Saturday, June 18, 2005

My First On-call

Well, I survived my first on call as a CPE chaplain yesterday. At my hospital there is always a chaplain on call for a 24 hour period.

Some interesting things I learned working in a Trauma 1 center as an on call chaplain:

1. It is indeed amazing how many different ways the human body can be mangled.

2. I'm never owning another motorcycle.

3. I have a greater understanding of the dark humor in M*A*S*H.

4. The hospital cafeteria closes at 1 AM not 2 AM.
4.A. Because you did not have time to get dinner, 80 cent bags of chips from the vending machine do not go far.

5. CPR does not always work, in fact most of the time when someone goes into cardiac arrest, they die, even with the crash cart shock thing.

6. You can never tell how people are going to react when they are told that their loved one has died. Some scream, some get silent, some pass out.

7. In the South, its better to pray like a Methodist and not read a canned BCP prayer.

8. It's not about finding the right words when you have to be with a mother who has been told her three premature triplets did not make it. There just are not any right words. Nothing can make it better.

9. If you manage to go to sleep, the on call pager will wake you up but the evac helicopter landing outside the chaplain's sleep room won't.

10. Learn to love being called "Preacher."


Ryan said...

Archer -

That's a lot of learning for one day man, but good learning it is. None of that stuff gets any easier (except knowing when chow time is of course) but you do get to a point where to can negotiate it with a bit more facility. I wish you the best.


Raisin said...

You're right - may as well get used to spontaneous prayer and forget the book. You might also want to carry your own food when on-call. You won't find hummus at midnight!

Jane Ellen+ said...

Amen, and amen! Good learning indeed...

Kyle said...

Thanks for sharing this, Ryan.

Pax tecum.

Karen said...

Your experiences mirror my own CPE at a county hospital trauma center last summer. My prayers are with you.

Voyager said...

Very thought-provoking indeed. I think that we all could do with a bit of those realities in our own lives. It isnt always easy, and there isnt always a right thing to say. Sometimes, the Book only prepares us for how to cope, but not necessarily in what manner.

Beth said...

"2. I'm never owning another motorcycle."

Well, I've never owned one in the first place, but - word. I'm amazed that there are ER staff who do own them. It hadn't occurred to me that people who work in trauma year-round would want motorcycles.