- I now know more about congenital heart defects and the surgical procedures used to try to repair them than I ever would have thought possible.
- I'm getting better at extemporaneous prayer, but when I'm feeling sketchy, I revert to the little green "Ministry to the Sick" prayer book. Thank you, Church Publishing!
- At the end of a very sad week, one of the little ones who is recovering from surgery was awake, sitting up, bouncing a little despite IVs and EKG leads and such. My heart unfolded with joy. Even the mother of another child who had suffered serious reverses this week came to her bedside to smile at her. She gave us all some hope on Friday, waking up as she did the day before her first birthday. I'm hoping her mother got her wish to give the little one a bit of birthday cupcake today.
- Seeing a baby's heart , no bigger than a small apricot, beating through an open incision while the heart recovers from surgery is awesome, in every sense of the word. I think of Dame Julian of Norwich: "And in this the Lord showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand. . .In this little thing I saw three properties. The first is that God made it, the second is that God loves it, the third is that God preserves it."
- Baby's hearts aren't the only broken hearts in a children's hospital. This is hard work, every day.
- I'm on call until Monday. I haven't gotten called in yet. Today the pager beeped for a number of traumas that were brought into the ER via helicopter or ambulance, but they didn't page me, which means no one thought their child needed baptism or was in imminent danger of death, thus needing the prayers and support of a chaplain. I'm embarrassed to say I'm grateful I wasn't called in. Of course, the pager may well bid me come tonight or tomorrow. Part of me says I'm glad I wasn't called because it means no one is in that bad shape, but the cowardly part of me says it's because I'm afraid I'll be found wanting if I am called in. Yes, I trust God will equip me, but still...
I love this work, but it felt really good to chill out at home today and putz around the house and do some cooking. We're going to a friend's house for a Caribbean dinner this evening (can't have a foo-foo drink since I'm on call) and we'll see if I can stay for the whole thing or if I get paged to go to the hospital. Once this on-call thing ends on Monday, I'll be so grateful to get a solid night's sleep without the pager announcing the traumas and such. There were enough of them that the battery on the pager started dying last night (at 2 a.m.) and I had to get up and replace it - thank goodness I had a AAA battery in the kitchen. I should have another short stint of on-call before CPE ends in mid-August, maybe four more days, but the seven day thing has worn me out. The only comforting thing is that the young people in my group are just as exhausted during on-call as we ancient crones are.