Monday, 6 January 2014

Send Out Your Light - Part 4

I am taking up my story of the out pouring of God's light and healing into the dark places of my life again, picking up from the point where, after months in a medical ward, I have been transferred to the annexe apart from the hospital.
(You can read the first 3 parts of the story prior to this in the blog archive).

I loved my new surroundings and especially relished the fact of being able to sit up.
Not only did I have a better vantage point but it made the mundane act of eating so much easier too.

Now I could begin to read again,
 something it is very difficult to do when lying flat , or even on your side.
 Lying flat the arms give out after a few minutes,
 and lying on my side was not only uncomfortable but for some reason
 my eyes always watered horribly too.
Now I thought time would pass more quickly and profitably
 as I returned to my passion for books.
I would also begin to draw again!
Equally important was the possibility of (ahem) sitting on a bed pan instead of sort of lying on one like a recumbent banana . (Indelicate but true!)
Things were beginning to look up.

It didn't take long for me to understand that though my move had heralded changes
 I was still very sick.
The pain still remained, and sitting up proved exhausting.
 Simply sitting in bed my heart would beat so hard and fast
 I could see the print in front of my eyes pulsing,
 and the old bed frame castanets would begin their dance again.
Even the bright new company I was so glad of
 could be too much for me and I would be forced to lie flat again and go incommunicado.
 I guess my aspirin migraines and vomiting didn't make me the most congenial ward buddy either.
Above all else undoubtedly the best part of my move
 was leaving behind the smothering atmosphere of suffering in the main medical ward.
Even so it was one thing to leave the physical presence behind,
 and another to jettison the sounds and stories I knew so well.
I felt seared by the pain I had encountered
 and could only keep up the stream of prayer that had begun for those known,
 and unknown to me.
One of the problems of the ward I had been on in the main hospital
was the familiarity which had grown between myself and the young nurses.
I was near their age,
 and some of us were known to each other
 due to the fact of their being a year or so ahead of me in grammar school.
 This, and the fact of my long stay,
 meant I was almost accepted as one of them
 in as much as protocols of confidentiality were often forgotten.

As time passed
 I became increasingly privy to graphic details of the immediate effects,
and the prognosis,
 of the medical conditions my fellow patients suffered.
 Sleepless nights often found me listening
 to the fears of some inexperienced nurse facing a long shift virtually alone.

   On top of what I already heard and glimpsed in the ward itself,
 the extra burden of this knowledge
 increased the stress of living within this world of the sick.
Unlike these friendly young women
 I could not walk away at the end of the shift and take a break
 from the atmosphere and reality of the hidden world of suffering.
The ward had become my world entire.


I was soon to find that the easier regime which was a part of life away from the main wards
 gave greater opportunity for this breaking down of barriers between patients and carers.

It was not unusual for a nurse to wander into my ward
 from the children's ward on the floor above, bottle feeding an infant,
 and to casually describe the little one's medical condition.

If I had found it harrowing to learn of the agonies my older fellow patients were subject to
I was now devastated to discover the cruelty of congenital diseases, cancers,
 and the myriad illnesses these tiny mites were heir to.

I had believed coming to the annexe
 would be to break away from the enclosed world of suffering in the medical ward.
Ironically, even though I could now gaze
 at the world outside the large window alongside my bed,
 I felt even more engulfed by suffering than ever.

If you are wondering why I did not remonstrate with the nurses,
remind them I was a patient too,
 or at least let them know how the knowledge of so much pain affected me,
I ask you to remember I was just coming up to my seventeenth birthday
and had been in hospital for almost a year.
Lonely, and glad of their friendship I was not about to do anything to jeopardise that.

Also I had been in hospital long enough to know there were many and subtle means
by which a nurse who was upset could make one's life a misery.
Especially when you were as dependent on them for everything as I was.

I wasn't to know it, but in the end it was the casual way things were done
 which was to lead to my escape from hospital all together.


The Blessings of Light be with You
 the next time.


  1. Hazel, as I read this segment the thought came to mind that, even at that young age and even as you were suffering greatly, God was using you to relieve the suffering of those young nurses as they struggled to deal with the pain of their patients. You were a listening ear for them and you brought their concerns to God in prayer. What a blessing you were in that hospital and the groundwork for your later life was being woven as you lay in bed suffering such pain with amazing courage. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Lynda, as ever you are generous and wise in your comments.
    Generous, in that you attribute courage where really there was no alternative other than to be where I was, and wise, in that listening and simply remaining open and to others is perhaps the greatest service we can give. Again I feel this choice was made for me. Doesn't Eph. say that we walk into the works God has prepared for us? Finally. I confess it had not occurred to me that I could have been of service to the nursing staff.
    I value your insight so very much, and thank God for your comments. x.