Only God Can Judge Me

"Can you stay here with me," he asks me, his big brown eyes looking up at me helplessly.
"I can't, I'm sorry." I soak another four by four in sterile saline and start the tedious process of wiping the blood off of him over. This is the second time I've seen him tonight. The first was at the accident, when he put his car in a ditch and hit his head against the window.
"You're the only one who's nice to me; everyone else is yelling at me and staring me down and stuff." He uses his sleeve to scratch his face, raising both of his cuffed hands up slowly so as to avoid hitting me in the process.
"You're my patient," I say softly, "it's my job to take care of you." He smiles at me as I wipe the blood from under his eyebrow.
"I didn't mean to drive drunk. I didn't know I had," he falters, trying not to cry. He starts over, looking me right in the eye. "I came home from work and had a few beers, but I didn't realize how hungry I was. I guess I had too much to drink and not enough to eat, and when I was going to go over to my mom's house, I was drunk. I'm so sorry."
Lifting his chin to wipe the blood off of his neck, I stop him. "Hey, Matt, you don't have to apologize to me. You messed up, you realize what you did wrong, and somehow or another you're going to pay the consequences for what you did. It's not my place to judge you, it's just my place to treat you as my patient with kindness and compassion, just like I do all my patients." The cut above his right eyebrow won't stop bleeding, so I grab some gauze and cling wrap from the bag and secure it in place. "Matt, I'd like to take you to the hospital to get that stitched up."
"I...I really don't do hospitals, and I don't have health insurance." I squat down to his level and grab an ice pack. I smash it to activate it and hand it to him so he can put it on his eye which is swelling nicely.
"Matt, please. These officers here don't want you bleeding all over their jail; that's why they called me here to clean you up. I really, really want to take you to get seen."
"I really don't want to go."
"I can't make you, but promise me that if you start to feel worse you'll call me back and let me take you?" I wipe some remaining blood off of him and use a new dressing to dry his face.
"I promise. Hey Sam?"
"Yeah, Matt." He motions for me to come in closer so that no one can hear, but it's obvious that no one's paying attention anyway.
"Only God can judge me, right?" I pause to think for a moment and then I nod.
"Well, I think so anyway." He leans back against the wall and puts his hands in his lap and closes his eyes, looking almost as if he's in prayer.
"Thanks, Sam." I look up to see him frozen in the same position as I pack away my equipment silently.
"Oh, no problem, just glad to get you cleaned up."
"No, I mean...you taught me a lot." I sort of ponder this as I head back out towards the ambulance, but I shake it off like it's nothing.

"He was totally hitting on you," Eric says, "I can't believe you were so nice to him."
"What do you mean?"
"He was a drunk driver, Sam. You shouldn't have been so nice."
"That's how I am with all my patients, why should I have been any different with him?" He pauses and looks at me, puzzled.
"He was a drunk driver?" At this point, I'm getting frustrated, and I'm not in the mood to deal with this.
"It's not my place to judge my patients! It doesn't matter who you are, if you're my patient, I'm going to take care of you. If you're a single mother, a wealthy lawyer, a crack addict, a pedophile, a drunk driver," I say with a sneer, "you're still my patient. It's not my place to decide who gets good care and who gets the shit-tastic care of the day. You can hate the sin and love the sinner." I pause, and think. "Only God can judge me."

Taking a deep breath, I apologize briefly, muttering something under my breath.

Thanks, Matt I think to myself, you taught me a lot.


AnniforsciA said...

I love you and this post.


P.S. I get to see you in less than a day and a half!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Epijunky said...

That was so well written... Thank you so much for sharing it.

Sometimes the patients teach us so much.

John-Michael said...

My Darling Friend, please forgive this intrusion … but knowing your compassionate Heart, I am compelled to send this to you. Please read it, and follow your Heart’s leading. I have unwavering trust in that. I Love You, Your Servant, John-Michael

Oh my darlings, you sure know how to make a girl cry. I have just come home briefly to check in, there are too many messages to answer but I appreciate each and everyone one of then so very much.

Unfortunately, I have been given a bit of a bum steer in terms of Jack being able to stay in Hospice with me. That is actually not the case, apart from a night here and there, so the woman that told me it was possible has really got a lot to answer for as I pinned all my hopes on this. Anyway, Jacks Dad came down and can stay at my place this week at least but that's it. After that who knows and yet they are saying I need to be in Hospice for a lot longer yet.

The pain last night, defied description I have never felt such pain in my life including child birth, I was a sobbing mess, eventually they had to knock me out and I finally got some rest. Anyway they are comparing scans and trying very hard to work out what is best to do. I know I desperately need chemo, the longer I go without it, the bigger the tumour is growing and pressing further on the nerves. So now not only do I have megga pain that is not responding to treatment, I have a child not welcome at Hospice and my life is completely screwed.

I spent the night in tears and most of the day too, I don't have think I have any left but who knows, I will let you know how tonight goes. I am a broken woman.

There is talk about Jack having to move up with David to Warragul and change schools and everything. I said NO WAY I am not giving him up when I am not ready to die and I am not giving him up twice. I will work something out. There is no way he needs to go to another school, he needs the security of his local school here and his friends and having close contact with me.

Anyway my friends, it is a lot to contemplate tonight, I will do my best and I will not be letting my son go away from me no matter what. Please keep praying and sending me your love and care, I need you all so desperately right now. I hate to have to go, but I must leave now to go back to Hospice as they need to medicate me there, it is too dangerous to be on the medication I need to be on at home.

I will be thinking of you and I will post again either tomorrow or the next day, I promise.

Love to you all, my heart is full of you love and hugs to each and every one of you. Xxxx

posted by Jen Ballantyne at 18:40 on 9/04/2008

Anonymous said...

Thank you Sam,
Thank you Meris for never judging me.

I appreciate your story and your words...

Witness said...

I won't lie. I judge. I judge every time I walk into a room, every scene I pull up on. I have to- it's part of the job, judging the scene by it's appearance, trying to see If I'll, if my crew will be safe.

Hope for the best, treat for the worst.

I treat my patient's all the same. The drunk driver gets no more, no less care than the grandma that fell. But in my head, I've judged. All the worse, my brain tells me not to care about them, but my heart disagrees.

Do no further harm.

I remember I'm here to help, to heal. While I know in my mind that this person, my patient, is good or evil or some combination thereof, I do my duty.

Because that's what we're here for.

John-Michael said...

My Darling Friend ... spending moments in the presence of your shared Spirit ... restores me.

I love You!

Sam's mom said...

You are living your beliefs beautifully. Patients are fortunate to have you taking care of them with equality, kindness and compassion.

I'm so proud of you (as always).