Time for another Letter to God:


Dear God,

Please let me die in my sleep earlier than later. I know you love me and want me to have the full extent of life, but may I ask that I go earlier than the first minute there will be no dignity. Actually, before the first second if you can catch it. I came to this notion on my third visit in as many weeks to the Emergency Room. I thank you God that I was only a bystander in the midst of all the hell put upon human beings of all ages.

The television show bringing the ER trauma to the television screen does not capture the reality of standing in the midst of the comings and goings hour after hour of real people and the people who accompany them. It is an unbelievable experience to be up close and personal with the drama. The harsh lighting does not let up and becomes blinding. The lights are on one switch and cannot let one patient at peace while the other needs to be brightly lit.

One family hovering over an old woman gets the news from a doctor, who looks like a teenager, that she has heart failure. She leans over to her, I assume, husband, and says, “What’s that?” He quietly replies, “You have a weak heart and they are going to give you some medication.” “Oh,” she says and closes her eyes.

The diabetic in the next bed is running out of time and her husband is resigned. The husband and wife are so tiny and their son is about six foot six. He said there are four other children, but he is the only one who will assume care giving. Mr. Six Foot Six has desperate troubles with his daughter and the mother of his daughter has left both of them. They admitted Six foot Six’s mother after a 12-hour wait and the father and son, heads bowed, trail slowly after her rolling bed.

They took the man who was throwing up tons of blood right away for treatment and testing. When he was returned to his cubical, he looked dead, except for a blink of his left eye. Within five minutes he was removed not to return during our stint.

I knew nothing about spit masks before this ER evening. A spit mask is a mask covering the face of a combative person and protects law enforcement from the transmission of infectious diseases carried in the saliva. It is a protectant for anyone near enough to be involved. I will tell you there were two separate incidences of combative people tied down and spit masked during our evening in the ER. Each combative person was accompanied by a separate group of police and fire personnel. The ER was becoming filled to capacity and folks in need were filling the isles. Nurses frantically continued to process patients according to need. I would call this night in the ER a “Full House.”

Then, there was The Birthday Party. Oh yes, a parade, there were partygoers carrying streamers, and a magnificent cake. The lovely birthday girl was tied to a board as the crash victim. She finally got the bed directly across from us. She was untied, section-by-section, and only suffered a minor whiplash. Thank goodness for her good fortune. The father was calculating the time to the exact moment, twenty-one years go when her birth began her life. The minute the right time was announced, the partygoers were summoned; they paraded into the ER and the party of a double celebration of life began. Let me add that the police officers that took the accident information and the firemen who accompanied the entourage posed for pictures with the beautiful birthday girl.

Again, God, thank you for watching over all of us in the ER being helped in such an accomplished manner and thank you for helping the hard working ER team, who helps so many in need, day after day, night after night!


A Bystander




20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Phil
    May 23, 2014 @ 17:14:53

    Just.. Wow!
    So much happens on such a small amount of time. Major life moments that change the way of so many individuals lives.
    Terrific recount of an interesting evening.


    • Sheila Clapkin
      May 25, 2014 @ 10:27:02

      Thank you, thank you, for your words: Just..wow. I have been saying them over and over again! Helpful. Two words can be a steading force. Skip had surgery, now recovering, so there are some trying times. Lots of good hope. Thank you!


  2. Keith Anderson
    May 23, 2014 @ 17:21:32

    Even in your darkest hours, you can convey your feelings with such clarity! I love you my friend!!!


  3. Marci
    May 23, 2014 @ 21:47:35

    You might think your old, But to me your my mom and ageless in my eyes…


  4. Sheryl
    May 25, 2014 @ 04:19:43

    Emergency rooms can be depressing places. I managed to faint at a conference a couple years ago–and spent an evening in an emergency room–and I am positive that I felt more mentally down after I left the emergency room than when I entered it. I l hope that you are feeling much, much better soon. My thoughts are with you.


  5. Sheila Clapkin
    May 25, 2014 @ 10:16:17

    Oh Sheryl, you sweet lovely lady. I appreciate you and what you do on your blog. I am so touched when you read mine. My husband was the patient and had his surgery was on Thursday. He is recovering. There is the light! But when he was under, he said he saw his mother and she kicked him back here and said, “We are not ready for you now.” Makes believing a fact.


    • Sheryl
      May 31, 2014 @ 04:06:27

      I’m glad to hear that your husband is recovering. I loved the story about your husband’s mother kicking him back.


      • Sheila Clapkin
        May 31, 2014 @ 21:52:13

        Did I tell you he called me Greta Garbo for a few minutes and he was Gregory Peck.
        Thank you for commenting. Each day is a bit better. Recovery on this one will take some time. Thank you for your kindness to care.

  6. Dina
    May 25, 2014 @ 14:00:39

    That is EXACTLY how it was. I felt like we were in a dream. I thought teaching was stressful, but those nurses are really incredible under such pressure!


  7. Sheila Clapkin
    May 25, 2014 @ 15:58:17

    You have that right, but there are many other un-named and un-recognized angels roaming among us. You’ve seen them right?


  8. Sheila Clapkin
    May 25, 2014 @ 16:39:14

    We did it together! Thank you dear heart.


  9. Reene Reene
    May 26, 2014 @ 17:54:05

    ER rooms are one of the most exciting places around–never a dull moment–R


  10. Sheila Clapkin
    May 28, 2014 @ 21:03:05

    Wonderfully true and a life saver to boot!


  11. Linda Gelder
    May 30, 2014 @ 10:44:31

    My dear, dear friend…..so sorry that Skip is still having difficulties. Hoping and praying that you both will be back to normal (whatever normal is) very soon!


    • Sheila Clapkin
      May 30, 2014 @ 11:40:00

      Oh Linda, what is normal, it is not what was, it is what is…we are working this through. A life changer for a while, but recovery is a positive path. Love to you always!


  12. Carly Marshall
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 18:06:57

    Sounds scary I am glad everything turned out alright.


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