Saturday, July 20th. Moved from One Hotel to Another – So Much Better! I Fly Home Tomorrow!

Emma and Tate got up at 4:oo a.m. to catch their flight and I woke up with them. I said goodbye to them and thanked them for letting me be their adopted “Aunt” for this semester! I will really miss them. Emma just graduated from Central College of Iowa and Tate will be a Senior there. Most of the students on the internship this summer were students from Central College of Iowa.

After they left, I dozed for a little while. Then I got up and the room had a small-very short bathtub, but a bathtub. So I took a bath. I love to take baths and we didn’t have bathtubs in our dorm and so I have been missing the ability to take a bath. So I soaked in the tub for a while. Then I had breakfast out of some fruit and protein bars I had leftover from my dorm room. I went down to see if they had an ATM machine so I could get a little more sterling pounds because I was completely out. I had wanted to run out, but I called it a little too close. I knew I had a few expenses where I’d need some cash so I thought I’d just get 40 pounds to get through.

The hotel where we were staying didn’t have an ATM so they sent me up the street to the Holiday Inn. I walked up there and the one in the Holiday Inn was broken. They sent me about a mile up a side street to a neighborhood store. When I got up there it didn’t accept the U.S. bank card that I had and so I couldn’t get cash.

I walked back and talked to the desk and found out that I could use a credit card for the taxi, which was my concern about getting cash. I went up and got my bags and went to the bell desk. They called the taxi. I had booked a room at the Holiday Inn Express which is closer to the airport over a month ago because I knew I didn’t fly out until tomorrow morning. I got the taxi over here to the Holiday Inn Express. I thought I would have to sit in the lobby and wait for my room to be ready but they were able to get me into a room right away.

044My room here is beautiful. I wish that Emma, Tate and I had booked our room here last night. It was about 10 pounds more expensive, but it would have been cheaper in the long run because I paid a lot for the taxi ride here this morning and this hotel has a free breakfast. The room is so wonderful and the staff is so accommodating. There is a convenience store across the street where I was able to get a little bit of cash and pick up a soda. I’m a happy girl!

I worked on my paper that is due before I leave the country for my class. Nothing like taking it down to the wire! I know, I know! There has just been so much to get done that my paper has gone on the back burner and I knew I’d have this weekend here in the hotel to finish my paper.

Tonight I went down to the hotel restaurant and had a wonderful dinner. I am getting so excited over the thought of seeing my husband and family tomorrow!

I came back up and got everything laid out for tomorrow. I don’t fly until noon so I will be at the airport by 10:00. I am catching the 8:30 shuttle from the hotel just to be sure I’m on time.

Friday, July 19th. Farewell Tea at Hotel Montague, Moved to Hotel near Airport

This morning I finished fixed breakfast for some of the other students with the food I still had. I had sausage, eggs, milk with onions, cheese, potatoes, fresh fruit, and so I made some browned sausage with scrambled eggs that had cheese and onions in them and then fried potatoes with onions along with fresh fruit. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. It was fun to cook for all of them. I had offered to make a dinner or something for the whole class, but no one had ever taken me up on the offer so I always just cooked for myself. I love to cook and it was fun to do it again for a group of people. We had fun eating together and visiting. Some of the other students cleaned up while I went and finished getting my things packed up so we would all be ready in time to go at 2:00 for the Farewell Tea with our whole class and the Directors at one of the area hotels.

041The tea was so lovely, I had wanted to attend a formal tea since my arrival in London. They can be quite pricey and I knew we were going to be having one as a class and so I have been looking forward to this all semester. The hotel was so quaint and served us out on an outside patio. They served two different types of tea as well as champagne. Then there were three-tiered stands. On the bottom tier were different types of finger sandwiches, cucumber, chicken, or curry. On the second tier they served scones with clotted cream and homemade jam. On the top tier were beautiful pastries, things like miniature chocolate eclairs, fruit tarts, miniature cheesecake, carrot cake, brownies, and popcorn flavored meringue lollipops on top. The display was truly spectacular. 042

The tea was also wonderful because it gave all of us students an opportunity to really visit and say goodbye to one another. Since we have been in our internships, we have all gone in separate directions and so we haven’t necessarily had the opportunity to reconnect with one another and this gave us the chance to do that before we went back to the United States. It was just a wonderful afternoon in a beautiful setting.

