Thursday, June 21, 2007

Things I Learned This Week

So, I've been back at work for two whole weeks now. The first week was infinitely worse than the second, but I'm getting more accustomed to kissing my baby boy goodbye in the morning and I love, love, love watching the relationship which is developing with the G. man and his daddy, who acts as primary caregiver right now.

This week, though, was one of those weeks where one's learning curve seems to expand exponentially.

Examples? Why sure...

When a nudist dies, it is entirely appropriate to ask the funeral home to dress him in his finest, which is, um, nothing. Furthermore, they will talk with you seriously about this and no one will smile or laugh because you both are professionals. And this is as it should be, but it does add new meaning to the term "blue balls." I'm just sayin'... And I'm not saying how I know this. Just that I do.

That one can walk through the office for an entire day with spit-up stains on their shoulder and one will say nary a word. Whether this is because one's officemates are not highly observant, or because they feel sorry for a ten-pounds overweight post-partum woman in tight clothes, is still open for discussion.

That taking a dump can elicit more positive responses from a patient than a pastoral care visit anyday. I asked one of my patients with dementia yesterday, "How are your spirits today?" And Martha paused, in deep and faraway thought as if she was communing with her Creator and finally said, "It is well. I finally went. It made all the difference. It was probably two inches long. Bowel movements help a lot." And how do I respond? In the only way I could think of in the moment, "Amen, and amen." To which she added, "Hallelujah."

That seeing one's blue-eyed boy at the end of the day smiling and cooing happily when he drifts into his mama's arms is a reminder of why I value life and why I believe in what I do, which is helping people live to the fullest. And to that I add, a hearty "Amen and Amen."

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