Another part of pastoral care is visiting members in the hospital. By grace, all my visits today were at the closest hospital. There have been days when I have had visits in Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Daytona Beach. But today, I got to stay in my home town of Palm Coast.
I scored a parking spot right outside the main visitor entrance. But since they were painting that area, I had to walk all the way around to reach the doorway. I stopped at the front desk to ask one of the volunteers for a room number for “M”, whom I had seen in ICU two days ago. I had hoped that she had moved, but the very nice volunteer gave me the same room number.
I made my way to the elevator, but not before getting some disinfectant for my hands. I rode the elevator to the second floor and headed to the ICU waiting room. There I called and asked if I could visit “M.” They said, “Come on through.” “M” was there with her husband. She was doing just a little better than my last visit, but was far from being well. The ICU is not a place to stay for long, so I said a prayer with them and headed out. I said another unspoken prayer on the way out for her and for her caregivers. They can use all the help they can get.
I made my way out of ICU and down the hall to see “J” who had been recovering from surgery for the last four days. I hoped he would be just about ready to go home, but he was really having trouble breathing. His surgical site had healed well, but he needed more time to recover fully. I could tell he wasn’t feeling well, so I only stayed long enough to say a quick prayer. I left to let the nurses do their work.
In the seating area by the elevators, I sat to call “J’s” wife and let her know I had stopped by and to make sure she was doing OK. Nervous at first, she soon calmed as we chatted. She would soon be on her way to the hospital.
I thought I had finished my rounds for the day, but as I headed out to my car, I caught sight of a friend, a nurse, whom I had just prayed for this past Sunday. I stopped to talk to “C,” whom I hadn’t seen for a long time. I told her we had prayed for her in church the past Sunday. She brought me up to date on her own condition, her husband, and future treatments. It was a gracious and timely meeting, that was arranged by God. He often makes sure I am in the right place at the right time. And for that, I am thankful.
My visits were done for the day, but on my drive home I had a great conversation with Jesus about all that I experienced. It’s always good to debrief after my rounds.