The Ackermans

The Ackermans

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Neighbor Dropped By

Last week’s clinics were well beyond full. Actually there isn’t too much strain even when there are large numbers, since usually after I begin seeing patients I simply just keep plugging along one at a time. By the end of the day I usually make it home without much trauma to myself. One thing that is necessary though is a protection system that has a sense when people are there for the sole purpose of having their physical, psychological, or spiritual ills evaluated and treated, rather than persons who simply want to get to see the white Dr. to see if he will give them some money. (Please know, I have told these people over and over that I am a Registered Nurse and not a doctor but in recent years I have even given up on the explanation since it seems that the only thing in their understanding that differs between the two is their sex.) My usual interference for this job is Eden, my nurse helper, and Pastor Francois, who helps Eden out and also collects the money. They usually do a good job, but Thursday my first patient was a lady who was about 60 years old. She came in, greeted me, then when I ask her what her problem was she let me know that her only son had died. She told me that she had no husband and as she teared up she explained in great detail that she didn’t have enough money to go on with life. At this point I explained everything that she didn’t want to hear: the reasons why there was such a thing as a medical clinic, which was to treat problems of the patients who were having pain, sickness, or other things like that. I also told her that it was not my responsibility to take care of these problems for her but that of her family, friends, church and neighbors. . .

Then it hit me. I didn’t know the book or verse but I knew someone somewhere asked something like “Then who is my neighbor?” And I was simply defenseless.

Well, time passes. I got through the other patients that day, although it would have been easier had the first patient had a severe case of bronchitis or arthritis. I deal better with those. Did I give her money? No. Should I have? I still don’t know since I do know the reason for both sides of this argument. I did encourage her in her struggles though. I hope her other neighbors do better for her than I did.

And so it goes!



Ruth said...

Man, it's tough, isn't it? :-(

Unknown said...

Oh ouch, John. Good for all of us to be reminded of....