Saturday, May 31, 2008


I got to witness something pretty awesome yesterday. The woman who is my mentor/supervisor at HSC and I and one other woman were sitting the the chaplain's office when someone knocked on the door. It turned out to be a woman who came from the chapel and was having some kind of treatment done and wanted someone to pray with her.

The woman serving as my mentor/supervisor there let me go home before she met with the woman an hour or so later. But even that part of the encounter got me thinking. We get the amazing privilege of being there whenever the opportunity arises for WHOEVER happens to be in need while we're there in the hospital.

And it's not just people who happen to serve as chaplains. We as Christians (and really those of us from whatever faith background we happen to come from) get the privilege of being "on call" 24/7/365 for not only each other, but whoever we come in contact with whenever the opportunity arises. It's just up to us to have our eyes and hearts open for those opportunities so we don't miss them.

Who are WE to be able to have that privilege? That I can't answer...but I know that regardless of the answer, God has given that privilege to us. Whether or not we take hold of that privilege and answer the call to be there for someone in need is up to us.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Man, there HAS been so much going on already...

Yesterday was my orientation at Hospital for Special Care. I saw and got an orientation to all the floors and met a LOT of people and got my badge/pager and all that.

Today was another "Group" day. Those are pretty intense. It was my first time doing "worship". Didn't go the way I had seen it in my much as I think about things ahead of time, I got way nervous and with the whole "interfaith" aspect, I'm totally over-analyzing what I can say and what I can't...and am really pretty nervous about saying or doing the wrong thing.

Other than those kind of things, group is really personal, and I won't go into that here.

After that, I got to go into the cancer center and spend some time with the patients there.
At first it was a little awkward trying to make sure I was out of the way of the nurses and just introducing myself to patients. After a while, I found a few people who were really interested in talking. One woman in particular who had been there with one of the patients and hadn't eaten and wanted to get something from her car, but didn't want to leave the patient alone. So, I sat with the patient (who I found out later was a woman that this person was a caretaker of) while she went to her car and got some food. When she got back, we spent a lot of time talking about her job as a caretaker and she told me more about the woman she was with. Towards the end of her treatment, the woman had woken up and started talking with us a little, too. The nurses are really nice there, and seemed really open to my being there and willing to interact with me, too. I haven't found on a lot of the floors that people working in the hospital even notice when someone new is on the it was nice to have that. The nice thing is that since we don't have our cell phones on, I didn't know what time it I was able to focus more on the people there than on the time...and ended up staying a lot later than 5. But I just figure the conversation is over whenever it's over, you know? Especially when it starts mid-afternoon and some of these people are there for hours sometimes (I got to learn more about the treatments and everything from all 4 of the people I spent a lot of time with).

Tomorrow is my second day at HSC. I know there are more orientation type things to do, but I'm not sure when we're doing that. I know I have a few patients that requested for a chaplain to visit, so that will be part of tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Orientation so far

Today was only day 2 of the orientation part of things, and already it feels like there's so much that's gone on...

We've started having our "group" sessions, had a tour of the hospital, had lunch with people from the pastoral committee, gotten or badges, had our first round of shots at the health center... I've met with the woman who is going to be my supervisor at Hospital for Special Care (partly along with the people who are running the CPE program this summer and partly alone)...

That's not everything that's happened...but it's the "me" related stuff. If I think of anything else, I'm sure I'll edit.

Our group sessions are going to be on Tuesdays and Thursdays, along with some time to be out on the floors of the main hospital. For the group time, we have some homework assignments throughout the summer.

Monday, Wednesday and Fridays (starting on Wednesday next week) I will be at Hospital for Special Care (I'll probably start labeling it HSC here). The first Wednesday there (since Monday is a holiday) starts my orientation there. I'll be getting my HSC badge and meet the staff/patients and get a tour of the building.

As far as my feelings about everything so far go, I'm less nervous about not being able to relate completely to patients because my "differability" happened at birth and not later in life. All of us have our own stories, and nobody can COMPLETELY relate, except on the level that we all can understand emotions. That's all the same no matter what color, gender, etc., we are.

I'm excited to realize how much I can probably use the training I've gotten both in undergrad at Quinnipiac and at Saint Joe's. I realized that one of the problems I had personally with the counseling sessions in school was that it felt more fake. This will be an opportunity to use it in "real" life. I'm just hopefully getting to use it in real life sooner than I thought. In a weird way, that feels like a bonus to me.

I've been thinking a lot about the internship I did at Camp Hope in Carmel, NY (, too, now that I'm doing this. I discovered when I was there how good I was at relating to/with the campers each week, even if they weren't my specific campers. Both the campers and the counselors, I think, felt comfortable with me as far as opening up to me/asking questions/getting advice etc. And I think I was really good at making sure everyone had what they needed, being an encourager/cheerleader when it was needed... Maybe some of the gifts I discovered there will be things that will also be used this summer. And maybe I'll discover new gifts that I haven't found in myself yet.

It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds. I'll talk more about specifics about the Hospital for Special Care at some point, but I won't get ahead and talk about it until that part starts. (Although, I am a "research nerd", as I proudly call myself, so I will probably do research on different things that will be involved there before I blog about them.)

I could definitely tell you about things I KNOW are supposed to happen tomorrow, too...but this is enough for now. :-)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Saint Jude Children's Hospital TV programs

I don't know why I watch these. They frustrate me, but somehow I can't change the channel or turn off the TV.

At first I thought this was an "unrelated to the chaplain program" entry...but in a way, it directly relates. I would really love to work in some kind of children's a chaplain (which hospitals DON'T have for children) or a child life specialist or SOMETHING.

Even when I was young, I KNOW I realized that children die ALL the time. I remember seeing kids when I was in the hospital who looked so sick...or people I knew personally who died because of something related to their "disability"...and I wondered, while people were working on healing their bodies, who was dealing with their souls and those of their family members/friends? Who is helping them deal with their deepest fears (that could become a reality) ?

Unless the children or their families/friends are asking for it outside of the hospital, the answer may be NOBODY. What kind of sense does that make?

Imagine if we had places that deal with the mind, body and spirit at the same time!

It's amazing to see the advances that get made as far as the medical part of things go, but this part is still so frustrating...

Friday, May 16, 2008

90 Minutes in Heaven

I started reading 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper yesterday. The thoughts I've had while reading (some of the experiences I've had while in the hospital have started flooding back), and the experiences Don had while in the hospital made me think how interesting it might be to start a blog about my experiences/thoughts while in the chaplain program this summer. So, that's what I hope to do! We'll see how it goes...

If anyone is interested, I'll post an entry/entries on the experiences that have come back and the things I'm talking about from Don's book (although I don't want to give it away for those who want to read it!).