Friday, July 04, 2008

Pastoral Education: Whiffing

Rating: SL, GT

I am striking out all over.

One is on neutropenic precautions and the nurse must be consulted before I can enter the room. She is on the phone. I cannot get her attention.

One is simply not in her room. The other patient in the room is sleeping.

One zips by me in a wheelchair as I am washing my hands. She turns the corner and is gone, in the direction of another patient’s room, a friend who has also asked for a visit.

One is awake but with his doctor, who is speaking with him in clear, unhurried tones. The patient has a trach tube and cannot answer, but his eyes are fixed with rapt attention on the doctor’s face.

One is with the nurse, who seems to be multi-tasking the patient’s many needs.

I return to check on the patient who was not in her room. I ask a nurse if she knows whether the patient has gone into surgery and am told, yes, she has.

The nurse of the patient on neutropenic precautions is still on the phone, or on the phone again. I try to get in her eye-line without listening to what she is saying.

I have washed my hands five times and have nothing at all to show for it.

Well… shit.
Shit shit shit.

Walking outside, past the outpatient clinic and the mammogram screening offices to the street where I can light up, I suddenly realize that all those things that are frustrating the hell out of me are the exact things I pray for when someone I love is hospitalized. What’s wrong with this picture?

What is wrong with me?


So thank you, God, for doctors who take professional pride in their work; who take time to speak at length with someone who cannot speak in return.

Thank you for nurses so attentive to their patients that even when not directly caring for their patients, they are speaking about them to doctors and loved ones, so intently that it is hard for the chaplain to get their attention.

Thank you for the miraculous blessing of sleep, which is so very hard to come by here, for people whose bodies are traumatized by injury or illness or disease or dysfunction.

Thank you for everyone who has a friend in this place that can sometimes seem so friendless to so many.

Thank you for the surgery that was not delayed by incoming traumas. Thank you for everyone who was kept safe and not in need of emergency surgery.

Thank you for the opportunity to wash my hands
five times
with nothing to show for it.


yours in the struggle,


At 11:45 AM, Blogger Kirstin said...



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