That was the edict I proclaimed too loudly and too stridently during my last hospitalization.
I was in bad shape, I was struggling, and no one would be allowed to see it.
There was no way I could divide my energies between trying to recover and trying to cover up how sick I was for others.
I would isolate myself and they could see me when I was well again.
Lately, I have been looking back on that crisis…with fondness.
I loved my nurses.
I loved my nurses because they were prepared and willing to deal with me the way I was and to help me get better.
When I arrived in the ER I had a collapsed lung and was struggling to breathe.
The lung had uncharitably collapsed before I had the opportunity to shower, comb my hair, brush my teeth, shave, or even get properly dressed.
They reinflated the lung before they put me in a room, so I arrived in mine appearing to be a wheezing, bloody, vagrant.
I was in tremendous pain and I was one as well.
No comments were made about my lack of hygiene or style…the nurses simply began the process to get me well.
They did so without mocking, without laughing, without blame or criticism.
They were there for me…when they asked how bad I hurt and where the hurt was coming from, they actually wanted to know the answers.
They used those answers to help alleviate the pain.
When they unintentionally created more pain they apologized profusely.
One night, about 2 am one even came in with a little kit to help me clean up, so I could feel more comfortable in front of them.
They were on my side, they were there for me, and they created an atmosphere of recovery that got my back on my feet.
Some of the doctors were not as careful or kind…but the nurses made it able to bear.
I never had to feel ashamed of my struggles on the road back to wholeness.
We like to refer to the church as a “hospital for broken sinners”.
I’m not so sure…maybe some more of us need to go to nursing school.
Make your own application.