One of the things that anyone contemplating God's call to the secular priesthood ought to understand is all priests waste an incredible amount of time. To be more accurate other people waste his time. The number of people who make an appointment and don't turn up, is annoying but understandable.
This week I put aside time today to visit one of my parishioners in Brighton General Hospital, I got there after 25 minutes on the bus. Surprisingly there was hardly anyone around, I went up to the ward and there were piles of mattresses, curtains pulled down, and nobody there. The ward was closed, a cleaner I met told me. I am glad actually, I always dreaded it when people went in there, they seemed to all get MRSA and eventually die.
I went to reception, asked where the person was, "I don't know, have you tried Newhaven? We don't have any records here."
I telephoned the Hospital in Newhaven three times, twice I was put through to answerphone, only after getting slightly unpleasant did I get put through to someone who was able to tell me where he was. She tried to put me through to him but we cut off instead. An hour travelling, half an hour searching the hospital, 20 minutes on the phone, such is a priests life. So frustrating!
Hey that's my wheelchair...oh no, that's an NHS one. (mine still works)
I see the way hospitals run is much the same everywhere. As a ward sister I wasted so much time in much the same way.
I have had something of a similar experience. I went to visit someone in hospital, as I had done the previous week. I asked where he was because previously he had been moved from ward to ward. I was told that he had been discharged so I went home and rang his home. He wasn't there. I rang another friend and he told me that he had been moved to a different hospital. On ringing that hospital I found that he was there. So why was I told that he was discharged? Strictly, for that hospital, he had been discharged i.e. he was no longer there, but the word "discharged" implies "gone home". Oh NO! It now means "NOT HERE". I could not be told where he actually was because of "privacy legislation".
Subsequently he was moved from that hospital too. But, once again, he had been discharged! It took me anothere two weeks and several phone calls to various people to actually fine out which hospital he was in on his third "discharge". The galling thing is that he had a phone by the side of his bed but he would'nt pick it up because he was afraid that he'd drop it. I did eventually let him know that he was also responsible for most people not knowing where he was and therefore not visiting him.
It is becoming a very uncaring world and is made more so by stupid legislation.
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