I heard this story at church a while ago, and I think it is proof that nurses (and nurse aides!) are angels! In this story from 1 Kings, the prophet Elijah is running for his life from Jezebel. He has told his servant to wait in a nearby town, while he goes into the desert and contemplates giving up. 1 Kings 19: 4-5...while he himself went a day's journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, Lord," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat."
Sometimes our patients are feeling hopeless, at the end of their ropes. Being physically ill can be a real desert time for people. They may feel like they don't have the energy to "work" at getting well; they may feel like giving up. Sometimes something as simple as encouraging someone to eat, to nourish their poor, tired, sick body, is enough to give them that little bit of hope that they need to regroup and continue healing, or to enjoy the time they have left. So, when you are taking people to the bathroom, or helping them with their bathing, or just getting them out of bed for breakfast or lunch, know that what you are doing is very important! Remember the angel that God sent to Elijah in the desert. The angel did not perform a complicated dressing change, or educate him about the dangers of sleeping in the desert. The angel simply said, "Get up and eat."