The Medieval Bestseller
I read it somewhere on the Internet...
Tuesday, July 25, 2006

What a day. For whatever reason, most of the chaplains were not able to come in today. In addition, the two that were there were in meetings for most of the day. This means that Mike & I were - in effect - the chaplains for the hospital today. This was kinda really cool and there were a lot of things that went on today. A good portion of my morning was spent with a large family who was taking their father off of the ventilator, which meant that his death would be immanent. It was weird to be in that situation and be "the" chaplain. No other chaplains to fall back on. But everything went ok, and when he died, I helped them fill out the release paperwork, as I did for another man just this past Friday.

The hospital also offers a morning and evening prayer for the staff over the PA system. Usually this one guy does it, but he was in a meeting and, since he paged me (I got an actual page!) to go to the ICU to help with the family above, I thought I'd go ahead and do the morning prayer as well. I felt so bold to just sorta walk in there and do it. Mike, my CPE buddy at the hospital, said that I was kinda too quiet on the PA system, which is good to know. I have this fear that when I do the morning prayer, it will be like one the nun did during Mike's and my first week - it was like she had the microphone in her mouth and she sounded kinda like the adults do on Charlie Brown. So, it's good to know that I at least don't sound like that and that I can speak up without being totally offensive in my tone.

One of the most...interesting...things that happened to me today was that I entered the room of this one man, who on the census was Presbyterian. Now, neither Mike nor I have encountered anyone at the hospital who is really Presbyterian. It is often a very wrong mistake made by the Admissions people, and we're not quite sure how that happens. Anyway, so we were talking and I introduced myself as being Spiritual Care and he made clear that he was not interested in Spiritual Care, which is ok...I am in no way relegated to only talk about "spiritual" things. Basically, my role is to be a person of support and encouragement to the patients. But then I asked him if his background was indeed Presbyterianism. All of a sudden he got really agitated and he (kinda) yelled, "Presbyterian?! NO! I'm not Presbyterian...I'm more of what you'd call a casual agnostic! In fact, I believe that we were brought here by space aliens!" No joke. Space aliens. And I am 90% sure that this man was serious. Then I explained that we function as interfaith chaplains and that, should he ever want to talk about the space aliens, I am the person who could be there for him and help him talk through those things. He didn't want to talk about the space aliens, but part of me really, really wanted him to. I guess it is good, however, that he didn't - because I don't think I could have been sympathetic or ministerial to him in that situation - I think I would have been too flabergasted of his beliefs to really be able to listen with compassion. ...but I do hope he's still there tomorrow, because I do want to hear about these space aliens.

In other news, my church in New Jersey just uploaded the new site I designed for them. I am so proud that they were able to upload the site on their own without my help (I just sent them the files and an instruction page of how to do it) and I think it is much nicer than the old site. But, I guess that's just my prejudice in having designed it.

- Jenny, 7/25/2006 05:29:00 PM

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