My mother in a fog of drugs and pain looked at the nurse at her bedside. She was unable to move any of her weak and broken limbs. Even opening her mouth was a chore. The nurse had just come in to give mom her medication.
I had taken a 30-second break from my vigil to go to the bathroom. As I came out, I saw the nurse leaning over mom. What I heard almost made me wretch.
"If you don't open your mouth for these pills, I am going to hurt you." Anger and frustration from the harried nurse who had others to attend to.
My mom who had been in pain and physical horror for nearly a week, battered and perplexed by why so much pain was still being inflicted on her by those we had told her would help now closed her eyes, and cried. My mom never cries. She could not move. It was all that was left to her.
I raced to her side and wrapped her head in my arms.
"She will not hurt you," I cried, "I will not let her. No one will hurt you ever unnecessarily and I will not leave your side. No one should ever speak to you that way or threaten you ever. I will be here till you are through with this place and home safely. You are my mom and I love you and you took such good care of me. Now I am not leaving and I will take care of you."
As I hugged my poor mother, I turned to the nurse and said, "That was cruel and wrong. You should never threaten or speak to any patient that way, particularly not a vulnerable person who has endured so much pain."
Both mom and I were crying now. The nurse tried to explain she was trained to bring non-responsive patients around though painful stimuli to the sternum. I told her to be silent. I didn't want to hear another word. I wanted her to leave us alone.
She left, I settled mom down and almost immediately while I sobbed, a representative from mom's assisted living home walked in the door. I told her the story between gasping tears. She told me she would stay with mom and I should report the incident immediately while it was fresh in my mind.
"I will not leave my mom," I said.
My dad and sister arrived to the hospital at about that time and I collapsed crying in my daddy's arms. I told them what the nurse had said and my sister Amy didn't need to hear more than the first sentence of the nurse's words.
"I'll be back," she said.
In no time, the nurse was removed from mom's care and Amy and I were sitting with the patient advocate. They agreed to move mom to ICU though her physical status did not qualify. We would be allowed to stay with her even overnight.
Though she'd been moved initially from the orthopedic floor to the cardiac floor for increased monitoring, she received less attention there. (And not once in her periods of poor responsiveness had they threatened her with pain.) The nurses on the cardiac floor were terribly rushed and busy. They clearly were not skilled in rolling and changing sheets of someone with mom's injuries. With despair, Dad, Amy, and I watched as they tried to clear sheets from under her. For half an hour, she groaned and screamed and they could not do what had been done skillfully and quickly by those on the orthopedic floor. They even allowed her newly replaced hip into abduction and flexion - the two directions the surgeon said must not be allowed or it would be damaged. She had endured unspeakable agony as they fumbled.
I had been up all night after that debacle. Though her blood oxygen levels had dropped dangerously and been the cause of the Rapid Response team being called three times while she was on the orthpedic floor, the nurse on the cardiac floor told me they didn't need to monitor her blood oxygen level.
I insisted. All they had was a portable monitor that didn't connect to the nurse's station. I stayed up all night watching her levels and running to the nurse station when it beeped low. When she ripped off the cardiac monitors which are connected to the nurse station, (and the reason she had been transferred to that floor), no one came. I finally went to the nurse's station to report it, and a few minutes later, someone showed up.
The people who were supposed to heal my mother, nurture her, care for her, and help her in her most vulnerable moments were failing her. She was being inflicted with horrific needless pain by those who were meant to protect her.
Mom is now safe in the ICU. She wanted Dad to stay with her so Amy and I are home with my brother who lives near the hospital. I got a much needed few hours of sleep. We will return this morning.
As I held my mother promising to protect her, I thought of other helpless, vulnerable little humans. In the brutal violent act of abortion, thousands of babies each day are inflicted with unbearable pain without anesthesia, ripped limb by limb till they die by the very person they should have been most precious to, most protected by; by the one whose womb had been perfectly designed to keep them safe.
Folks, when we harm the vulnerable, and then attempt to offer excuses for why it is necessary, we are monsters.
Abortion is wrong. Hurting those who cannot protect themselves is wrong. We should be ashamed of ourselves.
Our agenda does not trump morality. It does not trump kindness. It does not trump decency and compassion to the vulnerable.
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions
Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”