Sunday, September 23, 2012

Like shattered glass...a broken view

"Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—" - Romans 5:12

Come on a journey with me, if you please.  Imagine that you are a health care provider and you've done all you can possibly do, but the situation is not improving.  Stop there for just a minute.  Back up, just a little to remember your heart in what you do.  You've been given a passion for healing, for restoration, for life.  This passion is not just a passing trend, rather it's been passed down to you as a legacy from your Father, a gift, His passion is also life, abundant life.  Back to the current situation. 

Your working hard to preserve two lives.  One seems that it will improve momentarily and it's possible to continue supporting her life.  The other one, the one that is so little and needs so much because, well, it's just arrived and can't help itself, seems to be fading before your eyes.  Yet, there is more help to give and the whole situation becomes joyful in just a moment.  This would be the birth that you just assisted with.  There were a few tention filled moments just after the baby came out, then all was well.  Oh, what an amazing, incredible, miraculous event to witness time and time again.  Life.

Now, continue on through your morning.  You have patients coming back for their postnatal check ups.  This is usually a time of joy as you check over the growing baby, support and encourage the new mother and sometimes the father.  You laugh at some of the cultural traditions and sometimes have to lay down reality in the face of tradition passed on from generations that isn't really helpful for the life of the mother or baby.  Such is life, but it's good.  

This morning that baby check isn't the case.  The mom contacted you the previous night to say that her baby was turning red and blue.  You advise her for home monitoring and to come in as soon as possible or go directly to the hospital as you can only go with what she is texting you.  She arrives early the next morning.  You can hear the baby before you see him and know that something must be done immediately for his blocked, heavily congested airway.  Deep suctioning is performed and you hurry away on a transport to the hospital.  As if  your heart wasn't heavy enough at watching this little life fail, it's about to get heavier.

What you find makes your heart break.  In the very place where you have gone to seek help to sustain life you find apathy and death.  You carry this precious, struggling little life in your arms only to walk by sickness that eats away at people's very life leaving them corpses of hopelessness.

That was my dear friend this morning.  She is a midwife.  Sometimes there are midwives who don't like hospitals, but in truth, there is a place for them and the care they offer.  We have disagreements, just like every field of medicine (have you asked how a surgeon would deal with a situation versus a therapist?  Ya, pretty different!), but we do rely on them in a healthy chain of giving the best care to patients.  Unfortunately, what she was met with this morning was overwhelming.  She was absolutely overcome with the severity of death, especially where it seems there should be healing.

My friend took her precious, gasping baby to the hospital and was overcome by the struggling, and occasionally lifeless bodies around her and the apparent lack of concern from the staff or even just available staff (please know, i'm sure that they care and are probably often overcome by the pure volume and the difficulties they have in trying to meet demand...imagine daily triage, so NO disrespect to them at all.)

The feeling that comes is utter helplessness and a reminder of the reality that this life is filled with death. Oh, sometimes we can see death as a sort of poetic doorway and be comforted that for those walking the path of Life it is only the beginning, but often there is nothing beautiful or poetic about it and it may be filled with hopelessness if they don't know He who gives Life.  It's a hard path to walk when those who you have sought for further help aren't sufficient.

Praise the Lamb for the life He gives, oh share it freely!  And, if you know people in the health care profession pray for them.  Lift up their patients (even though you may not know them) to the Great Physician.  Life is precious and not just this life here and now, but the life to come!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Of Justice and Birth

Hello!  Oh, it's been a while since there's been an entry on here. Sorry, no that your sitting on the edge of your seat for the next post, but maybe it's a little hard to keep up with someone when they never post.  True that!

Today, on the way to shift my friend said she was just, "writing a blog in her head."  This actually came up because I had texted her when her car drove by instead of stopping to pick me up!  She graciously and quickly turned around and did give me a lift.  haha.  We were laughing and she was just saying how she was writing a blog post in her head, and thus lost in thought and driving auto-pilot.  That made me think....blogging.  Hmmm, that's a fun thing to do, in fact i used to do that!  So, here's the blog post that is a little story of today and a window into the daily life.

This morning shift was crazy!  There were three of us on shift who could catch.  We go in order depending on your last birth, so I was third up.  Initially it was rather quiet.  We had postpartum patients in various stages of postpartum.  Some waiting to pay and go home, some needing a baby bath, then go home...yup, various stages.

Then, Salem, my friend who was talking about the blog, she got a labor!  Woo-hoo.  She checked her in and found out she was fully and her patient gave birth shortly there after!! :) That was just the start to the shift...then Brenda got a patient, then I got a patient, then Brenda caught a baby who was almost born in a taxi, then...well, it was just so busy.  In summation: Salem caught 2 babies, Brenda caught 1 and had a labor, and I had 2 labors.

What does justice have to do with this?  Well, sometimes woman are positively wonderful to work with and be with during their labor, some woman are just, well, it can be a character polishing experience...and some, they are just trying.  That "trying" patient for me is usually the one that challenges my ability.  Yes, they make me wonder if I know what in the world I've learned or seen!

Today I had one such patient (the first one who was there the longest!)  She was almost fully dilated, but was not dilating symmetrically, so she labored in hands and knees.  The difficulty was what i felt was an inability to communicate with her and how hard it was to read her.  The contractions are apparent, but she wanted to push so early on, which was expected, but so hard as the midwife to know how best to support her and when to really support her to push when her baby really needed to descend a while. ("a while" that's a very Filipino phrase...our English is greatly effected here.)

Here's where the justice comes in.  Towards the end of shift she was becoming progressively more pushy, but was tired and had a small potential for being transported.  In preparation for the next shift and to help her with tiredness (before it became exhaustion) I inserted an IV.  At this point it was apparent that the bana (husband...boyfriend) was a little frustrated that she hadn't delivered yet.  Oh, it was slight, so slight, but it opened up in me a well that poured forth a need for justice  I looked at him and said, "YOU must support her.  Her work is hard.  She is working so hard and is progressing normally, so YOU must support her." Oh, what used to be a slight frustration with my patient became such a passion for her justice that she would receive the support, encouragement, and love she deserved as a laboring woman.  She really was doing excellent.

Justice hasn't been something that has always been on my heart, well, maybe in the negative.  We can all think about personal and inpersonal situations of injustice, probably especially within the "Justice System".  Hmmm, but there is positive justice.  In fact, it is an attribute of our Heavenly Father.  He cares for justice.  When we want justice, though sometimes it's our injured ego, often it is a reflection of our desire for the perfection that can only come from God.  Know Him.  Seek after Him and seek His justice.

"He loves righteousness and justice;

The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord."

Psalm 33:5

"For the Lord loves justice,

And does not forsake His saints;
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off."

Psalm 37:28

"A bruised reed He will not break,

And smoking flax He will not quench,
Till He sends forth justice to victory;"

Matthew 12:20

P.S. this patient did deliver shortly after the swing shift came on...haven't heard the whole story yet, but no doubt it will be good!