After the tea we went back to the dormitory and we  gathered our things together. The security staff at the front desk called a car service for us. They drove Emma, Tate and I to our hotel near the airport. We had booked a hotel since Emma and Tate had an early morning flight tomorrow. Originally they were going to just stay in the airport, but I suggested that I book a hotel room with them and we could just split the room three ways. They thought that was a great idea and so we did that.

So we got our car and got to the hotel. It was an older hotel and the room was really quite awful, but it was clean and fit our needs for the night. This photo is us making faces of horror over the hotel room! hotel room 1We had dinner in the hotel which took a while because the service was terrible.  Finally, we were able to get back to our room and go to bed.

Thursday, July 18th. Last Day of Internship, Packed Up My Dorm Room

I woke up feeling much better. It is still hot, but I had my fan on me all night and slept with my window open even with all of the noise from the street below.

Instead of taking the bus like I have been doing, I took the train because it is cooler. I arrived in time for the morning prayers and so participated in those with the other Chaplains.

After the prayers we went down to the office and had our staff meeting. Since this is my last day at the hospital, I wanted to go and see those patients whom I had built a relationship with and so I could say goodbye. I was assigned to the children’s wards, Pediatric ICU, and two of the adult wards. Ben told us at the end of the day he wanted us to all meet and so we could have a little tea to say goodbye to me.

First thing after the staff meeting I headed up to the Pediatric ICU and visited with the families there. The little girl who had the liver transplant was moved from ICU as I was there this morning. She has improved so dramatically in just the two weeks I have been at the hospital. The other babies and children are improving this morning as well. It was wonderful to leave on such a positive note, to see all of the children doing well.

I also visited with the Mom from California and told her goodbye. I said goodbye to other families I’ve gotten to know over these past two weeks. I have been so honored to be a part of these family’s lives over the past two weeks.

Then I went down and visited my elderly lady whom I had visited every day. We had a good visit and I prayed with her and then she cried when I left. I felt so badly that I made her cry. I reassured her that there are so many wonderful Chaplains at the hospital here and they will continue to visit her and pray with her.

At 1:15 we had our Holy Eucharist service and Ben asked me to lead the prayers.

After the service, I went to the children’s ward and visited the baby girl whom I had prayed for last Friday and had improved so dramatically over the weekend and was moved out of ICU on Monday. She is doing so well today.  The prognosis today is very good for her to recover completely. Her Mom today asked for a way to be able to send me a photo of her when she is home and recovered. I would love that so much.  I told her the Chaplains have my email address.

Then I visited another adult ward and made visits.

At 4:00 I went back to the office and all of the Chaplains were gathered. chaplainsHere is a photo of some of the full-time Chaplains. There are also many part-time Chaplains who serve here at King’s.   We had a tea together and they presented me with a book of all of the Chapels of the Hospitals in London. It was so kind of them to give me a tea and  I was so surprised with the book. The title of the book is “Sacred Spaces” by Joan Crossley. sacred spaces All of the hospitals in which I have served are in the book so it will be a wonderful keepsake.

I had already gotten two books from the chaplains here at King’s. Ben Rhodes, the Chief Chaplain wrote a chapter in the book, Inside Grief which is edited by Stephen Oliver.inside grief  The foreword is written by Rowan Williams who was the previous Archbishop of Canterbury. The book is meant to be a deep and serious guide for all who are involved personally or professionally with bereavement.

The second book was by one of the Roman Catholic Chaplains who is from Nigeria. The book is: All Alone by Adolphus Ezeakor. all aloneHe is not only a Chaplain. He is also a philosopher, theologian and psychotherapist. His book analyzes the psychosocial conditions of Nigerian widows and childless women on inheritance and property relations, and highlights incidence of major trauma events, such as violence, abuse and neglect that affect millions of the female population every year.

It was hard to walk out of the hospital today for the last time. I have so enjoyed my time here at King’s College Hospital. It has been such an honor to be part of the Chaplaincy Department for these two weeks. I can truly say it has changed my life.kings

I walked up to the train station and took the train home to my dormitory. When I got home I finished getting everything packed and sorted.  There is a box in the lobby of the dormitory that we can donate things that we are not going to take with us back to the United States so they can sell the items and use the money for Cancer research.  We can also put other items in the kitchen in a marked cabinet and leave them for the next class coming into the Central College in a couple of weeks. I had some eggs, sausage, potatoes, onions, cheese, and fruit left over and so I invited a few students to join me for breakfast on Friday morning.

