The Medieval Bestseller
I read it somewhere on the Internet...
Friday, July 28, 2006

Today was a kinda weird day. When I was getting ready this morning, I saw this accident on the news traffic report and, from where it was, I knew that it'd go to my hospital. So, I finished getting ready and then made my way to work and - literally - the second I walked in the door, I heard, "Attention, Attention: Code Trauma - Tier 2" and I knew that it was from this accident. I wasn't on call today so my friend Mike, who was, went down and I went about my normal morning routine and Mike quickly called up to our office because this was no average trauma. Then another chaplain went down to help him and I went about visiting my patients. Much later on after lunch, they called a Code Blue and I responded because Mike and the other chaplain were still responding to the trauma so I went to check on them to see how the trauma was going and saw that they were still working on the trauma from 8 a.m. that morning and I learned that the accident that was on TV was actually a car that had 8 people in it - 3 came to our hosptial, 2 to another and 2 to yet another. Even harder to understand, they didn't speak English very well and had people in their family who had the same names. So we'd call the other hosptials to synch up and we'd say, "So who do you have?" And they'd say, "We have 'Jenny Smith.'" And then we'd say, "NO! We have Jenny Smith." And then we'd realize that there were three Jenny Smiths in their family - one for each generation. Way confusing. I got involved in the trauma in the last hour or two of my day - right when it got really, really sad. It's always sad when someone dies, but sometimes there are some deaths that are just so much more tragic and today was one of those days.

I guess the weirdest thing was thinking about how there were probably some people who were SO upset that the freeway was closed off this morning (they closed it because of the accident) and I guess I understand that, but it's just so weird getting the fuller picture that this family who got into an accident had two deaths today. So whereas some people were upset that they got to work a half an hour late or whatever, there are other people involved in the circumstance who won't see two family members again.

Anyway - to answer Tisra's question. How do I feel when someone rejects my offer for prayer? I guess I have never been rejected for prayer on my regular units, but I don't always offer prayer there. I have been rejected for prayer in the Post Partum unit, but I also don't always offer prayer there, either. Basically, I'll offer prayer whenever I sense that the people I'm talking to may appreciate prayer or might find prayer useful. I guess it normally doesn't bother me if someone rejects my offer for prayer. I understand if someone doesn't want it. However, there was this one instance where I was kinda offended when the people rejected my offer. I guess I shouldn't be offended - they were getting ready to go home - but I think it was the way that the husband said it that really offended me. I asked if they wanted me to say a prayer of blessing over their newborn. And the husband responded, "No. I'll take care of that when we get home." I think it just sounded really arrogant to me, like maybe their Christianity was the "right" Christianity...or maybe it also sounded like, "Well I'm the man and the spiritual leader, so I'll be the one who prays over this baby." So...that's the only time when I really felt offended by the people, even though I don't think that they meant to be offensive. They were really nice. But also offensive. I guess the bottom line is that my agenda with my patients is basically no agenda. If they want to talk about spiritual things, great. If they want to talk about their trips fishing with the grandson, great. If they don't want to talk at all, great. I'm just supposed to be there for support. Everyone else in the medical team has an agenda and a limited timeframe with which they will interact with the patient, but the bottom line is that I don't. I can be there as little or as much as the patient wants me and I can talk with them about whatever and can help them talk about things that are difficult to talk about, if they want. So getting rejected for prayer doesn't hurt my feelings or whatever - I view it as just something that the people didn't want support in...unless the person rejects the prayer I offer by making it feel like that one couple, like I am inferior or something.

- Jenny, 7/28/2006 10:46:00 PM

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