but I do ask myself if they still need those.
There are always patients who no longer have an IV or require oxygen who would probably do a little bit better if they had another day or two in the hospital to get stronger before going out into the bush of PNG where life is tough. Where life requires them to walk to the river for water and to wash their clothes, where the toilet is outside the house somewhere and there is no wheelchair to help them get there. Where they sleep not on an elevated soft mattress, but on a mat on the hard, damp floor. But sometimes, keeping them another day or two may mean that a very sick pt in the ER with meningitis who needs IV antibiotics or is dehydrated and needs IV fluid doesn't have a place to sleep in the hospital and has to go elsewhere. So each day I try and send home the pts that can go home and help the ones who can't go home yet, to be ready to go home as soon as possible.
John is one of those patients who can't go home yet. He has TB and because he had been confused when he was first sick, he wasn't able to get out of bed and he developed bedsores, which require daily dressing changes. Thankfully his confusion has disappeared, but he has been so weak for so long that just standing up is a chore, much less walking. Thankfully we have a volunteer physical therapist who is working with him each day. Each morning as I am rounding, Patty is working with John trying to get him up and walking. It has definitely proved challenging.
There have been days when John has stood up 9 times and other days when he refuses to even sit up. His mother has been at his bedside each day. Whether he walks or not, whether he stands or not, she is there, helping, feeding, bathing, caring and loving. There are days when I don't want to see John, when his refusal to sit up or stand makes me want to send him home, even though that isn't best for him. But each time I get upset at John, I see his mother at his side, loving him and am challenged to do it too. I picture Jesus helping and loving those who others didn't, the lepers, the unclean women, the poor, the widow, the Samaritan, the demon possessed men and am challenged to do the same.
Thankfully, the Holy Spirit has been helping me to love John a little bit better and instead of getting upset with him, I have been a little more patient, a little more kind, showed a little more kindness, less anger, and more love. Each day I tell him he needs to stand and walk and he each he looks at me and smiles and tells me okay, but the following day the walking usually hasn't happened, so I tell him again and pray that his strength and health would improve.
Pray with me for John, for his strength to return, for his sores to heal, for his mom's love to continue and for mine to grow.
1 Cor 13:4-7 says - "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. "