T WAS A COLD AND WINDY MORNING in January
when Irma walked through the doors of the CHRISTUS Spohn Family
Health Center. She had been referred by the hospital for follow-up
treatment after being diagnosed with colon cancer. Irma had no health
insurance, and was having difficulty paying mounting medical bills.
The small business she operated with her husband did not provide
private insurance, nor was self-pay an option.
A chaplain at the clinic visited with Irma and she expressed her
grave concerns about the terrible financial strain her illness had
caused. After hearing her story, the chaplain shared one with her
called ‘Footprints.’ Its inspirational message serves
as a reminder that the Lord is with us through good times and bad,
even carrying us during those times when life’s burdens seem
too much to bear. The story had special meaning for Irma. It brought
her much comfort to know that we are never truly alone. It seemed
to calm her fears and anxiety.
was also assured there were many people who would help her through
this troublesome time, including her physician, nurse, a financial
counselor and the chaplain, who offered special prayers for her.
That morning, she met with financial assistance personnel, visited
with her physician, had further tests done, and was given an appointment
to return in two weeks. She seemed more at ease as she left the
clinic that day.
When Irma returned to the clinic, she again visited with the chaplain.
He offered a special prayer for her before she was seen by the doctor
to receive her test results. As Irma waited, she was apprehensive,
yet hopeful. When she finally received word that all of her test
results were negative, she was overjoyed. There was no indication
of the cancer she so feared! Upon leaving the clinic, she declared
to the staff, “There is no cancer, thanks to God and to all
you good and caring people.”
Several weeks later, Irma returned to the Family Health Center with
a framed copy of ‘Footprints.’ She asked that we place
the story where it could be read by others. Today it is displayed
in the clinic’s waiting area.
‘Footprints’ was Irma’s inspiration, and she is
our inspiration. As caregivers, she reminds us that we must strive
to fulfill Christ’s healing ministry not only by providing
physical care, but also with concern, compassion, hope and comfort
for those who seek our help on their journey to healing.
Sister Mary Ann Ryan, CCVI
CHRISTUS Spohn Family Health Center
Corpus Christi, Texas