Wednesday, July 17th. Attended Funeral, Went to Hospital, Came Home Early

This morning I walked to St. Pancreas train station, which is about six blocks from my dormitory, and caught the train and met Louise at the Nunhead Station where we met Ben. nunheadA short drive from the station was the cemetery and the chapel where the funeral service was held for the gentleman. It is customary in Britain that if someone dies in the hospital and his or her family cannot afford a funeral; the hospital will provide a funeral and burial or cremation. In the case of this particular family they could not even afford to attend the service and so just a couple of his good friends were in attendance.

nunhead cemetary chapel

The company who has the contract with King’s College Hospital to perform the funerals and burials or cremations is a family owned company and they do a wonderful job. They are very respectful. They provide the pallbearers and in Britain the casket is carried on the shoulder of the pallbearers, not by the handles of the casket. The casket can get quite heavy when the person who is being mourned is a larger person.

morning suitThe pallbearers were dressed in full morning suits with tails and top hats. Ben told me that when he has attended a more elaborate funeral, the pallbearers will even carry gold-tipped umbrellas. The company also drives a vintage Jaguar hearse and Ben said they also have a beautiful vintage Rolls Royce one.

Another interesting item was that at the front of the church there was a large wooden raised cross that was outlined in a square on the floor. When the funeral began, the area rose and created an arch over a platform for the casket to be placed during the service. Then, when it is time for the Committal the platform is lowered back into the floor with the casket inside. It was quite interesting. I’d never seen such a mechanism like it before.

This was yet another opportunity for me to learn something about the British culture. I appreciated Ben inviting me to the service. I also appreciated the opportunity to be there to mourn the gentleman when so few were able to be in attendance.

After the service, Louise, Ben and I all stopped over to Ben’s home, which wasn’t too far from the cemetery. We had a cup of tea in his garden before we all walked up to the train station and caught the train back to the hospital. The weather here has turned quite hot.  It is now over 90 degrees Fahrenheit and has been for almost two weeks. We found a slight breeze in the garden which felt so good because the mortuary chapel had gotten quite warm during the service.

We rode the train back to the hospital and went to the office and met to decide what areas we would visit for today. I went up and made a couple of visits on the adult wards. I felt so badly for the patients because London is not prepared for this level of extended hot weather and so they only have air conditioning on a few of the wards. Primarily on ICU wards and places like that.

As I came back to the office for lunch I noticed that I was feeling nauseated and extremely lethargic and I had a slight headache. I realized that I was probably feeling the effects of the heat. My dormitory room has a window that has a restricter on it so it only opens about 6 inches and I have a six-inch fan beyond that for air flow so I think that I have just gone too long without cooling down. I went from my hot room, to the hot train, to the funeral, to the hospital and I am just overheated. I talked to Ben because I didn’t feel like I would be very good at making visits today the way I was feeling and he agreed that I should come on home. I took the train home and kept falling asleep. When I finally got to my dorm room, I went to bed and slept until about 10 p.m. and then I woke up for about an hour, ate a little bit. Then I went back to sleep again.

 

 

Tuesday, July 16th. Worked at King’s College Hospital, Met with College Directors, Had Class Picnic

Today I began with the morning prayers when I arrived at King’s. Then I joined the rest of the Chaplains down in the Chaplain’s office for the staff meeting. Ben let me know that he had made arrangements for me to tour the Marjorie Warren Sensory Ward this afternoon with one of the nurses who work on the ward. This ward specializes in dementia and has adapted the environment to be much more of a friendly environment for people with dementia.

Ben let me know I needed to start saying good-bye to the people I have been seeing regularly. I need to let them know that Thursday will be my last day because I fly back to America on Sunday.

I went to visit the older lady I’d been visiting who liked the way I prayed with her. When I let her know that it was time for me to fly home and go back to be with my husband and my family, she started to cry. I reassured her that there were wonderful Chaplains at the hospital who would continue to visit her and care for her. She said she appreciated that, but that she could tell I really liked my job because I would come and really visit with her instead of just asking how she was doing and moving on. I thanked her, and then I told her that other Chaplains really liked their job too and that they would visit with her also. I reminded her that I’d be back to see her tomorrow and Thursday. She seemed to feel better when I said that and so I left her for today.

