Mary M. Wrye

My spiritual assessment of the first case study…
The partner stated that they FIRMLY believed in God but did not attend any faith group. My pondering about that (although I’m not sure that would be the proper place to flesh that out) would be… has there ever been a time when they were a part of a faith group? Is being a part of one important to them? I think folks can have a firm belief in God, but not relish the idea of “going to church” for a variety of reasons – the least of which is being shamed/shunned by the congregation/pastor (as was illustrated by Trish’s discussion). So I would have listened closely and asked about how their faith in God provided guidance and comfort for them.
I would imagine the partner would have a great deal of fear and anxiety anticipating talking with the patient’s parents – since it seems the dad hasn’t been connected in a while. Having to deal with this situation alone must have been heartbreaking.
Let’s all say it together… the doctor was an a..hole. I am impressed with the Chaplain’s response to this physician… but maybe this doctor is homophobic or maybe he is a closeted himself and it hit just a little too close to home. Just asking the question. Either way – his dealing with this partner was way too far on the COLD meter.
I’m impressed with the nurse also escorting the partner back to with the patient and stayed with her.

My assessment is… While I don’t know what the time frame was on this encounter – but I think this chaplain provided comfort, support, and a holy presence during a really difficult situation and in the face of a less than comforting physician. She (interesting that I would see this as a female Chaplain when I don’t think we are told either way) followed the lead of the partner in their time together, the Chaplain listened, stayed with her when the partner needed a physical presence until her friends arrived, supported her need for privacy when the partner needed to talk to the parents. The partner was at ease enough with this Chaplain to talk about her conversation with the patient’s parents.

Being present. Listening. Following the partner’s lead. Correcting the physician. Continued to be lovingly present until the partner left with friends. I think this is what we are called to do.