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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Monday, August 18, 2003

Today begins my last week here at the hospital—so, when I wrote my weekly reflection to turn in this morning, I found myself reflecting over the whole unit this time, rather than only what went on in the last week or so.

Ten Things I’ve Learned on My Summer Vacation

10. I’ve learned acronyms. The medical profession is full of them, second only to the military in both frequency and complexity. CT, MRI, DNR, NPO… the list is endless. It must have rubbed off on us, because our group also developed a few of our own, as part of our experience here: DBE, AFGO, PWG. I find myself thinking in terms of them, even outside CPE at UCH (Look! There’s some more!).

9. I’ve learned about food. We are a group of adventuresome eaters here, and we’ve shared cultural favorites with enthusiasm. If someone ever offers you halo halo, seize the opportunity!

8. On a related note, I’ve learned what to eat in the hospital cafeteria, and what to avoid. Food there is rather like the old nursery rhyme: when it is good, it is very good; and when it is bad… there’s always the salad bar.

7. I’ve learned that laughter is indeed good medicine… and so are tears.

6. I’ve learned that most nurses are stretched too thin, most doctors are moving too fast, and most patients are frustrated.

5. I’ve learned that talking to someone in the hospital is far less important than listening to them.

4. I’ve learned that security guards—especially in the ER—often have a wicked sense of humor.

3. I’ve learned that the process of healing, whether body or soul, is painful; and that the hardest, most painful things to do are usually the most necessary.

2. I’ve learned that God is present in any situation I step into; and in fact, has arrived long before I got there, waiting to bring light into the darkest places, and holiness into the most profane inhumanity.

1. I’ve learned that Clinical Pastoral Education is fascinating and frustrating, heartbreaking and joyous, exhilarating and exhausting; and that the key to not only surviving, but thriving in the midst of it is the group you work with. Once again, it's all about community, friends.


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