Recently, I got a chance to become part of the pharmacy team in the Emergency Room at my hospital. It was definitely time to push myself outside of my comfort zone, and the ER proved to be a challenging new territory. Not only have I learned many new things in the pharmacy world, but I have also learned a great deal about myself and human nature.
On Christmas Day, I was throwing myself a self-imposed pity party because I was working the evening shift. I had spent Christmas morning alone and was grateful to be going to work to spend time with people. Several of my friends had invited me over to their house for Christmas morning, but I chose to be alone. My parents had offered to come up, but I didn’t want them to miss out on the opportunity to spend time with my brother’s family. I even decided not to attend church on Christmas morning because I felt that I would become bitter seeing all of the families sitting together at church. I had bargained with God that I would listen to a sermon podcast, but my attitude was pretty poor when I left for work that day.
One of my job responsibilities in the ER is to interview patients to obtain a list of all the medications they take at home. The first patient’s room I entered was a frail little old lady. I quickly realized she suffered from dementia and then looked at her chart and found out that she was from a nursing home. She was all alone.
Since I was in my pity party mode, my first thought was that this would be me in fifty years. I must admit that as a single in my thirties, one of my biggest fears is dying alone. I even joke that I spoil my niece and nephew so that they will put me in a good nursing home someday!
Lord, please don’t let this be me in fifty years.
When I entered the next patient’s room, I found another frail little old lady, but this time she was surrounded by many family members. As I asked her what medications she took at home, she quickly pointed to her middle-aged daughter and told me that she takes care of all of her medications. The patient then quickly stated, “It is a good thing that I had children because I couldn’t take care of myself alone!”
Lord, why did she have to verbalize my biggest fear?
Towards the end of my shift, I found another patient who fit the recurring frail little old lady description who was very much confused. An elderly woman was sitting next to her. When I began talking to this woman, I found out that she was a friend of the patient who took care of the patient’s medications every day. The patient had previously overdosed on her medications so her friend made sure that she took the correct amount every day. I could tell that this friend was a very attentive caregiver, and she gave me a meticulous medication history of the patient. The patient had been hospitalized several times over the past few months, and her friend sat by her side every time.
Lord, thank you for the assurance that you provide at all times!
I felt refreshed. His provision. His love.
A few weeks before Christmas, I read a devotional on how God never meant for me to be self-sufficient. When I have my feelings of incompleteness and loneliness, He wants me to go to Him. I so often try to soothe my desires with lesser gods like people, belongings, and success.
I realize that even if the Lord blesses me with a husband and children someday, I will never be assured that I will not die alone. I don’t know which of the little old ladies I will become eventually, but I can’t let my fear overtake me. I can be assured, though, that that my God will always be there to comfort and provide for me.
“For the Lord will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.” Psalm 94:14
If you know someone who is struggling with loneliness and fear of being alone, will you email them this post to encourage them?