Life During Coronavirus
by pastor Katie Preston
Each of these devotional blogs entries is meant to be read on your own or if you have family or friends you live with, to be read together aloud. A suggestion is to do this after you have dinner around the table together. At the conclusion, please spend time in personal reflection or in sharing with one another your answers to the questions at the end. Be sure to conclude with prayer.
Read Genesis 39
“[Potiphar] took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held, and there he remained. But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love.” Genesis 39:20-21
I know my situation is a bit different from many. I still have the opportunity to leave the house, to go to work, although what work looks like has drastically changed. In fact everything has changed.
I went from spending 20-30 hours in ministry and working 20-30 hours as a nurse at the hospital to primarily working at the hospital. No more than 36 hours a week but I’m more exhausted now than I have been working the 40-60 hour work weeks.
Well because when our hospital was asking for volunteers to work with the Covid patients I felt the desire to do my part. I hated waiting in outpatient surgery for the handful of cases while others were on the front lines risking their lives to support others. In all honesty, I wanted to make a difference, to be a light in the darkness of the uncertainty and fear that many patients have been facing as they feel alone in the confines of their hospital room. During the pandemic all of the hospitals have restricted hospital visitation with the exception of family members who have someone in the hospital who is dying. What many don’t realize is that on the Covid unit no one is allowed to come in, even when patients are dying.
The nurses and the doctors are literally the only people who have been able to see these patients up to this point. Occasionally they will pull a respiratory therapist or a physical therapist to help but usually those who are on comfort measures (expected to die soon and being made comfortable as that time approaches), have had those therapies stopped. The nurse is their main contact. Occasionally the patients who are facing death are awake enough to do face time to say goodbye to family members, but all in all this is a very lonely time to die.
As a nurse I often feel helpless to ease this loneliness, although I try to do my best to bring comfort where I can, and I often talk with my patients even when they are unconscious. The phone calls between family members who can’t be with their loved ones and the nurses are also very hard. They can’t see what we are seeing, and it makes it hard sometimes for their loved ones to accept that we have done all we can. Even through this stress though, the conversations with patients and family members during this time have been supportive of the nurses who are doing their best with this uncertain illness.
I’ve been a nurse for nine years, and it’s amazing how different nursing feels in this time. At first I was really nervous to put on the PAPR and go into these rooms, the more I do though the more I realize this is right where I need to be. As a nurse I am thankful to have the opportunity to be present with my patients. As someone studying to be a pastor I feel uniquely blessed to be able to bring comfort in such a challenging time in our history.
I’m reminded that each of us faces the isolation (social distancing or being in the hospital) a little differently. As I work I’m reminded that as a Christian we can feel cut off and isolated but we never have to be truly alone. God is with us. I know God has sustained me through some of the most challenging moments during this time. I know He has given me strength I didn’t think I had.
I’m reminded of the story of Joseph in jail. Joseph didn’t deserve to be in jail and yet he was there and seemingly forgotten by all. But God continued to be with Joseph in jail, and at the right time he was brought out of the jail to help save Egypt and eventually the people of Israel as well. The story of his arrest and freedom are in Genesis 39-42. I realize that very few of us are actually in jail right now, but we are all experiencing restriction and difficulty in various ways. God is with us even in the midst of this pandemic, and I believe that something good will come from it all. If one person realizes that they need God and that Jesus is the salvation for those who believe then personally I would say our current struggle would not be wasted.