I have never liked hospitals or nursing homes. Even saying so makes my superstitious side stand at alert. If I want the Red Sox to win when they are not, I go to my local post office where I know a Yankee fan works, and I yell out to him, “Go Yankees!” He smiles.
I make him happy and better yet, that night or the following day, the Red Sox win. If they are playing the Yankees, the win is an added bonus. I think it is all about making someone happy for surely the powers to be know I didn’t mean it.
If you follow my logic, I am better off to say I love nursing homes and then I will be assured of never being in one as a resident. Or so my theory goes.
A long time ago I did the opposite. I whined about nursing homes. As a result, I am in one every week in one voluntary job or another, but mostly as chaplain. Today I was headed to one for a visit, when I turned around and instead took a walk. As I listened to Tropic of Cancer on my iPhone and thought about what I had done, I realized that today’s visit from which I retreated was not as a chaplain, but in another role. One not at all spiritual.
As a chaplain, I find I like my nursing home visits. Being in this role for almost ten years I had come to the conclusion that my phobia of nursing homes was over. That is until today when I realized that what made them tolerable was to engage with folks on a spiritual level. As soon as I tried to expand to other roles, the old nursing home phobia returned.
From this day forward I plan to only volunteer in nursing homes as a chaplain. Of course, being paid would be okay too, but all other roles, paid or unpaid, I plan to terminate. Change that last word, instead make it no longer perform.