There’s a baby who received a transplant from her Daddy. She continues to improve every day. It’s so inspirational to witness.

There is another baby whose Mom is from California and her Daddy is from Britain. The Mommy’s parents are from Minnesota. What is interesting about that is that I was born and raised in Minnesota and moved to California when I was 21 and that is where I met and married my husband. This Mom and I had such an easy time getting to know each other with so much in common.

There is a 7-year-old boy who is such an inspiration to all of us in the Chaplaincy department. He loves to talk about Jesus and always wants a Bible when we come to visit.

There are so many amazing children in the ICU. Each one is such a gift from God and a special gift to all of us who are lucky enough to come in contact with them.

I went to the office and had lunch.

 

Then I went on my tour of the Marjorie Warren Sensory Ward. I was guided around the ward by a nurse who was a friend of the person who helped to set up the special items on the ward.

 

We began back at the lift (elevator), she pointed out the flooring. The flooring is a non-slip wood effect floor so that it is not shiny or patterned. People with dementia can mistake shiny surfaces for water and be afraid to walk on them.

016Next, she took me to a window with a beautiful view of the city skyline. The hospital is on a hill and so the window has a great view of much of the best of the city sites. There are benches by the window so people can sit and enjoy the view.

 

 

 

 

 

032There are friezes all around the ward by Martin Jones. He used the beautiful London skyline to create panoramic views that people with dementia can relate to and talk about.

 

 

 

 

 

urban jungleAnother item of artwork is an Urban Jungle mural created by the Dulwich Picture Gallery with the help of patients, caregivers, visitors, and staff of King’s. This artwork helps to welcome you to the ward.

 

 

 

 

The nurse’s station has been made less cluttered and more homely(U.K.),(homey)(U.S.). Patients who are confused and agitated are at high risk of falls so they need to sit close to the nurse’s station and so comfortable seating has been set up. They also feel more comfortable being near other people. There is also aromatherapy in use. They use lavender which can help people with dementia to feel less agitated. 023Also near the nurse’s station is a day/night clock and individual holders which hold personal information and mementos. These items help people with dementia to orient themselves since they often are confused about the time, where they are and even who they are. Another item that is quite simple, yet I thought was so thoughtful and important was that the staff put a window blind type of covering over the crash cart. 024This allows emergency access to the cart, yet allows it to look like just a part of the wall to the patients with dementia, rather than something that can be quite scary and disconcerting.

Throughout the hallways there are double-sided handrails that enable confused but mobile patients to walk around the ward safely. They also make them feel more independent.

022The bays and side rooms are color-coded. It is easy for a patient with dementia to become confused because the rooms all look so similar. This way each area has a unique identity. Patients can tell which bay they are in by the entrance artwork and the color of the walls.

 

 

There are interactive panels in the hallway which stimulate the patients at different stages of the disease, especially those with advanced dementia.

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The Rosa Davis Sensory Room is a multi-sensory day room which provides stimulating activities for patients who require it. It can also be made into a low stimulus space for those who are very confused and agitated. There are black-out blinds and lighting that changes color plus a state-of-the-art multimedia system for playing music and DVDs and projecting calming images. There are books from the past, memory boxes and comfortable seating. There are also squeeze balls which stimulate and reassure people with dementia. There is good contrast between the furniture and flooring which helps with identification and safety. Even the door to the room is made more inviting by having more glass in the door. The windows of this room look out to the Denmark Hill train station which can also spur conversations by the patients.

Lighting is a key part of the project to improve the environment for patients with dementia. Lighting can help with confusion between day and night. Good lighting can also improve the patient’s independence as they can see what they are doing more clearly.

Colors are also a key element on the ward. Certain colors are associated with specific dementia-related behavior. There is a lot of blue as it relaxing, calms aggression and can ease insomnia. Pink can also reduce aggressive behavior. Some of the bays have an orange/terracotta feature wall. This color encourages a sense of well-being, joy, and movement. It also helps people to recover. The plain, white walls are peaceful and help to balance emotions.

I was so impressed with the care taken to establish this ward. It’s just another example of the thought given to the care that the staff of King’s College Hospital offers to its patients.

When I finished the tour of Marjorie Warren Sensory Ward, I went on to visit the other children’s wards. I visited the little girl who had made such a miraculous recovery over the weekend. She continues to improve.

