One of my volunteer positions in retirement is as a rounder at our local York Hospital. As a rounder, I go around to patient rooms to see how we are taking care of them. Among the questions I ask, Is there night time noise? Does the staff check in with you regularly? Would you like to see someone about spiritual care? What would have made your stay even better?
I always begin my rounding in the birthing unit. Families with newborns are often upbeat and happy with a capital H. Moms are beaming; Dads rock their baby contentedly. Today my gift is to bring the newspaper (e.g., Portland Press Herald) to the parents as a record of the day their child was born.
As I round this Wednesday afternoon, my gift is also to linger. On another visit, I linger with an elderly woman. We talk of living in Maine and soon evolve to lamenting our poor, dear, sad Red Sox and hoping our Patriots are Super Bowl bound. Though by rounding I gain helpful information to improve the delivery of service and care at York Hospital, I feel my true purpose is listen to patients and help the time pass more quickly; be some sunshine during a time when they can feel quite vulnerable waiting to heal and learn what’s next.