I am no longer employed at Rochester General Hospital. My last day was Saturday the 9th. Since I chose my own end date, I was confused as to why I chose to end on a Saturday. Why voluntarily decide to do one more shift on a day when I would rather be outside or enjoying sister time or reading on my futon in my bath robe? Well, it was a beautiful day. I mean, my shift inside was beautiful nonetheless. I soaked it in.
I looked down the hallways remembering all the times I couldn’t walk fast enough to get to my patient on the other end. In almost every room, I could remember a handful of patients I had taken care of in that very room. There are actually a few specific rooms where I’ve had moving experiences repeatedly while caring for different people across the span of two years.
I remember the paralyzed man who was upset only ONCE during his entire two month stay. He was always laughing, always smiling, always telling us, “I understand, honey” when we couldn’t get in his room on time. He told me once, in his thick spanish accent, that he had a great dream last night: “I was running, running so fast honey.”
I remember deciding to serve wholeheartedly on Christmas Day, (as opposed to begrudgingly) attempting to be mindful that patients didn’t want to be in the hospital any more than I did, but at least I could go home at night. I made cards for my 5 patient assignment, and was shocked when one of them had a present for me instead!
I remember the woman dying of cancer. Her lights were dimmed and a radio had been brought from home. Christian songs softly filled the room. Her family quietly sat by her side, peacefully. “I love this song. It’s actually my ringtone!” The family was surprised, “You know these songs? Are you a Christian?” A little bit of shared hope and understanding passed between us.
My last day was exactly what I needed. A calm shift, with wonderful patients I had been caring for 3 days straight. Even the patient that truly thought we were at the race track for an afternoon outing:) Lots of hugs, cookie cake, and even a generous collection from my coworkers towards our Mercy Ships mission.
People are people, no matter where they are. If I choose to invest in people, I will reap greater rewards. I may get my heart broken, but if I don’t sow anything due to fear of pain, I will avoid fulfillment and joy right along with the brokenness. I have to invest my heart to do this right.