I went back to the office to debrief and then I left for the day. I caught the train to practice for tomorrow morning when I am meeting Louise and Ben for a funeral. Ben has told me how to get to meet Louise at the train station near the funeral and he will meet Louise and I in his car at the station and drive us to the cemetery. Here is a picture of the station next to the hospital. It is the Denmark Hill Railroad Station. denmark hill rr station

When I got back to the dorm I gathered my paperwork and then went to the college office to meet with the Directors for my exit interview for my course. We had a great meeting, they were very pleased with the work I had done on my CV (résumé) and we discussed how successful my internships turned out. I turned in my documentation and then I ran an errand and met the rest of the class at Russell Square for our class picnic to say goodbye to each other. We had a fun picnic and it was fun to reminisce a bit about our time in London and all of the adventures we had shared.

Then I went back to the dorm and began packing my suitcases.

 

Monday, July 15th. Worked at King’s College Hospital, Toured Neonatal Unit, Our 17-year-old Cat, Noel Died

I got into work a little later because of my ankle, things took a little longer all morning.

I began my day by going with Ben while he led a class on the Chaplaincy resource to a class of new nurses. He discussed what the chaplains do, who they are available to care for and how to reach them in the hospital.

Then after the training we went back for our morning staff meeting and I received my day’s assignments. After the meeting I went with one of the part-time Chaplains Louise, whom I have become friends with, to the Chemotherapy unit to take communion to a gentleman. When we went in he asked me where I was from. His brother is from Austin and works for Dell and he had been there to visit and so we had fun visiting about all of that. Then Louise led us in a communion service. The service is similar to the one I offer in the States with just slight differences, mainly in language changes. When we finished, I went and visited some of my elderly patients. Then I went back to the office to rest my foot a bit.

When I got there everyone had their lunch, so I went and grabbed a lunch to go and brought it back to the office and Ben and I worked on my updated CV (résumé) which I need to turn in tomorrow when I meet with the program directors. Ben had some great suggestions for me, so I really appreciated the time he took with it.

When the wards opened back up after their lunch hours, I went up to the Pediatric ICU. First thing this morning when I got to the hospital, I asked if the little girl whose parents I’d prayed with on Friday afternoon was still alive. Ben said not only was she still alive, she was awake and playing in her crib when he went up to give her communion yesterday! I couldn’t believe it! When I got up to the Peds ICU, I found out that she was doing so well she’d been moved out of ICU, I will visit her on the regular wards tomorrow. On my way out of the hospital this evening, I saw her parents in passing and was able to just say hello. The other babies in the ICU are all improving.

I met a new Mom today who is from California, which is where my husband and I were married and lived for several years and the Mom’s parents were from Golden Valley Minnesota which is near where I graduated from high school in Buffalo Minnesota. It was such a small world to have her not only know both locations that I came from, but to have come from them herself and have her parents come from one of them. We had an easy time getting to know each other.

After I finished in the Pediatric ICU, I visited the other adult wards to which I was assigned. Then I went back to the office and Louise took me up to meet Diane in the Neonatal unit. Diane has been working in the neonatal unit for 29 years and she gave me a tour of the unit and introduced me to some of the parents and babies who are presently on the unit. Some of the people I met have been there for months and some have just had their babies and so are new to the ward and have that “deer in the headlights” look. They don’t quite know what is ahead of them and they just want so badly for everything to be okay with their baby. Your heart really goes out to everyone on the ward. Each little tiny baby you see is such a precious gift from God and you want them all to survive and make full recoveries, but you know that is not a realistic expectation when some of the babies are born at less than a pound and at about 24 weeks of gestation, which is just over halfway through the normal time of pregnancy. Many of the babies born that early who do survive are left with lifetime side effects. There are three different levels of ICU in the neonatal unit and the babies may go back and forth between the levels, it is not a matter of straight progression. This can be quite upsetting for the parents. For this reason there are layers of support for the parents to include the other parents, the staff, the Chaplains, and other support as well.

As soon as I finished in the Neonatal unit, I went down to the office and debriefed with Ben and then I headed home.

When I got home I found a card from my parents in my mailbox. Shortly after arriving up in my room I received a text from my husband that he had to put our 17-year-old cat to sleep. I feel so badly that he had to do that alone. My heart hurts that I’m not there to be with him right now. I also feel sad that I won’t have a chance to say good-bye; she was a wonderful little furry girl.

