My nursing assistant position at the hospital allows me to work with many new members of the sisterhood, but the population is largely geriatric patients who suffered from diverticulitis. However, a couple weeks ago I was surprised at the younger age of a new patient who, after suffering from an irritable bowel disease for many years, had gotten an ileostomy. Over the next week and a half that she was my patient, we traded icky stories and shared experiences which developed that close-knit NA-patient relationship that happens every so often. At the end of my sixth shift with her (which would be my last), I rushed to meet my five-day weekend and missed the chance to tell her what a pleasure it had been to listen and share with her.
A day and a half into my nice, long weekend a friend texted me asking if I could cover her shift from 3-7 on a Thursday afternoon. I could always use the extra money even four hours would give, and not wanting to be the type of coworker who doesn't do favors, I told her I could do it.
I was a little apprehensive as I drove into the parking garage that afternoon, as I had never worked during day shift and didn't quite know what to expect. I arrived early to have quiet time in my car, as is my routine before work. I sent up a quick prayer for compassion for my patients (something that doesn't come naturally to me) and for divine appointments - something you never quite know what to expect for after you pray for it.
I forgot all about the latter request as I was given report on my patients. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my ya-ya sister was still there. We could converse more and then I'd be able to give her a proper goodbye. As it happened there was a lull around 4, so I went into her room to speak with her and pass the time.
I walked in, and she was in a consultation with her ostomy nurse. After a bit of listening and charting, I let the ostomy nurse in on my secret - that I belonged to the sisterhood as well. This spurred on a wonderful conversation between the three of us about diet, skin issues, ostomy equipment (Coloplast forever!) and learning how to adapt to the new lifestyle. After showing off my bag to the two and referring the patient to Ostomy Secrets for bag and stoma-friendly girdles, the nurse requested my information and asked me:
"Would you like to talk to patients about life with an ostomy?"
Now this is an opportunity for which I have been yearning. There is nothing about my stoma that blesses me more than being able to share experiences with those who are just embarking on the ostomatey journey. I, of course, gave her a cool "YES, YES, A MILLION TIMES YES!!!" The ostomy nurses only work on day shift, and I couldn't believe how fortunate this meeting was.
At that point my patient chimed in and said, "You know, I really was hoping to go home this morning. And now I'm glad I didn't. Isn't it amazing how God works like that?" She had a point, there. If she had gotten to go home that morning...if I hadn't taken that afternoon shift...if she hadn't asked her nurse to come back after lunch instead of meeting at the planned time...this whole incident, this "divine appointment", which was clearly meant to be, wouldn't have taken place.
All this to say, we have a God who has a way better plan for our day than we do and I wish I were more receptive to it everyday. That time with my patient and her ostomy nurse might seem to my readers as just an anecdote from an ordinary day, but it was an incredible blessing to me and so much more fulfilling than anything else I would have been doing at that time. I think I'll have to pray for divine appointments more often and see what happens...
Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
Esther 4:14 NKJV