I am seeing an ostomy nurse who specializes in patients with acute and chronic “wound” care. Things in the natural often mimic things in the spirit.
Wounds and pain are funny things. They have layers. They have smells and degrees of infection and pus. They can be covered up with a Band-Aid or douched in ointments, but if they keep getting infected, they never heal up to become scars. How do we deal with the people, situations, and traumas that have hurt us to the point we need an ostomy nurse?
Everyone I know has pain. A story. A wound. A past. We often try to take matters into our own hands and fix things that are causing us pain. We want to secretly punish our enemies or those who treat us with disrespect, contempt, isolation, jealousy, and hatred. We want our Father to expose them but cover us.
Many times we are standing in the face of a storm that’s so powerful the dust is stinging our eyes, and the tempest is shattering our peace. It’s during these times of difficulty that we scream, “Abba look what they are doing to me! Listen to what they are saying about me! Look how they have treated me in this relationship, this family, or on this job. We smugly add, “and after all, I have done for them!”
We keep track of their wrongs and our rights.
We want a God in those moments who looks a tad different than the God we want when we realize we have used our words to tarnish others. We have purposely treated others in a manner that was not with a servant’s heart but a selfish heart. We want this Father to overlook–to dismiss when we steal our brother’s birthright, or when we take our earthly father’s idols and hide them under our skirts. Yes, we want the compassionate and merciful Father at those times, but when we are wounded, we want a WARRIOR to stand and fight for us.
My first night home from the hospital was slippery. I am swollen and hurting, and there is this bag attached to me. In certain glimpses, I am reminded of an old vacuum cleaner bag that connects over a round circular tube. My stomach looks quite bruised and this bag swinging from my abdomen is a foreign object that frightens me. I am not used to this contraption that makes sounds and becomes heavy on my thigh. I’m a bit overwhelmed by the boxes sent home with me. There are gloves, odor drops, disinfectants, wipes for my rolled up Velcro tab and sweeper bags. I’m thinking a million thoughts. Mostly will I ever feel human again or like a vibrant, sexy woman?
I am not second guessing the surgery or the fact that the surgeon found scar tissue and places where my colon and intestines were seared together due to another surgery from 2004. I’m reminded of this faint journey where I referred to myself as the woman with the issue of blood. “Endometrial ablation is a procedure that surgically destroys (ablates) the lining of your uterus. The tools vary, depending on the method used to ablate the endometrium. They might include extreme cold, heated fluids, microwave energy or high-energy radio frequencies.”
No amount of juicing, fasting, cutting out sugars and carbs, and so on, could have un seared or straightened the zigzagged mess the surgeon ran into, but let’s get back to wounds and enemies.
After spending four nights in the hospital and one night at home with my new sack, I awake in the morning with a knowing that my colostomy bag has to come off. This doesn’t make sense, but I am sure Holy Spirit wants my husband to help me remove the bag and look at my stoma. As we uncovered my stoma, we see that it is separating and there is a gaping place. Possibly from throwing up much the day after surgery.
We take pictures and send them to the doctor’s office, and they contact the home health care nurse who patches and changes the bag and makes an appointment for me to see the ostomy nurse. But by that evening my stoma isn’t working, and my stomach is as red and swollen as a watermelon. In the natural, it looks like they may be rushing me to the OR. In other matters, my husband and I are battling painful problems with those we love. There seems to be a separating going on in more ways than one, and the wounds we are feeling hurt horribly. No patching can fix the underlying issues. What is happening in the natural is happening in the spirit. The waste isn’t coming forth to bring healing as there is no communication.
We get to the ER, and it’s a bustling Sabbath. It’s the last place we want to be. This ER is in an area of town laden with drugs, crime, and poverty. However, this hospital host some of the best doctors in the world. It’s touted for the first fully self-contained artificial heart transplant and the first successful hand transplantation.
We wait over an hour, and my pain is horrible. I’m crying and praying and looking around the room at many who needed set free from addiction, demons, and agony. Finally, I ask the lady at the desk how many are in front of me, and she says five. She then says let me check with the supervisor. Suddenly, a lady comes out and says, “Mrs. Manning we are not sure how this happened, but we show that you are already in a bed in the ER. Obviously, that is not you, but since you are already in our system, and you just had surgery, I’m going to get you a room. Hold still.” Baruch HaShem! He hears. He sees.
