Every Monday, John and Mary make their rounds. They tell Patchwork’s visitors about Patchwork’s Sozo Health Ministry, they check many people’s blood pressures, they answer questions about prescribed medications, they take a look at wounds and listen to lists of symptoms in order to advice on whether something is serious enough for a visit to the doctor, they listen to everyone’s health concerns and frustrations, and they help connect people with the health care services that they need.
A couple weeks ago was a Monday like most others. John happened to introduce himself to a man who was visiting the food pantry. John asked the man if he was interested in getting his blood pressure checked.
The man replied that high blood pressure had never been a problem for him, but he accepted John’s offer. It was a very good thing that he did.
What John found was very concerning. The man’s blood pressure was dangerously high. John asked if he was having any additional symptoms, and the man replied that (now that he thought about it) he had been feeling an odd pressure on his chest whenever he walked anywhere. And there was a pain that would shoot down his arm.
John suggested that it was time to call an ambulance. The paramedics came and the man was taken to the hospital.
Later, John called the hospital to check on the man. It turned out that at least one of the man’s arteries had been clogged and the man had undergone emergency surgery for a stent to be placed.
The man reported to John that a doctor at the hospital had asked how the man had realized that he had a life-threatening condition that needed immediate medical attention. The man responded that he was at Patchwork getting food from the food pantry and there was a nurse there who took his blood pressure and thought he should go to the hospital right away. That was a good nurse, the doctor said.
Thanks to the Sozo Health Ministry, the man’s life was saved.
It’s good to be the right person in the right place at the right time.
**And if you hadn’t heard, John Rich was named the 2016 Deaconess Nurse of the Year in the Community Service category. This was recognition, in part, of his work in the Sozo Health Ministry at Patchwork.