Thursday, March 24, 2011

You're getting veewwwwy sslllleeeeepppy

The 15-hour on-call shift begins at 5pm. If it is Thursday or Friday, I've just finished my daily 8:30-5:00 shift and transported myself to the hospital for the over-night shift.

Last Thursday evening, I was pumped up to get to the hospital. I arrived a bit early, got into the on-call room, clocked in and went to the office just in time to catch up on all that was going on from the now-leaving-for-the-day chaplain to hand off to me. I discussed with the "late shift/backup" chaplain how we would split up the visits and went immediately to the emergency department where there was quite a bit of activity happening.

My second wind fueled my third wind and before I knew it, it was about 11pm. I still had quite a few general consultation requests to make. I scanned the list - anyone urgent? No 'end of life' requests, no 'spiritual crisis,' no 'need a bible' - nothing like that. So I went down the list.

Room 474 - asleep - didn't wake up
Room 392 - recent stroke - unable to rouse
Room 993 - asleep - didn't wake up
Room 792 - out for a test - patient missing
Room 864 - asleep - RN said she *just* managed to get her to sleep
and on like this. For like six patients.

The next day, I realized something. Of course they were all asleep... it was time for ME to be asleep! I remembered how my colleague Nathan used to say, "If you spot it, you got it!" Sure enough - I do believe that I projected my need for sleep onto everyone I "visited" so that I could get to sleep. I saw what I wanted to see, in some way. Oh, I could have woken up several of the patients and explored why they asked to see a Chaplain. But, at the time, my reality was that everyone in the hospital was asleep and so that's where I went.

It makes me wonder, where else in my life are folks "asleep" but really it's just how I am seeing them? How am I already asleep to others and just need to wake up? What about you?

When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). Mark 5:38-42

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