Last thursday the families of the patients of Methodist University Hospital made a small step in the right direction as we opened our Family Care Center. At the same moment we closed and abolished the old intensive care waiting room where thousand of people over the years spent uncomfortable traumatized hours as their loved ones were in treatment upstairs. They waited.
I’m not a trained hospital professional, but as a fairly experienced human being I appreciate the fact that nobody attending to a loved one in a time of hospitalization should just be waiting. They should either be cared for themselves — because just getting momma to the hospital is enough to wear anybody out– or they should have the chance to learn the things they will need to know when momma comes home. Who knows anything about a stroke and its grueling process of recovery until someone you love has one?
So the concept is simple: no more waiting and no more waiting room. Instead, a Family Care Center bathed in gentle northern light, equipped with hotel-quality furniture, abundant space, staffed 24 hours a day with people who, well, care. The families have access to a quieter and more dim space where they can get deeper sleep anytime in the cycle of the day. Every surface, fabric and square foot of carpet was chosen to speak of life, growth and peace.
We’re not done, but we have made a huge lurch in the right direction. Soon the chapel for the families will be done and the volunteers will begin to flood the space like the gentle light. The education and resource center next door will be finished next month.
And the hours will still be grueling and filled with fear, anxiety and exhaustion. So when we paused to bless the space, we used a litany written by Larry Pray just for the occasion. I’ll post the whole thing tomorrow, but this to start:
“Let us be honest. In such a place as this
there is a note of uncertainty,
and no small measure of fear.
And yet, beset as we are by circumstance
here we are surrounded by hope.
We know we will leave from here
not as we were,
but called to reshape and restart our lives.
We leave called to care, called to hope,
called to bless
and called again to find life.”
We’ve all been waiting a long time for such honest not-waiting to begin.