The Medieval Bestseller
I read it somewhere on the Internet...
Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Today was a little better for me. I went to the hospital and, after having a slight breakdown before my boss who was very understanding of my overall plight in life, I went out and did some visitations. Here's a little peek into my day (if you can make it through, there's some fab audio clips in this one, although you'll have to do them manually since I can't directly link to them):

I started out with going down to do the Morning Prayer. Working in a Catholic hospital, there is a prayer said over the loudspeaker every morning and evening (so long as Spiritual Care remembers to do it). There's this set folder of prayers, so I usually just flip through that until something grabs me. I think today's morning prayer had something to do with Exodus 20, but I can't remember now. I don't mind giving Morning Prayer, other than the fact that you cannot hear yourself when you're doing it, so there's no chance you can know how it sounds. I once was in the hallways when the Sister was doing it one day and it was as if the adult on Charlie Brown was attacking in its loudest, fullest force (listen to "teacher", at bottom of page), so I am forever in fear that's what I sound like. I have been told, however, that I am so quiet when I do the prayer that you can barely hear me at all.

At that point I intended to go and make some visits in Short Stay, but was paged to a Code AMI in the ER. So I showed up in the ER and was surprised to hear that the patient wasn't there yet - they were being transported from another hospital. I waited there for about 10 minutes until the person got there and then saw that no family was present (which is the role of a chaplain when Code AMIs or Code Blues are called), so I then left.

Then I went to Short Stay, which is a unit where outpatients go to await their impending surgeries. I was looking for someone specifically because I had gotten a computer-generated nursing referral to go and meet with this person. So I talked with the nurses, who couldn't remember why they sent that referral in, and they told me that the guy was already in surgery. But they pointed me at a couple other patients and I had some good visits with them. And by good, I guess I mean that I can sense that the act of me coming into their room was both positive for the people and also for me.

Then I set over for Postpartum, which is next door. My visits there were fairly standard. I find Postpartum to be a rather boring unit. I suppose other women like the unit because it's fairly easy and they like babies. Whereas I don't dislike babies, I'm not overly fond of babies and so it's hard for me to get really excited about the whole deal.

Then I went back upstairs and charted my visits which, at that point, probably numbered about 15-20 rooms. Charting one unit usually takes me about 30-60 minutes, depending on what unit I'm charting and what I say in the chart notes. Charting postpartum is really easy for me. I go in to one part of the chart, indicate that I made a visit, and then go into another part of the chart and usually say the following: "Chaplain made routine visit with patient. Chaplain introduced patient to spiritual care services. Chaplain also gave patient a baby blessing card. Chaplain will continue to be available to patient as needed." Easy. Charting takes longer when I have visits with people where there's more to say or where something more complex is happening.

While I was charting, I was paged to a Code Blue, but the other chaplain went because it was his unit.

Then I talked with the other chaplains a bit and then I did a few new patient visits for another chaplain. New patient visits are where we basically go in and just tell them that there's spiritual care at the hospital and that if they're interested in it they need to ask the nurse. It's also a time to ask about a person's religious tradition. To my surprise, the first of those visits was this youngish man who claimed to be Presbyterian! He's like the second ever Presbyterian I've met at this hospital. But then I asked him what church he went to and he said that he used to attend Church on the Way, which is really not Presbyterian, so I'm not sure what's going on there, but I'll go with it and still add him to my Presbyterian tally.

Then I went to lunch. (I'm sure this is a very riveting post! [listen to "sarcasm"]) Sometimes I bring my lunch in, other times I buy from the cafeteria, which, on its good days, is mediocre at best. Today I bought my lunch...a crispy chicken sandwich with curly fries.

After lunch I did some visits on one of the Telemetry units. One of the women I met was another Presbyterian (Two in one day! That doubles the total number of Presbyterians I've seen in this hospital - ever!) AND the woman was from the Highlands of Scotland. I really enjoyed talking to her and I think she enjoyed me visiting, despite her not being able to hear 90% of what I said because of her poor hearing. The visits in this unit went fairly well. I feel really comfortable in the Telemetry units, I think, because they were my main units when I was learning chaplaincy. I did this for about a half hour before I went to my Acute Rehab case conference.

Acute Rehab is the unit where patients recover and re-learn how to do things like walk or dress themselves or talk or whatever after they have had a stroke or some sort of traumatic event. I look forward to the Acute Rehab case conference and I'm not quite sure why, because it's basically an hour of me hearing statements like the following, "he's mod assist sitting from the supine position, max assist walking 20 feet with a walker, min assist dressing and needs work with his wet transfers." Occasionally, like today, they might tell me that a certain person in the unit might benefit from a visit from spiritual care. Today, apparently, was also Acute Rehab day (Happy Acute Rehab Day, everyone!), so there was this person from some organization who came and gave us free cake! I had a small slice of this apple tart, because that sounded way better than the chocolate cake, which was the other option. The apple tart was pretty good. And only just now am I reminded of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine bemoans having cake for every single day of celebration at work.

After the meeting I went to the Acute Rehab unit and made about five visits and then decided to go and finish off the telemetry unit that I left unfinished from before the case conference. I made a few visits, but the last two of the day were fairly meaningful to me. One was with this teenager who is a gunshot wound case who basically wanted me to pray that he's able to be good when he returns home. I think in that moment I really just felt for this kid because his intentions to return home and be good might not outweigh the temptations of falling into his crowd again. The last woman I visited with today just had some really meaningful things to say to me about her struggle for health that really impacted how I've been feeling lately. So that was good.

Then I spent my last hour or so charting the 20-ish patients that I had seen after lunch. After all of that, I clocked out and went home.

I'd say that it's just rinse and repeat for tomorrow, except that I called in to hear about jury duty this evening and learned that I have to report to court tomorrow at the ungodly hour of 7:45 a.m (Listen to "legal". LOL, that's my newest favorite audio clip!). And I have to do this at the criminal courts building in downtown LA, which means that I'll need to leave the house at like 7 a.m. This is not fun for me considering that I both have had trouble sleeping lately AND it's already 11:20 p.m. Midnight.

No - I change my mind - this is the best audio clip ever. (listen to "underwear")

According to that Wikipedia page, the two notable trials there were the OJ murder case and the Phil Spector murder case. Hopefully I'll be able to skate by having to be a juror on any sort of high-profile actor/actress murder case. Hopefully I'll be able to avoid all cases whatsoever. And hopefully they'll have wifi access, because I think that's a perfectly reasonable amenity for the courts to offer if they're calling people in for service. Maybe I'll take a DVD to watch on my laptop. That, actually, might be a great plan, as I have been a Netflix slacker lately (akin to how many people are gym slackers). Let's see if it'll all work out for me as I leave the house tomorrow morning...great plans do not always come to fruition for me in the morning!

- Jenny, 9/18/2007 07:34:00 PM

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