She was sick. She came to the hospital with very little knowledge about just how sick she was. We told her - her platelets were low, her liver not working, her blood not clotting properly, maybe an infection in her belly. We did not completely understand exactly what was going on.
Now she was scared. She looked up at me, told me she was afraid of dying. And I, the one who has the words of life, mumbled my way through an akward explanation of how we do the best we can, but how we never know what is going to happen. How sometimes it is just "your time" no matter what we do.
But me, I DO know what is going to happen. At least in the end, the end of all things. The intern I was on with, ever more bold than I, told her that we have hope because we believe in Jesus. Asked her if we could pray for her. And then prayed - prayed for peace, for healing, that we would have wisdom. I stood mute, only holding her hand.
Then she wasn't quite so scared. She somehow managed smile and thanked us for taking care of her. We left the room to write the orders and think about what we could do to help with her physical problems, trying to put all of her problems into a list, detailing each of her organ systems so we wouldn't leave anything out. This is what we do as doctors. We make our assessments, make our plans, and hope we are doing it right. As the upper level, I am supposed to be the one teaching, helping the intern learn how to take care of sick patients.
My assessment that night?
One patient, suffering from a lack of the peace that passes understanding.
One intern, ready to offer it.
One resident, fearful and needing to be schooled - schooled by the intern.