Noel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, July 14th. Planned to go to Westminster Abbey, Did Homework

Because of my ankle I was not able to go to Westminster Abbey for one last time like I had planned. I was really disappointed about that. It was important, however, to stay off my ankle today so I could work this coming week. I love the work I’m doing at King’s College Hospital and I don’t want to miss a day of that work. The lead Chaplain, Ben has so many interesting things scheduled for me this coming week, I just don’t want to miss any of it. My committment is also to the Hospital so that has to be my priority. I have loved the time and the people I have met at the Abbey. It will always be something I carry in my heart.

I spent the day writing the homework assignments about my visits to the different areas of the city. I completed all of those assignments, then I also worked on the other papers, the essays,  that are due by the time we fly home. I’m almost done with the long paper, but have a lot of work to do on the shorter one.  I’m sorry there’s not much excitement to report for today.

Saturday, July 13th. Tour Hampstead Village, Work on Homework

I woke up this morning and worked on some computer work for a little while. Then I got ready and headed out to the Hampstead Village area of London.

When I did my tour of Hampstead Village I had to amend the assignment slightly and begin from the ending because the Northern Underground line was not running on Saturday and so I took the Overground rail line to get to Hampstead instead.

Consequently, I arrived at a lovely park area called Hampstead Heath, because it was a beautiful 90 degree F/32 degree C day, many people were out around the Village and the park enjoying the day. I headed up the street and went looking for the house of famous poet John Keats. It was a house I would have expected to find on the central coast of California. It was very much of that coastal architecture like what I’d seen so often in Santa Barbara. John Keats lived in the house from 1818 until 1820. 018020024

Then I went up the hill and climbed until I found my appetite and stopped for lunch! I found a nice pub with winged-back chairs by the open windows, it was quite lovely and the salad was great. Then I was off again to discover more of the Village.

 

I found myself taking many photos of the homes and the beautiful churches in the neighborhood. It was a thousand miles from downtown London in how the culture felt, also from how I felt just last night in the East End.

 

 

The city varies so drastically from one area to the next. Just one neighborhood from Hampstead is Camden which is very artsy and loves to be very Bohemian in feel. Hampstead feels like the upper class of “titled families.” In many cases the large homes are now divided into duplexes or apartments, but you can still see their old grandeur.038040041

Then I went across Heath Street. As I did I photographed the downtown area. 048047The streets were so quaint and seemed to once again transport me back in time.

After getting my photos, I climbed up Holly Hill to Hampstead Grove. It was here that I found the Fenton House. It is a beautiful house with a walled garden. It is part of the National Trust.052051060054056057058

Just up the street a little ways from the Fenton house is a house called the Admiral’s House. This is interesting because it was built for an Admiral, but an Admiral never lived there. There have, however, been two other noted people who have lived in the house.

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As I came down the rather steep hill and went to cross the street at a pedestrian crossing, I lost my footing as I stepped of the curb and fell, twisting my ankle and my water bottle went one way, my purse went another. Yes, I stopped traffic! Feeling embarrassed and terrible about holding up traffic, I quickly gathered my things and crossed the street. Once across I realized I likely sprained my ankle and had scraped my back on the curb as I fell. I only had one more street to go on my tour so I decided it was best to head straight back to the dorm. Unfortunately, due to the change in transportation, a bus was hard to come by. I had figured that was my best bet so that I would have limited stairs to climb and hopefully I wouldn’t have to walk so far. As it turned out, I ended up having to walk about 1/2 a mile after I fell to catch the bus I needed to the dorm. I finally got the connections I needed and got home and got my ankle up.

It will heal and I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Hampstead, it is a beautiful area of London.

I was supposed to go to dinner with the other students tonight and was not able to go because of my ankle, I was so glad to be home and off my ankle, that I was okay with staying home. Fortunately I had some food in the refrigerator, so I was able to get some dinner there at the dorm and have limited use of my ankle. I also realized I bruised my back on the curb when I fell. It will all heal, just frustrated that my wonderful day ended so badly!