We sit back down, and a lady comes out to get my blood. She looks at my husband and says I’ll bring her right back,” I tell her I want my husband to come with me. She exhales roughly and says, “There is no reason for that ma’am, you are just getting blood drawn, and I’ll bring you back out–5 minutes tops.” I look at her again and mouth something like “I know the drill, or this isn’t my first rodeo.” She is quite ticked off now. I plead and explain that hospitals give me PTSD and she says “okay, come on, but this is ridiculous. He’s just going to walk right back out here in a second.” I feel the lack of compassion, and my heart hurts.
Both my arms are bruised from the I’V’s used before and after surgery. It seems my left arm went hard as a brick and they switched to my right. The phlebotomist finally finds a place on my right wrist. She places the tourniquet on tightly. I grimace with an “ouch!” To which she jabs the needle in my vein roughly. I look down, and the whole thing blows up like a balloon and turns greenish purple. It doesn’t really hurt, as the pain from my wound has overtaken any other pain in my body and made it minimal. I secretly think she has done this on purpose, but I cannot be sure. I ask for a Kleenex as more tears come and she says harshly, “We don’t have any back here.” Suddenly, a lady two feet from her picks up a whole box and hands it to my husband and says “she can have the whole box.” The Phlebotomist ignores this. She is labeling vials and rummaging through things, and then she stands up and says something about getting us back out to the waiting room.
I look at my husband who is looking at my arm, the box of tissues and then back at Nurse Cullen from Twilight. He can tell people off without them realizing it until much later. I can tell that he is getting ready to let this lady have it. I say, “Don’t do it Chief. It’s not worth it. He looks at me and back at her. “Just let it go. It’s Shabbat.” I see the wheels turning, and about the time his lips part to utter something, a male RN at the desk across from the blood station stops the commotion and says, “I will take them now.” He is quick to look at the photo of my stoma on my hubby’s phone. But as he is looking at my stomach and examining me, I see the Phlebotomist looking over and catching a bit of my colostomy bag and wondering what the picture might look like that my hubby was showing the RN. Had she overheard him say I might need surgery?
Next thing I know, I am in a bed in the hallway of the ER. Doctors and nurses are flying by and then suddenly the nurse who had drawn blood swoops over and says “oh, I’m so glad they got you a bed.” At a closer glance, I realize she is much older than me. She looks uncomfortable. I am looking at her strangely, like who are you? What is this nice act all the sudden? She looks at hubby and says let me get you a chair. She leaves and comes back carrying a black office chair. I can’t tell if this is genuine or if she’s scared we will complain about her. She offers to bring him water. Five minutes later she is back with a plea to bring me a heated blanket. She smiles exhaustedly, and I see it… That look that says I was wrong about you. I thought you were a wimp who couldn’t get poked without your hubby by your side.
She was saying she was sorry over and over, with no words. Hubby saw it too.
We’ve all heard this Torah verse quoted in an assembly or an old western movie, but what does it look like when it happens?
“Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord; I will repay.” Deuteronomy 32.35.
“Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord” Romans 12:17-19.
So many times we want to repay. My husband could have made that nurse feel small. He could have called her out—reported her, or even told her a thing or two, but would it have had the same result. Would she have brought him a chair in the ER? A warm blanket? Doubtful. So many times if we would just back off and say I’m going to let my Dad take care of it, He would. In His way. And His way will affect them much greater than we ever could.
1 Peter 3:9
“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this, you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
Some people are so wounded it doesn’t matter what we do or say; they take offense. Often the person just doesn’t know us. They take our words, actions, and our very hearts wrong. Like that nurse who had no idea that I have had over a 100 vials taken in one sitting. I’m not scared of needles. I just like my husband by my side. I pled for my husband to come back there with me, and both of them did. My earthly husband and my heavenly Husband. What happens in the natural is happening in the spirit.
Don’t let folks treat you like a doormat, but also discern when to let the Father swoop in and take care of things. He will fight for you and is fighting for you in the background. You may not see it or know about it up close and personal, but trust me, He sees you! He also saw that nurse and had compassion on her. Being a nurse/servant can be a tough job, and at times we can be harsher than we need to be because we haven’t taken the time to fill our empty vessels up so we will have something to pour out. We’ve all been Nurse Cullen at one time or another, bruising others and overlooking the tools around us. Hopefully, we will have the grace and humility to offer a chair, water, or a warm blanket of love to those who come to our tent looking for refreshing waters, when we are as empty as the foolish virgin’s lamps.