A hospital, chaplains and acts of kindness

I was laid up, as they say, in the hospital for a weekend last month. It was the first time in more than 40 years I had to spend the night in a hospital. It was an unwelcome surprise, especially since I was able to drive myself to the Catholic hospital’s emergency room — and was expecting to drive back home once the diagnosis and treatment regimen was known.

First, they said they were going to keep me “for the day.” Before the morning was over, “for the day” was interpreted as “overnight.” One night became two, and threatened to become three, when I unexpectedly showed marked improvement in my condition as a doctor was making her rounds.

Before I could settle in my bed for very long, someone from the hospital arrived to take my vital information. One item on the checklist was religion. “Catholic,” I said. It was a Catholic hospital, after all.

About an hour after I finished a late lunch, what to my wondering eyes should appear but a chaplain, who talked with me after visiting my hospital roommate. The chaplain had the Eucharist and that was the most gratifying surprise of my hospital stay. Communion on Saturday!

And on Sunday, from a permanent deacon. And on Monday, from a third chaplain. While it may be hospital policy, these were extraordinary acts of kindness that this ex-patient will long remember.

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