Here he was: prostrate, limp, a huge tube going down his windpipe.
I routinely saw patients who were racist, sexist, demanding, and cruel. They were also afraid, exhausted, in pain, and helpless.
I relate to physical sickness more easily than mental illness. So does our culture.
Wendy Cadge asks, What happens to religion when hospitals, many of them founded by religious groups, are secularized or otherwise constrained to serve patients beyond their founding communities?
When I began in ministry, I'd enter a hospital room with a bit of trepidation, as if entering a strange and alien land. I wasn't sure what I'd encounter there and how I might respond. I wasn’t used to the sights and sounds and smells—the sight of someone hooked up to a tube, the occasional snoring or groaning of a roommate, the antiseptic smell that sometimes barely conceals the various human smells that infuse the air. I didn’t know the customs of this land either—for instance, whether I should stop praying when a doctor entered the room, or introduce myself to the doctor, or leave the room when the doctor begins the consultation. But now, after 25 years as a pastor, I've been in hundreds of hospital rooms, and they all look familiar.