Today, I was auditing some charts when I was approached by an elderly lady who was very upset because she had been there the day before with her husband and lost his discharge instructions. As one of the nurses went to medical records to pull the paperwork she needed, she started telling me about all of her husband's health problems. She was so frail herself that it seemed impossible she could be caring for anyone but herself but here she was, taking her spouse back and forth for treatment.
"I asked the doctor how long he has and he told me the cancer has grown in the worst way possible in just 3 months. I don't know if he's going to make it to Christmas and our daughter is coming home from the West Coast for the holidays. I don't know what to tell her."
This adorable little lady started to cry, and someone ran off to get her a box of tissues. I listened to her because it seemed like she needed to vent more than she needed to hear anything and she obviously felt safe talking to us. I could detect despair, confusion, doubt, grief, and resolution all at once. She dabbed at her eyes and asked me if her make up was OK.
She laughed a little as she said "I can't let him see me like this."
I assured her I would pray for her husband. Would you please keep him in your prayers too?
Meanwhile, I got a note from a friend last week about the apricot-colored roses that had bloomed with a vengeance in her garden. She knew I had offered a novena to St. Therese for her dad and she had good news - yes, he was diagnosed with cancer but no, it did not require treatment at this time, just close monitoring. She was so afraid her father would need chemo and to her, the word cancer struck with less fear than the dreaded medication regimen did. She know her dad would have a hard time being compliant so what she heard was music to her ears.
This is how I earn my children's livelihood - through prayer.