As her husband hugged me I was overwhelmed by the strong scent of his familiar cologne, but more than that I was overcome by the tears that welled up in his eyes, then slipped down his cheek as he choked out, “we will never forget you.”
The feeling was mutual.
Before I had said goodbye to his wife as she sat stable in her bedside recliner on a Medsurg floor I had held her hand and told her of the pleasure it had been to serve as her nurse in the ICU. It had been. I had cared for her post-operatively while a balloon assisted her heart to pump, I had worked tirelessly at her bedside five days later when her worn-out heart stopped, and I had smiled and joked with her almost two weeks later as we readied her for discharge. I had seen her at every climax and valley of her almost month-long hospitalization, and the fact that she spoke to me here on earth spoke to my heart. It spoke of the greatness of God to intervene when the healthcare team had hit a wall. As a nurse I frequently saw the hand of God move alongside the staff, and it was awe-inspiring to serve witness to such.
I saw the hand of God guide the EMS staff who quickly responded when a patient’s heart stopped out on the field. I saw Him act through their quick-thinking delivery of resuscitative care.
I saw the hand of God work through the ER staff to recognize life-threatening emergencies early on and respond appropriately.
I saw the hand of God in the surgery team, poised and ready to intervene. I saw God move through the hands of the surgeon, weaving miraculously through every incision, stitch, and suture.
I saw the hand of God in the bedside nursing staff who worked relentlessly to serve their patient. I saw Him quicken their perception of impending doom, or heighten their awareness of problems at hand.
I saw the hand of God when a Code Blue was called. He would calm the storms of anxiety, steady the hand of emergency intervention, and lead the hearts and minds of those working together to serve His purposes here on earth.
I saw the hand of God when every resource had been exhausted and it came time to let a patient go. I saw His whispered voice of wisdom to the hearts of healthcare providers, and I saw His hand of comfort over grieving family.
I saw the hand of God intervene when we as providers threw up our hands in defeat, and I saw His miraculous hand perform beyond modern medicine to divine intervention.
What a privilege to witness such work, to be a part of it all in some small way. Whether His hand is guiding mine, whether He’s holding me as I cry into my own hands, or whether He’s helping my hands to hold up the head of the grieving; God is good.