A Passing Hello

Today, on my first full day on the floors (minus an hour tutorial on how to access and utilize Electronic Medical Records), I found myself heading to my first floor at 9:30 am. While walking and fumbling with some papers, a middle age man was following a nurse. Both were walking towards me. As we drew close, the man shouted “Hey man!” and waved. I looked up, unsure of who he was, and said “hello!” back. We both walked pass and he said “I get to go home today!” “That’s great! Be well!” I said back to him. It was only then that I realized who he was. I had briefly visited with him two days before. He was very tired and semi-sedated when I saw him. We had a very short conversation and he asked me to say a special prayer for him before he turned over on his side and fell asleep. He remembered my visit and seemed happy to see me before he left. That was pretty neat.

Overall, today was an interesting day. I spent most of my morning visiting heart patients and met quite a few characters. I then spent most of my afternoon in the PICU, introducing myself to families who I had yet to meet. I had three very interesting encounters. 1: a middle age woman was amazed that, while she was reading her daily prayer and studying the apostle Paul, I showed up – she offered to visit my future church some day. 2: I entered the no-man’s land of a family argument where my status as a prayerer was seen as an opportunity by one side of the family to barrage the other. 3: a mother who asked me, in the hallway, to pray for a miracle but not to tell the patient because the patient hates those things. When you visit with 40 people in one day, a lot of interesting things can happen.

I am staying up way past my bedtime and I really shouldn’t. Tomorrow I will be the emergency chaplain during the day. My duty is to man my pager and be ready to refer patients to chaplains (or priests or rabbis) as needed. And if there is an emergency and there is no one to refer the situation to, I am then their chaplain. I will be the page-meister. I should wear a superhero seal.