Terrible things

During our first semester of nursing school, our instructor showed us a video about a woman who contracted HIV from a needlestick. She, a nurse at a hospital, had just given her patient an injection. As she recapped the needle, she stuck herself. She immediately reported it, took prophylactic medications, had her blood drawn monthly, and waited. Eventually, the test showed that she was HIV positive.

As novices who still stuck injection pads with trepidation, the movie was terrifying. As we discussed the movie afterwards, my classmates did a lot of lamenting about what an awful thing she was experiencing, how sad it was that that one instance had ruined her life, etc. While I agreed that her situation was unfortunate, I was much more struck by what happened in the nurse’s life next.

She began to research needlestick prevention and learned that there had been many safeguards developed that often weren’t purchased by the hospital because they were more expensive. She learned that many nurses were unaware of important safety rules. She began to travel and teach about needle safety. She got married and  adopted several HIV+ children.

When I looked at the woman’s story, I was overwhelmed by all of the things that had blossomed out of her trial, rather than the awfulness of the trial itself. James tells us to rejoice in our trials, because they make us better. God uses them for his purposes, and we can find joy in that.

We’ve been experiencing some trial lately. When Matthew was in the hospital, I realized how important plasma donation is. It’s used as replacement therapy and it’s used to make other treatments. Matthew received five courses of IVIG, and the immunoglobulins of a thousand donors are in his bloodstream as I write this. Without it,it’s impossible to say that he’d be alive right now.

I just made my first appointment to donate plasma. It’s a small, small thing. But it’s evidence of the good that comes from having trouble, so I’m thankful for the opportunity to do it.

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