Duty, Death, Dads, Day Games and Details

I seem to be getting ever more creative in my tiredness.  Today has been and still continues to be pretty busy.  I swapped duty with another Chaplain and have spent the day here at the Medical Center.  It has been busy and at times sporty.  It has also been a day where I have had my own struggles.  This is the first Father’s Day that I have not been able to talk to my dad whose condition  continues to slowly worsen from end stage Alzheimer’s disease at a nursing facility. I have been going strong most of the day with a lull during the afternoon which I was able to take advantage of for some self care.  Tonight between rounds as well as patient and staff care I have not stopped.  It is getting close to midnight, I know we have another coming to the ICU, so I decided to sit down, and write.

I took the duty and no sooner had the chaplain that I relieved left my office the pager went off.  It was a call to go to our Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit or NICU.  There was a 6 day old baby dying.  I had met mom and grandmother the day after the child was delivered.  She was a beautiful child but had genetic abnormalities that most expected that she would die from shortly after birth.  She was a tough little kid, but finally gave up the ghost today.  I was there and mom asked if I would baptize her, which I did and then commended her to the Lord as she passed away in her mother’s arms. While there I was told about another very sick baby who might not live long.

Sunday duty also entails doing the Protestant worship service if you are not a Roman Catholic Chaplain.   Chaplains do the service from their faith tradition.  Since my church is more on the catholic side of Anglican I use the rite out of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer as we have these on hand at our chaplain and the rite is our provisional liturgy.  I have come to like it over the years.  Our congregation is primarily military retirees and sailors or civilian workers who are on Sunday duty as well as patients who come down.  The service is broadcasted on the closed circuit television system to patient rooms.  Today we had a decent crowd and it was a good service, expect for the time my pager went off in the middle of my homily and I had to dig it out from underneath my Alb, Stole and Chasuble.  My organist took it to the duty RP (Religious Programs Specialist) who contacted the caller while I finished the homily and the Eucharist.

The caller happened to be our Labor and Delivery Unit who needed me to come up and pray with a young mother to be and her parents as she got ready for a C-section.  This went well and I found out later as I rounded this evening that everything went very smooth and that mother and baby are doing fine.  After checking around the hospital I was able to go over to Harbor Park as it is within the 30 minute response time required of our chaplain duty on weekends.  Weekdays we spend the night, weekends staying in house is optional if you live under 30 minutes away.  I live on the cusp of this and on the wrong side of a bridge tunnel so I remain in house during the weekend.

Since I ave my season ticket I went to the ballpark in my cargo shorts and replica Tides orange jersey and black cap which sport’s the Tides away logo.  The Tides as I noted yesterday have been in the “June Swoon.”  Thankfully their closest competitor, the Durham Bulls have been doing even worse.  Today against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, the AAA affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies.  Lehigh Valley had taken the first two games of the series.  Today though was different, the Tides got a lead and held it.  The players seemed both more relaxed and focused than they have been lately.  Troy Patton, Chris Ray, Bob McCrory and Jim Miller combined for the victory, Patton getting the win and Miller getting the save.  Jeff Fiorentino hit his 5th home run as well as a ground rule double and a single scoring all four Tides runs.  Most of the game I spend talking life and baseball with Elliott the usher.

As soon as the game was over I raced back to the hospital changed back into uniform and began rounds.  These were long and extended as there were still a number of staff who needed to discuss the events that have shaken us here the past couple of weeks as well as a number of calls to either take care of staff members or patients.  Most of these have not been simple “will you pray for me” kind of stuff but major life and death, emotional or spiritual crisis involving staff, family and patients.  Thus I am pretty tired but please that I can be around.  We’ll see how the rest of the night goes.  I do hope to catch a bit of sleep.

This was also Father’s Day.  As I said it is the first that I have not been able to talk with my dad since 2002 when deployed to the Persian Gulf and off Pakistan.  I have mentioned my Dad’s Alzheimer’s disease before and he does continue to worsen, but keep hanging in there.  Dealing with the family of a retired Navy Chief in the ICU brought back memories of dad tonight.

And now to details.  I was told that the Navy Times scandal sheet had published an article on Admiral Baker not getting his second star, something that I wrote about in the last section of last night’s post.  The article gives details from the Inspector General report.  The link to the article is here:


This is a sad time for the Navy Chaplain Corps and for Admiral Baker and his family.  His long and distinguished career has been tainted by what was discovered in the report. Please pray for him and the Chaplain Corps as we navigate these difficult times.

Peace, Steve+

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Filed under alzheimer's disease, Baseball, healthcare, Loose thoughts and musings, Military, philosophy

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