Sometimes It is Over


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.

12 thoughts on “Sometimes It is Over

  1. New Hampshire Garden Solutions June 10, 2014 / 6:45 pm

    It’s hard to find much optimism or joy in such a place, I’m sure. I used to love talking to the “inmates” when I worked at one, but I think I was more a distraction for them than anything else.

    • fictionfitz June 11, 2014 / 7:07 am

      I would think “distraction” a huge improvement.

  2. M. Zane McClellan June 10, 2014 / 7:04 pm

    Yes, terminate is probably not the best word choice for the subject, lol. I’m happy that you have found your center with this issue.

    • fictionfitz June 11, 2014 / 7:08 am

      Now I just need to communicate it. I have quit more things this year than joined.

  3. Marilyn Armstrong June 10, 2014 / 10:41 pm

    And I’VE stopped saying “be still my heart” as it seems wildly inappropriate.

    • fictionfitz June 11, 2014 / 6:16 am

      Marilyn you have a “wildly” dark sense of humor. I can chuckle at your remark even knowing the seriousness of it. I don’t see much of such humor in nursing homes. I wonder if even dark humor is stifled there. I see it in hospitals, even assisted living, but I can’t conjure up a nursing home experience of a patient using dark humor.

    • fictionfitz June 11, 2014 / 6:16 am

      PS: Maybe I am not looking hard enough.

  4. jhvn June 11, 2014 / 11:11 am

    Perhaps as a chaplain you can bring humor as well as a positive image of the journey the residents are travelling.. Perhaps, also, having a specific purpose as chaplain gives you a greater sense of satisfaction and accomplishment than in those other roles (what are they?)

    • fictionfitz June 11, 2014 / 11:35 am

      As I said to someone else, this is not only the year of the book, but the year of quitting much for which I volunteered. Have I no shame?

      • jhvn June 11, 2014 / 2:36 pm

        So who needs shame??

      • fictionfitz June 12, 2014 / 6:15 am

        I do. I am working to engage the dark side. Not in a morose way, but in an accepting manner. Sometime even humorously, but the only way this last will work in my eyes is if we both laugh.

  5. jhvn June 12, 2014 / 9:56 am

    I completely agree with the need for laughter, and eliminating morosity (is that a word?). To my ears “shame” implies morose self-degradation, which is NOT helpful. Honest awareness of the dark side will be necessary, and even depression can be useful.

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