Last Friday I saw patients for the first time at County Hospital. New volunteers are supposed to shadow an established chaplain for at least four visits, and then be shadowed for at least two visits before seeing patients on their own, but Clementine said she didn’t think I needed to shadow anyone. I did three visits with her observing and then she said I can go ahead and see patients on my own. One visit was complicated, with an upset patient and an even more upset family member. Everywhere we went, Clementine announced proudly to other staff members that I just completed a year of CPE at the Truly Wonderful Medical Center.
I was glad to find that the gel at County Hospital seems fine in regard to smell, consistency and lack of adverse skin reaction. At TWMC, there is a dispenser outside every single patient room and often inside, too, but at County Hospital, there is a dispenser only about every four rooms, which dispenses a set amount that is way more than I would normally use.
On Saturday, Lisa and I took a walk in Tilden Park, our first in quite some time.
Late last week, Anita, my joyful ex-CPE supervisor, texted me about a job that has opened up at TWMC. It is precisely my dream job—one I was hoping would turn up two and a half years from now, after I finish school. I decided it would not make sense to apply now—that it’s someone else’s job. I told myself I will trust that what I need will turn up when I need it.
Then I spent most of Sunday with another CPE supervisor. We took BART to Point Richmond to go to Dharmata and hear the teachings of Tibetan Buddhist teacher Anam Thubten, who has quite a presence. After that, we had a beautiful brunch on the sunny back patio of Brezo. I told him—let’s call him Graham—my reasoning about the job, including that my boss at the Very Fantastic Medical Center will kill me if I quit my new job right after it starts. He said, “Hmm. I’m sure she’d understand that your dream job came along.” I told him that my school requires volunteering, and there is no way I can fit in school, my dream job, and volunteering. He said, “Hmm. Do they require volunteering per se, or just that you are practicing your clinical skills somewhere?” That very question has been lurking in the back of my mind for some time. Maybe it doesn’t have to be actual volunteering.
So, after our lovely day together, I came home and applied for the job. As Graham pointed out, if I don’t get it, my situation continues to be perfectly fine, and if the job becomes available later, I will already be known as someone who is interested in it. That makes total sense, but when I reported to the Very Fantastic Medical Center for my first day of orientation today and was greeted by a surly person at the front desk instead a smiling, friendly one, I felt a stab of longing for TWMC.