The Medieval Bestseller
I read it somewhere on the Internet...
Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I absolutely loved my first day at Holy Cross and I am very surprised at that. I got there probably about 20 minutes early and initially had a hard time figuring out where to park. Holy Cross is quite different from St. Joe's, even in the parking structures. St. Joe's has clear parking areas. Parking at Holy Cross is more like...or maybe feels more like parking when going to a sporting event. There are separate lots, the cheaper the cost the further away. Somehow I managed to get into one of the pay lots but convince them that I now work there and somehow got a pass for June.

Then I tried to find the spiritual care office, but was kind of overwhelmed, so I went to the front desk and then had them page the person I was looking for. Later on, when we took a tour of the hospital, I learned that the hospital is actually kinda small and very easy to figure out once you get out of the lobby, which has a different system from the other floors since it has the cafeteria, main lobby, ER (and other ER-like department), ICU, X-Ray, Labor & Delivery, Short-stay, etc.

Once I was up in the spiritual care department, the other chaplains (who weren't there already) started showing up slowly. We sat around for awhile and then had a time of more formal introductions in the chapel, which is around the corner from our office. The chapel is small, but bright, airy and friendly. I think it has a very nice feel.

After the introductions, I think we went on a tour of the facility and got our badge updated to be able to unlock all of the doors/allow us into parking at Holy Cross in addition to St. Joe's. After that, we "shadowed" our first chaplain who took us to labor & delivery and we blessed the new babies that were there. That was super, super cool. She let me say a prayer of blessing for one of the babies and it was just a really cool and meaningful experience.

Then we shadowed this other chaplain who took us to his floor and we saw what it was like for him to see new patients. That was a very different experience, different chaplain, different type of patient, different reason for coming by, but it was also very interesting. We began to learn what we are to write in patient's charts and how to do that (which is a kinda weird idea for me, to be able to read and write in a patient's chart - feels like a heavy responsibility). This chaplain also told us what it is like to be the chaplain in trauma (we will be responsible for helping out with the trauma area while we're there, too), which was REALLY interesting and somewhat initimidating and somewhat exciting. For instance, how it works at this hospital is that when someone comes in as Trauma 1 or 2, we have to sorta race down there and meet the paramedics/doctors/nurses/etc. in the trauma room. We, as chaplains, will be responsible for getting the information from the paitient of who to call. Somehow, we are to do this in this nebulous (and narrow) window of after the doctor has assessed the patient yet before the patient goes to get x-rayed. Then we are to use that contact information and contact the family to come into the hospital. Now, this is assuming that the person in trauma is able to communicate. Frequently, when the person is a Trauma 1, they are unable to communicate, so we have to play detective and magically figure out who it is we should contact. This involves going through the person's belongings (like cell phone, and flipping through the address book looking for something like "Dad" "Wife" etc.). And that's just the beginning of our role when it comes to trauma situations. I will be very interested to see what it's like in the real-life situation.

After spending time with that chaplain, we had another time of formal introductions and then had lunch. We were supposed to have lunch at 12, but didn't end up having lunch until 1:30, which I didn't notice at all...I was enjoying my time so much that I kinda lost track of time. After lunch, we hung out with the first chaplain again and we learned about the (very) small Spiritual Care office and then went down and shadowed her in the ICU. All of the chaplains I met today were great - very different, but very effective in their own ways - but this one chaplain is absolutely wonderful. I see her interacting with patients and I think to myself, "I want that to be me." We finished up the day by hanging out with yet another chaplain and shadowed her in the Short Stays unit, which is where people who are just in for a day having a planned surgery stay.

All in all, every experience I had today was great and it made me both really excited to be doing CPE and really excited to be doing CPE in this particular hospital with these particular people. Tomorrow we have a learning/group day, where my CPE group talks together for the whole day outside of the hospital context, learning things we need to learn (called "didactics") and processing things we've done/seen/heard, etc. That's all good, but to some extent I'm bummed that I have to go to that tomorrow and that I won't be going to the hospital. I am looking very forward to Friday, which is the next day I'll be at the hospital.

I was reflecting today about this coming summer and about how evident it is to me that time will be of importance. In the hospital environment time is very important, which I noticed because I forgot to wear my watch today and I noticed that everyone in the hosptial had a watch. I noticed that I would need to remember to wear a watch because I will need to note the time on things, like on the chart, for instance, and on this paperwork I have to fill out - how many hours I've worked in different units, etc. I think this will be an interesting contrast to Jamaica last summer, where time was somewhat inconsequential. I remember, for instance, this one time we went to the hospital there because this guy who was getting married the next day was shot four times in the middle of the night. We left at like 9 in the morning and didn't get to the hospital until like 1 or 2 p.m. because we stopped here and then we stopped there and we just sorta made our way to the hosptial at what I felt was a leisurely pace. I think this is something I'd like to think more about and maybe write one of my (7!) papers on this summer. Maybe. Maybe it won't work. Not sure, but an interesting contrast.

And another thing about time - I have always wanted to be an early riser but am clearly not one at all. Well, I think this summer with my early hours (some days I will start at 8 but need to leave the house at 7:30 a.m.) I will need to train myself to be an early riser. Like somehow get myself to wake up at 6 a.m. every day and train myself to think that's right and fitting and normal. This will be tough, tough, tough. BUT! If I can train myself to do this, I think I will end up liking it in the long run.

- Jenny, 6/14/2006 10:03:00 PM

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