Bits and Pieces

Mosaic of a man, Byzantine church, Petra, Jordan, from Wikimedia Commons
Mosaic of a man, Byzantine church, Petra, Jordan, from Wikimedia Commons

One of the ongoing discoveries for me as I actually start working the floors and be the chaplain (albeit the chaplain intern) is figuring out “what’s my style?”  Clearly, depending on how ill the patient is, or what the need is, I modify that to some degree, but when I was shadowing, I kept watching the staff chaplains and thinking, “I could use that,” or “Ewww, that sure won’t work for me.”  I am reminded of how, in my medical clinical training years, I emulated the bits and pieces of what worked when observing my attending docs see the patient.  Often it was the attendings I liked that I emulated, but I have to admit that on occasion I emulated the good parts of the attendings that I didn’t like, as well.  To this very day, my style of dictating surgical pathology reports is a hodgepodge of two of my pathology attendings–one who was clearly my mentor, and one I couldn’t freakin’ stand!  Yet in the case of the one I couldn’t stand, the fact that he was a terse, blunt person also meant that he was concise and direct in what he said in a report, and I saw that had value.

I have thought about it in terms of a mosaic. Continue reading



Why yes, I AM old enough to remember when I turned on my computer and the screen looked like this!
Why yes, I AM old enough to remember when I turned on my computer and the screen looked like this!

Back in the day, if you were a Mac user, you learned that every now and then on the old System 6 that you needed to defragment your hard drive now and then, or your files got all wonky, wouldn’t open, or even worse, disappear.

This week, things, for lack of a better term, have felt like my hard drive is fragmented.  My week moves from “The thing I know the least” to “the thing I know the most.”  I suppose I AM grateful it runs that direction rather than the other. Continue reading

It’s always something…

Gilda Radner, from Wikimedia Commons
Gilda Radner, from Wikimedia Commons

“It’s always something,” is one of my mantras as I continue to adjust to living a triple part-time life…and I simply am going to have to accept there will always be encroachments of the other two roles in my life in the one I am in, during the present moment.  So the mantra becomes something a little more like “It’s always something, and, furthermore, there’s always gonna be something.”  Yet there is still the reactive moment of irritation when I see a call on my phone from the hospital operator back home when I’m on my CPE rotation, or the call from someone at church when I am trying to study for my Old Testament class. Continue reading

Changing the Narrative
Image by Dave Spicer and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license, from Wikimedia Commons.

Lately, I’ve been amazed at how much pondering happens in my mind as I go from CPE session back to my ordinary life (Well, if you can call my life these days “ordinary”.)  One of the things that has been happening has been that the sights, the sounds, the hubbub of a larger hospital has re-engaged long-dormant memories of working in a larger hospital setting.  It has also pushed at me to re-think decades old narratives. Continue reading

“Seriously, we’re going to stop and pray in the middle of this?”

Not my hospital, but I think you get the
Not my hospital, but I think you get the “busy” of it…

This week seemed to be about re-discovering small hidden things–mostly related to old habits when I was in training and on staff at the University of Missouri.  Now, that’s a long time ago–I left there in June 2000.  But as I was walking down the hall, all of a sudden I realized I was at least 4 steps ahead of our group.  In a 245 bed hospital, I had picked “the walk” back up.  The walk where I had some place to go, and I simply plowed on ahead at a fast clip and zig-zagged past people walking in the main corridor.  I felt a little sheepish when I realized what I had done. Continue reading