Hallways

I’m paged out of a relaxing state of just being. I’ve been here for thirty minutes. Dare I fall asleep? Too late. Beep-beep-beep. That thing jolts me every time.

The fun pajamas take a back seat to the blue polo and dress shoes. Clackety clack, down the Family Services hallway toward the stairwell (er, excuse me, the StairGym). Up the stairs one floor, and down the long hallway toward the ED.

The first time I got paged up here, I was walking much faster. What would I see? What if didn’t do a good job? This time, I saunter – preparing myself to be the calm amidst the trauma. The fear goes away – but the urgency never does; and my prayer is always the same.

God, help me be a good chaplain.

Through the double doors. Oh, that nurse is awesome at his job. He’s one of my favorites.

“How are you doing?” he asks. “Fine, thanks,” I respond as we both walk in opposite directions down the same hallway. Past the nurse’s station, and down another hallway to the the trauma. That doctor reminds me of James Taylor. I wonder if he sings…

“Hey,” he says with a recognizing smile. “Hi,” I say back as I make my way to the trauma room.

So, you remember too, huh? I guess you never really forget. If you take this hallway down past the other nurse’s station and turn the corner, you’ll run into the consult room where we told that parent their child’s chance of survival was 50%. You were great- and so was that nurse.

Maybe I was too. I hope so.

Tonight my destination is this side of the hallway. Trauma ___.

God, please help me be a good chaplain.

Open the door and cross the room. Spanish speakers! Patient is wheeled off for testing. Introductions. “Hola, me llamo Sara. Soy una capellana y trabajo aqui…”

Pastoral presence, pastoral conversation, spiritual support and prayer. Transfer to exam room after tests.

“Your tests are fine, you can go home now,” the nurse says.

“Bye, thank you,” they go that way, and I go this way – down the long hallway.

Through the double doors, clackety clack down the hall toward the stairs. Another hallway, more double doors, down the Family Service hallway to the office to chart, then across the hall to the chaplain room – to sleep…. or do it all again.

I like hallways.

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