Among the things I limit myself from sharing on the blog (not a complete ban, but severely limited) are matters at work, my wife, and revealing names. Of course these are fertile grounds for tons of writings, but the risks of upsetting someone and making unnecessary trouble are not worth it. But today I have stuff to share that treads out to the thin ice which I hope is worth the risk.
Mrs. Agent X (my wife) works in PICU. I will not reveal any more than that about her. I wont say which one, her position there, and nothing to identify any of the patients she meets.
But I will say, in case I have a reader who doesn’t already know this, PICU is where babies and children with critical illness and injuries go for care. It is a place of work that holds incredible rewards for someone with a caring heart. But it also is a place where babies and children die. And sometimes the death is a long drawn out process. Sometimes the work in that place is some of the most punishing there is.
Mrs. Agent X is not at liberty to tell me about the patients she meets. I know practically nothing about any given patient there at any given time. However, she often says that if a child is featured on the TV news, there is a really high probability that she is involved with their care.
Another little bit of backdrop to my post: I have lived in Denver and Phoenix. Both cities are much, much bigger than Lubbock. It is not uncommon in those cities to look up to the sky numerous times in a day and see choppers flying around. Private helicopters, law enforcement, TV News Stations, and of course medevac. However, in Lubbock, you don’t typically see them, but when you do, it’s almost always medevac. And Mrs. Agent X has an ear for them! We might be sitting down to dinner talking quietly, and none of the rest of us will notice the distant sound, but she will suddenly observe that she has her work cut out for her tomorrow.
Yeah. It’s like that.
My first signal that a child is very sick or about to die is when Mrs. Agent X comes home at the end of the day in a deep funk. I will fish around for clues. Did the boss or a fellow worker chew on you? Or did a kid die today?
Some days she needs to go away to mourn. She is not her usual self for a while. And I encourage her saying that these things just happen, but if it were happening to me or mine, I would want her taking care of us. She ushers those babies to Jesus some days, and that’s hard on a soul to do.
I watched a police drama on Hulu a while back, one of the particularly realistic ones. There was a scene where the veteran cop coaches the rookie through a particularly grueling call. He tells about his hardest day as a cop when he administered CPR to a little girl.
The rookie asks, “Did she live?”
The veteran replies, “No.”
But after a somber moment the veteran ads, “I dreamed about her for three years after that. …In my dreams, she always lived.”
I told Mrs. Agent X about it.
She tells me she dreams too.
She dreams she is carrying a dead baby around the unit telling the other caregivers that she just said “Hi”, so she can’t be dead. And she turns to see the baby hooked up to a ventilator she is dragging around behind her as she pleads with someone to re-examine the kid.
This old world is hard. There are things going on in it that just should not be. Mrs. Agent X goes to the place of shame, pain, and despair in our community and bears the image of God there.
And she comes home to mourn.
“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted” -Jesus.
I don’t know any comfort for that kind of mourning except resurrection. A day will come, it is promised to us, and the dead will rise, and the tears will be wiped away.
Let us take hold of those words in hope.
God bless Mrs. Agent X.