Friday, October 1, 2010

Palliative Visits

Jul 3, 2008
9 AM – Prayer mtg, hospital chapel.
9:30 – meeting, volunteers, Fr. David Collins
10 AM – pt. visits:  Fr. David offered communion to a pt.  When he blessed the sacrament, I felt the air charge with electricity – the Holy Spirit manifesting God’s presence.  I felt pity that the pt.’s hand was trembling, as he took water with the host.  Fr. David only gave him half a wafer, as many pts have trouble swallowing.
10:30 – coffee, talking with Eucharistic volunteers
11 – 1:30 – Meeting with Dr. Shadd... discussion about project – work of dying, are there tasks related to dying required to bring about a good death (social, spiritual, psychological)?  Shared testimony of faith in Christ and mission vision.
1:30 – 4:30 – Inpatient consult. Pt. was depressed, angry, did not want to be a burden anymore, decided to go off dialysis, which would surely result in a painful death within 2 weeks, according to Dr. Schroder.  Social work and the nephrology team had discussed it with the pt and his family and they reached the decision calmly and with reason.  I felt fear for his soul as he seemed to lack peace, but I also felt hope that God would comfort him in the next few days.  When I said a prayer in my heart for him, he turned to me and gazed at me with deep, pained eyes.  I recall feeling some awkwardness as he had had a finger and a leg amputated due to diabetic complications, a distance in me which ought to be dealt with.
Today, I heard from Bob Hunt that he does not want me to wear a cross on visits, and I was troubled by this.  I wrote to him saying I would prefer to give up my placement, my degree and even life itself, rather than to deny Christ in public.  I await his reply.

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