Saturday, May 14, 2011
Last Long Shift for a While
As previously advertised, one of my adjustments during my sabbatical will be to break my four-hours-a-week at the hospital into two two-hour shifts during the workweek, rather than doing it all at once on Saturday (the only time I can manage during the academic year because of teaching and meetings). Shifts can run long anyway; last week I was there for five hours. I usually take a meal break, but visiting patients can be hard on the feet -- I do a lot of standing and walking -- and of course the work's sometimes, although not always, emotionally draining.
Today's shift, the last four-hour one before the new schedule, turned into four-and-a-half because there was a code just as I was about to sign out. (I think the staff chaplain who's usually there on Saturdays must be on vacation, because I was the only spiritual-care person who responded to the code, although it turned out the family didn't really want me there. The nurses were doing a fabulous job taking care of them, as well as the patient.) Then it turned into almost five, because a visually impaired visitor needed help finding a room -- so did I, since I barely know that part of the hospital! -- and then, just as I was leaving through the waiting room, a relative snagged me, angry over not being able to go back and visit a patient.
Sometimes it's hard to get out of the building.
It was a good shift. I had interesting conversations with patients. I helped someone who's feeling very isolated brainstorm about possible support systems. I saw cute kids and visited with fascinating older folks; I love hearing their stories! Quite a few people both asked for prayer and responded positively to it. The patient who coded didn't die. The work was smooth and steady -- busy but not too intense -- until the overtime stretch.
Still, it was really good to get home, take a shower, and curl up with a cat for a few minutes. Now I'm going to go downstairs and make a pot of tea. Then I hope to settle into rereading the rough draft of the novel, which I indeed finished last night, so I can start figuring out the billion and one things I need to fix.