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Caring for Each Other

Jacob and his wife left their families and friends in Eastern Europe and moved to the United States to take advantage of the opportunities to enhance their lives. As a nurse, Jacob soon found a job at an Adventist Health hospital. He was an excellent worker—compassionate, sensitive and well-liked by his colleagues.

At 1:30 on an early August morning, I received a page. When the operator answered my call, she said, “One of our employees is in serious condition.”

In the haze of the middle of the night, I then heard, “Jacob!” I was jolted into painful consciousness. “Jacob! Jacob?”

When I arrived at the ER, I learned that Jacob had been working that night on the Subacute unit and began to experience a headache. It continued to get worse, and as a colleague was beginning to take his blood pressure, Jacob lost consciousness. He was rushed to the ER, and after an examination and a CT scan, it was determined that he had a massive bleed at the base of his brain.

After a long night in the operating room, the surgeon came out and spoke with his wife. Though they’d stopped the bleeding and relieved the pressure on his brain, they wouldn’t know for some time how much damage his brain had suffered.

Almost four years later, Jacob is a patient on the very unit in the hospital where he worked and was employee of the month. For Jacob and his wife, this is a horrible nightmare from which there is no waking.

In a land far from their family, his colleagues are his family and friends. Not only did they give Jacob and his wife immense emotional support and love, they also provided substantial financial assistance from their employee emergency assistance fund. In a time of despair, Jacob’s colleagues provided hope.

by Chaplain Ron Hyrchuk

August 8, 2006