Summary: What Christ has done for us
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By: Patricia Rosales, L.V.N. – Lesson in Love
It was six am on a bright Sunday morning in April. A solemn, blond six-year-old boy was being admitted to our small pediatric until for a procedure not very common to young children: phlebotomy – this is, blood donation. Todd and his four-year-old sister shared a rare, genetic blood condition and now Jenny was going to undergo major cardiac surgery to save her life. One of the complications that the Dr. was anticipating was hemorrhage and since Jenny’s blood was almost impossible to match from any other donor, the parents were asked to bring Todd in for phlebotomy the day before the scheduled operation. So it was that Todd, Jenny, and their parents were greeted by a hushed atmosphere of hushed excitement. Jenny was a sunny, outgoing redhead. A tendency to tire easily was the only outward evidence of her life-threatening heart condition. Once Todd had been admitted and his height, weight and vital signs taken, he took his sister by the hand and led her around the room. The way he held her hand and looked at her revealed man unspoken things about the special relationship that existed between them. Just then the Dr. walked in, briefly patted Todd and Jenny on the head, then turned his attention to the parents. With one hesitant question from Jenny’s father he launched into a dissertation on certain technical aspects of his procedure. About this time, I was called in to serve in the capacity of assistant, equiptment holder and procurer of needed supplies. I loved watching Geri’s technique with children. Todd was now lying face up on the bed and Geri was talking quietly as she swabbed his arm just prior to inserting the needle. Her voice was friendly and easy-going: “OK, Todd, just a little stick and that’s all you’ll feel.” Todd’s face was grim and pale. I remember thinking I’d never seen him endure a procedure in such stoic silence before, but I attributed this to the adoring presence of his little sister who by this time had climbed up on the bed and settled in beside him, thumb in mouth, a doll clutched under her arm. Half an hour went by. I had gone after a glass of orange juice for Todd and on returning I stopped in the doorway. From that vantage point the room resembled a three-ring circus: the parents still listening raptly to the Dr.’s monologue, Geri fussing over the stubborn IV equipment. But in the core of this field of nervous energy Todd and Jenny seemed to form an island of stillness. Todd lay stiffly on his back, his face impassive as he watched the dark red blood travel slowly down the clear plastic tubing. Jenny sucked her thumb contentedly, her head on his shoulder. It seemed to me that Todd was trying to get Geri’s attention. I was about to intervene when the speaker suddenly paused and Todd’s quivery voice came through: “Geri? Excuse me, but how long will it be now?”
“Well, Todd, what do you mean exactly?” All of Geri’s attentions was on him now.
“I mean – how much time before I die after all my blood is gone out of me?” In the shocked silence that followed there was an exchange of looks between us, but nobody trusted his voice enough to speak. In a series of still-life pictures that remain forever etched in my mind. Only Geri – bless her – had the composure to speak. She crouched down until her eyes were level with his and said in a soft voice: “No sweetie, you aren’t going to die. Your body is making more blood right now!” With that Todd’s body crumpled. He turned away and buried his face in the pillow – his shoulders shaking. Gone was every last shred of pretense. As we came to our senses we became aware of the full magnitude of Todd’s sacrifice for his sister.