BY: FR. JOSEPH DRISCOLL, DMin
Amid the rush hour mid-morning hallway traffic, the chaplain intern leans against the wall outside the patient room he just left, jotting notes and cross-checking his census list. His serious demeanor is crowned by a deeper disappointment in his inability to get the patient to open up about obvious signs of distress.
Suddenly the chaplain intern hears a booming, emotionally rich cry and the simultaneous clang of a dropped mop against its bucket of water.
"Aww, honey, what's the matter with you today, you look so sad?"
He peers into the room and sees a large African-American housekeeper wrapping her arms around the man he had just visited. The patient is sobbing uncontrollably in response to her continued rocking and lulling, "It's OK, honey, it's OK."
This scene of a day in the life of spiritual care arcs the reality of my 40-year history in pastoral care, from chaplain intern to national leader. Amazing — all of the myriad issues of identity and role clarification, legitimacy and recognition, cost and reimbursement are still alive and spanning the pages of this issue of Health Progress.