Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Keeper

This week's hospital shift went much better than last week's. This is probably mostly because I didn't do the nursing-home service this afternoon, so I had time to swim, which -- in addition to being good exercise -- is an important centering and prayer discipline for me.

Gary's suggested that on my nursing-home Sundays, maybe I should skip church in the morning so I'll have time to exercise. I think that's throwing out the baby with the bathwater, but I might go to the early service to give myself time to get to the pool (that is, if I'm not preaching and required to be at both services). On the other hand, having to be anywhere at eight in the morning means I'll be shot by five in the afternoon, so that's probably not the best idea either.

Hmmmm. I'm going to have to work on this. At least the nursing-home service is only once a month!

Anyway, whether it was because of my swim or a different mix of patients or who knows what else, today's shift was very satisfying. I saw a patient from last week, someone I'd helped with a social-service issue; I don't often get to hear how things have gone for people, so it was nice to have a follow-up visit (although of course both the patient and I would have been happier if a second ER trip hadn't been necessary). A lot of folks requested prayer tonight. I got to spend time with an adorable baby who glommed onto me and merrily yanked on my necklace, my earrings, my glasses, and my ID badge, and then snuggled sleepily into my shoulder. I had pleasant interactions with staff, including one nurse who came up with a mock-scientific, straight-faced explanation for why I simply had to have a Milky Way bar after I'd already eaten a bag of almonds. "Almonds are very healthy, and the chocolate will help you metabolize them better."

I worked a little longer than I usually do, and when I went to take myself off the board, sure enough, I'd been erased already! But this time I gave the charge nurse a hard time about it. "Yeah, I go to take myself off the board and I'm already gone, and that just makes me feel so loved and wanted, you know?"

She was laughing. "I took you off. I take the doctors off, too. Don't take it personally." (Ah, yes, the ER mantra! "Don't take it personally!")

So it was one of the shifts when I felt like I belonged there, which means that it's one of the shifts I'll hang onto when things aren't going so well. This one was a keeper.

Keepers are important. They're what keep me going back.


  1. Time management - the nemsis of us all :-)

    I'm glad to hear that this week's shift went better, too many bad experiences in a row and you start questioning all sorts of stuff, that almost always has nothing directly to do with oneself.

    I had to smile when you said this last shift was a keeper. The idea of "hanging on to positive moments" is a really nice way to keep things in perspective.

  2. Thanks, jsd! I've gotten into the habit of making quick notes at the hospital: jotting down reminders of positive visits so that if the shift goes south later, I'll be able to look back and say, "Oh, yeah, there was good stuff too."


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