I haven’t had to deal with much death or serious medical emergencies so far in my 39 years. I know that there are tragedies in my future, just like there are in everyone’s life. And at this point, I trust God to handle the details and to give me His power when those things happen. I know His timing is perfect and His wisdom is higher than mine. I’m so glad He will be there with me. I know I will need His powerful and loving presence every moment.
I worked in the pharmacy (I’m a pharmacist part time) the day after we came back from vacation. That morning a man came into the store after having a bee sting.
The man got VERY, VERY sick. I will spare you the details. But it was awful. I gave him two Epi-Pens before the ambulance got there. There were a lot of REALLY horrific moments as we waited for the ambulance to arrive. I found out later that he also had a heart attack while he was with me – probably at least in part due to the Epi-Pens. But if I didn’t give him the Epi-Pens, he would have died.
The paramedics finally got there shortly after he had stopped breathing – but then he did start breathing again on his own. I was really concerned that CPR might not work because his throat was probably swollen shut. It was BAD. It was the worst medical emergency I had ever seen myself. This is why I became a pharmacist – not a nurse or a doctor! I didn’t want to be faced with these kinds of scary life and death emergencies!
We heard later in the day that the man was in the ICU in critical condition.
I’M HUMAN, TOO!
I stayed pretty calm during the crisis. I stayed calm and peaceful at work the rest of the day by God’s power. This happened at 9:30 in the morning, we are open till 6:00pm.
But I was a MESS that night. I cried the whole way home from work. I cried for 30 minutes after I got home from work. I cried at bedtime because all I could see was the man all sweaty and covered with weed clippings from working in the yard laying on the floor and all the horrible things that happened and I kept second guessing myself. Maybe I should have given him the Epi-Pens sooner. Maybe I should have given him more than two? But I was afraid of causing him a heart attack. Turns out I probably DID cause him a heart attack. Maybe if I had given them sooner he wouldn’t be in critical condition. Maybe it’s my fault that he may have brain damage or might die. I could hardly sleep. It was traumatic. Now I think that maybe if I had given the Epi-Pens sooner, he probably would have had the heart attack sooner – and who knows- that might have been worse. I am pretty talented at torturing myself with “what ifs” when I really put my mind to it! (I had a LOT of practice for many years!)
MY HUSBAND WAS WONDERFUL
My husband was THE BEST! He made a steak dinner for us that night. He hugged me and held me for the whole time I cried – and didn’t complain that his wonderful meal was getting cold. He encouraged me and helped me see that if I hadn’t helped the man - he would have died. The friend was going to go to Dollar General in the same shopping center as our pharmacy, but decided to come to us instead. If they had gone to Dollar General, the man would have died. If the friend had driven him to the hospital, he would have died on the way. Maybe God used me to save his life. My husband invited me to watch the Olympics opening ceremony with him. He cuddled with me and rubbed my back. I felt very loved and supported.
If only my hubby had known that I had lice at the time - maybe he wouldn’t have cuddled QUITE so closely! I didn’t realize that little bit of news until later!
(By the way, for all of you who are wondering – and for future reference- the oil thing didn’t seem to kill the lice very well. So today I did Vaseline in my hair and my daughter’s hair. That seemed to work a lot better – with a shower cap for 8 hours. I have had patients complain that it’s hard to wash Vaseline out of their hair. I really don’t care. I will probably keep Vaseline slathered in my hair for the next week JUST TO BE SURE those nasty little bugs are GONE!)
GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY OVER LIFE AND DEATH
I had to grapple with that really fine line (from my perspective at least) of – where does my responsibility and accountability end and God’s sovereignty begin? If the man died because I should have done something differently – then it would be my fault. And yet – somehow God is sovereign even over my mistakes. I don’t have this stuff all figured out. I am sure when we get to heaven and see all the behind the scenes things going on in heavenly realms - it will be much more obvious!
I talked to my twin sister, who used to be a nurse in the ICU and also the Recovery Room. She said that sometimes there is nothing anyone can do. Sometimes people die. It’s hard for me to accept that – especially if the person is under my care! “You do your best but then God is sovereign.”
Thinking about God’s sovereignty was the ONLY thing that gave me peace that night. And He did give me peace as I set my mind on Him instead of the circumstances. THANK YOU, LORD!
I’ve always been able to see MY responsibility and the weight of being accountable for my actions. It’s only been the past few years that I have also truly seen God’s sovereignty running alongside of that. And in a life or death situation when I am the one in charge and trying to save a life – I praise God for His sovereignty and His hand guiding me. I had some training about CPR and anaphylaxis, but I was not sure what all was going on during that entire situation. It was terrifying.
I found out today that the man I helped is getting out of the hospital today and going home! I thank and praise God for His great mercy in sparing this 53 year old man’s life. I thank Him that maybe He used me to help spare his life. I don’t know this man’s relationship with Jesus. I hope I might have a chance to talk with him and others about that. But I know that this situation may have turned out very differently – and God would still be sovereign. I have to trust that He knows best – and that I somehow can’t stop or thwart His plans.
So, I will continue to try to do my best and do what I believe is right at the moment and trust God’s hand to guide me. I thank Him that He was with me Friday and every day. And I will continue to look into the incredible mystery and peace that God’s sovereignty brings. I am SO THANKFUL GOD IS SOVEREIGN AND IN CHARGE – NOT ME!