Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Long Days, Long Nights

Of all days in life... this is one where I'm happy that I created this blog. Today was a very hard day at work and I can say with all certainty that I have never experienced what I experienced today. I'm not even sure if words can describe what happened. And actually to be more accurate I could start with yesterday because it was like a domino affect and if you want to be more truthful still I could continue to go back but lets just suffice it to say that I have had a rough 24 hours...

I think I will back up to yesterday. I had a pretty much normal day at work... very busy though I saw a lot of clients in the office and did a few home visits before heading back to the office where I saw a couple more... Anyway at about 3pm one of my clients came in that hadn't been in the office in a little while but she looked mad... and I asked her what was wrong in passing as I had another client in my office and she simply sad I'm having a bad time right now. I told her when she's done come on in my office and we'd talk. That talk lasted for 2 hours and 15 minutes to be exact. I had calss that two more clients were in the office... my phone was ringing off the hook... yet, I couldn't leave her. I couldn't. The client yesterday had just lost her mom 7 days prior. She is 23 years old. At 33 I can't nor do I desire to attempt to try to imagine my mom not being there... I don't want the very thought. Could I make it? Of course but only by the very grace and help of God my Father. So anyway, she talked and cried and talked and told me her story... her mom had cancer last year but told her that she beat the cancer. Told her that she was fine. The daughter was doing her thing.. working, half-living with her boyfriend and just doing her. On her birthday last month her mom called her and told her that she needed for her to take her to the hospital and she did. That's when she found out that her mother had lied to her. Not only did she have cancer, she never finished her treatments... She was hurt but she said she did what she had to do to care for her mom. The day her mom died she was at her boyfriends house trying to take a nap and her mom had managed to get up, make it to the door and tell neighbors to call 911. Again, she was hurt because her mom didn't call her. She never saw her mom alive again. She was just at her mom's/her place the night before bringing her some food. Little did she know that would be the very last time she saw her alive.

So there I sat, attempting to comfort someone with no hope... and what could I really say??? Right, nothing. I was there for her. Trying to help her combat the guilt, trying to help her ease the pain... On top of that at the repast the landlord told her that she would have to vacate the apartment and the boyfriends mom said well you can't stay here... now she'd been staying there and it was no problem but right when she has no hope, no home and no mom... you put her out... What kind of world do we really live in??? So I couldn't possibly turn my back on her... Somebody needed to represent... Christ. So I did all that I could do. I loved on her and comforted her and allowed her to vent out her frustrations to cry out her anger and pain...

I talked to her boyfriend... I talked about God... When she left me she had a spark of hope in her eyes that wasn't there when she arrived and she couldn't stop thanking me for being kind. Saying things like, "wow, there are people out here that care about you that don't really know you." So I have someone working on finding her her own place and I have a grief counselor to refer her too... but I couldn't deal with any of that today... I had bigger fish to fry...

I almost want to continue this in another post but that would make it come 1st in order of viewing... so ... I'll keep going... I left work yesterday and went straight to school... when I got in I was simply drained (I camr off of a very long weekend) and I crashed.


I awoke this morning got ready for work and headed out... almost at the office my work cell phone rings and its a co-worker with some devestating news. One of our mutual pregnant clients (18 years old) had just been informed by the doctor that her 23 week old pregnancy was going to have to come to an end, that she would have to deliver the baby but when she did it wouldn't make it. Her mom was stuck at home and she was at the hospital alone dealing with that news that literally came out of nowhere because up until that point she'd received nothing but "good" news from her prior doctors. I've only seen this client maybe 3 times prior but its something about me that my clients simply love me and draw to me... I'm thankful.

