Deaconess Nurse Ministry: Changing Lives, One Person at a Time

Emmy Guthrie

By Emmy Guthrie, Administrative Assistant, Development Staff, Deaconess Nurse Ministry, St. Louis. Reprinted with permission.

Mr. K came to the food pantry weekly where a Deaconess Nurse Ministry nurse works. He liked to walk by to say hi to the nurse, Debra, but always outside of her office. Debra always stepped closer to the door to talk to him. For months, those short conversations had helped Mr. K feel more comfortable in talking with the nurse, but not enough for him to sit down in her office to discuss his needs.

One day, when heading to the nurse’s office, he decided to stop and read the sign that Debra had hung on the door since she started there. He paused and looked at Debra. She noticed his hesitancy, so she started the conversation: “Hi Mr. K, how are you doing today? Would you like to come in and talk?”

Mr. K looked up: “I don’t know,” he said. “I’m not sure if you can help me.”

Debra walked closer to him and said, “Well, how about you just come in, have a seat and we can chat. We will see if I can help you with anything.”

Mr. K walked in, sat down quietly for a while, then started to open up about his needs. He has heart problems and had a prescription that had not been refilled as he could not afford to do so, and the prescription itself might have expired.

He then broke down in tears when Debra mentioned drug addiction. Debra comforted him and asked if he was ready and willing to get help. He said yes, he had been a drug addict since he was 14 years old. His addiction had ruined his life and relationship with his family but he wanted to change all that and be better, do better.

Debra made many phone calls. She called the doctor and got his medication in order and refilled. She used all the resources she has to get him in a good rehab facility in Columbia, Mo. Deaconess Nurse Ministry was also able to pay for the heart medication and ship it to the rehab facility for him.

She connected with his daughter and mother to get them updated on Mr. K’s well-being. They are both so very grateful for what Debra and Deaconess Nurse Ministry are doing to help their dad and son.

While in rehab, Mr. K called Debra every day to let her know what he was doing and how he felt. He is now done with the program and is doing well. He moved in with his mother, and he is going to AA meetings every Wednesday. Debra said that every time she talks to him, he just cries: He is so happy now and is working really hard to keep his life moving forward with a fresh start.

Debra and the other Deaconess nurses are always there for people like Mr. K. They touch a life and change that life forever.

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