I arrived at the hospital, my co-worker and myself and she's ... relieved... relieved to not have to bear this burden alone. Relief is the word I chose because... how could she be "happy" at a time like this? So what did I do? I smiled at my client, one of those... I know you don't have to say a word type smiles and asked her how she was doing ... she tried to "small chat" it out but couldn't make it and crumbled... I got in that bed alongside her and just hugged her. She cried... and my co-worker (her Doula) was there and we just let her cry it. She eventually stopped and started to tell us the unfolding drama. My client had been bleeding and I had told her on our first meeting different warning signs that meant "go straight to the hospital, not call the doctor" and she was bleeding and went to the doctor. The saw nothing wrong with her or the baby, scheduled an ultra-sound and sent her home. She had the ultra-sound... same news. Baby fine. She has an appointment checked out by the midwife, everything is fine. She's still bleeding she goes back to the hospital and they send her home. She has another appointment, same thing... she finally has an appointment with the doctor. The doctor checks her. See's the problem, go into "doctor language" with the nurse and sends her home telling her to come back on Monday for another ultrasound. She does and they won't see her (suddenly - some crap excuse). She goes home, still bleeding and her mom after some excessive bleeding rushes her to a different hospital, well known for high-risk patients and within 5 minutes they tell her that her baby has no amniotic fluid in the sac. That they don't know if it slowly leaked or if it was ever there etc. The are stunned when they find out that she has had consistent prenatal care and even more stunned that she saw a doctor this week that sent her home because as they stated that there was no way the doctor didn't know. Anywho, the news gets worse. They are going to have to take the baby and if the baby does live (10% chance) it will have sever issues as everything is under-developed and the infant weighed only a little over 1 pound. So this is the background.

We're in the room and the hospital social worker comes inand she begins to ask her about "arrangements" and things available to her and options open to her regarding her baby. She absolutely lost it. I have never ever seen someone teeter that close to the edge of sanity and insanity. We were there but ... its indescribable to decribe how she reacted... the things she began to say as the realities hit her. It was like she was leaving her and coming back... talking to us then talking to the baby then talking to herself??? It was so very very hard to sit there and watch it but God is awesome in that he gives us strength for the tasks at hand. My co-worker left the room a few times. But it was fine... She calmed and then started again and then she out of the blue asked us to pray and they asked me to pray so I did. Of course you have no idea what to say... but the Holy Ghost is real and He will lead and guide you... so after I finished sort of under my breath I just kept asking God to give her peace and rest. She calmed a lot and eventually I left, left my co-worker there because while it is her job to be there, I came purely to support her but I had to get back to the office. I did offer to pick up her mom and bring her back because she had no way to get there and her daughter needed her and wouldn't begin "the process" until she arrived.So I picked her up and supported her on the way and after dropping her off and driving back once again to the office I was left to process all that I'd been through... it was approximately 3pm and I'd been with her since approx 9am.

So... I went in talked to my boss and a few others and left at 4pm to head to school because I had a quiz that I wasn't prepared for. In class some chick said something in class that aggravated me and I sorta snapped... It was then I realized that my emotions were still reeling... I prayed and attempted to calm my self. After school I called my co-worker to see how she was doing. She was on her way home when she called me back and told me that she delivered the baby at about 7pm and that she was the one to take control and just the toll it took on her and how about 4 blocks after she left the hospital she had a melt-down... It was such a stressful situation and as the "professional" we are there to support them. So on the one hand it was really nice for us to be together to support each other... We agree that we're bonded for life... however we also feel that today we made a difference, we ministered to them. I calmed her before she went into her home.

What I realized however is that this was a learning experience for me. I am going to be faced with hard situations and horror stories and people are going to look to me... Who am I??? Lesson 2... don't take it with me. I've never had that problem before but like I said... I've supported people in grief before... but this was another level... an entirely different plane. I pray that God will cover those two women tonight and the nights and days ahead... for these will truly be some long days... and long nights for these two women. I'm thankful, that God chose to use me. Saddened at the circumstances, angered at the doctors that botched up her healthcare... but most of all... grateful... grateful to God. Knowing that His mercy is everlasting. Grateful that I know He won't leave them alone. Grateful, that He can comfort them. Grateful, that He can bear their burdens. Grateful dare I say it... that it wasn't me. That sounds like such a selfish, horrible statement... but its truth... I wouldn't want it to be me but I also didn't want it to be them. I didn't want it to be anyone at all. The pain that I saw that mother in today... was something that I know that people experience but something I really wish they didn't have to...

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