Friday, July 12th. Worked at King’s College Hospital, Toured East End

For morning prayers this morning, Ben asked me to do some of the readings. After our staff meeting many of us went up and heard the CEO of the hospital give a presentation on plans to acquire some of the smaller hospitals in the area who are failing. This will allow the smaller hospitals to become satellite hospitals of King’s and the problem that King’s has been having is that especially during the winter months, surgeries have had to be cancelled due to lack of available beds. With the acquisition of the new hospitals, those centers would be for the less urgent medical care and leave King’s for those with the most severe medical needs. King’s is a 900 bed hospital known for trauma and liver transplants. UCH is known as a cardiac and cancer center, although KCH also does a lot of cancer care and research. KCH also has a building specializing in neurology, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.

After the meeting, I met with a women named Rachel who is friends of Jen who is the assistant Director of Central College of Iowa, the College I am here in London attending. Rachel works hard to acquire and use patient’s feedback here at King’s College Hospital. It was really interesting to hear how they have improved the utilization of their patient feedback over the past few years and how they are really listening to the patients. The CEO whom I had heard at the meeting that morning meets with Rachel regularly and cares about what the patients have to say. This is evident when you go through the hospital and see the staff interact with the patients. The care they show is so loving. I loved meeting Rachel and hearing how patient focused the hospital is.

After meeting with Rachel I went back to the office for a little while and then I went to lunch with a part-time Chaplain, Sheila. She has a daughter who lives in the San Francisco bay area. Since I used to live in that area, we made quick conversation. Her daughter had just been back to England for a visit with her husband and children. Sheila and I had a nice lunch and enjoyed getting to know each other.

After lunch I made visits on the Pediatric ICU ward by myself for the first time. One little girl isn’t doing well, her parents are quite young and are so scared. I prayed with them and they cried. I reminded them that there would be a chaplain available for them all weekend 24/7 and that I’d be back to see them on Monday morning. I assured them that I would continue to pray for all of them through the weekend.

I visit with a Muslim mom everyday who has a baby in the Pediatric ICU. She is fasting for Ramadan. I admire her strength.

In the PICU there are so many new babies, I spoke to the Matron (head nurse) I requested the names of the babies. When I meet the parents and pray for the babies, it is so helpful if I know the baby’s name.

Then I went on to make my visits of the adult wards. One elderly woman shared with me that she had lost her husband and her sister within just two months of each other. Her daughters are very attentive and are helping her get through this difficult time.

I went to see another lady, as I was entering the room I heard the medical personnel in the room repeating themselves to help her hear them and so I got the impression that she had a hearing loss. I went over and introduced myself as being from the Chaplain’s office and gave my name. I got no response and so I repeated myself a bit louder. In response I got, “so you said.” Suddenly I found the English curtness I’d always heard of! Up to now I’d not come across it during my entire time in London! So I just continued to try to make conversation with her. After a short while I realized I was not going to get anything back and I couldn’t tell if she wanted me there and so I excused myself and wished her a pleasant day.

After making the rest of my visits I went back to the office and debriefed and then I went to the Chapel. I needed to pray and just leave everyone whom I had visited in God’s hands before I left for the weekend. Now I know they are in God’s hands anyway, I don’t pretend to have any control over anything, I just care about the people I visit, and I was feeling so much, that I needed to stop and kneel and pray before I left for the weekend and physically and mentally turn it all over to God and release it all.  

Then I caught a bus down the street to East Street and found a new pair of black flat shoes because I have literally worn out a pair of shoes since I have been here in two and a half months. In London I am doing so much walking, I am wearing out my shoes much faster than I ever do in the States! I’m glad there are stores here that have inexpensive shoes! Once I had my shoes, I was off for my tour of the East End of London. This was one of our assignments for our British Culture classes.

As I left the Liverpool tube station area, I walked up Bishopsgate, and I noticed one of the buildings had a notation of a person on it. 001When I got home I researched and discovered that Robert Peel was Prime Minister from 1834 to 35 and again from 1841 to 1846.

I made my way further down Bishopsgate and turned onto Folgate Street. It was as if I’d turned the clock back at least 100 years, except for the present day vehicles on the road. 010These houses were settled by silk weavers in Georgian times.There is a beautifully restored home, called the Dennis Severs’ House. It was bought and restored to how it may have looked when it would have been occupied in the 18th century by an American. You can tour it and the game is that you interrupt a family of Huguenot silk weavers named Jervis who, though they can still sometimes be heard, seem always to be just out of sight. Unfortunately, the house was not open when I went for my tour. This area is how I envision “England of Old” when I read a book about times in the 1700s or 1800s. I also recently studied about the Huguenots in my religion classes last semester and so this area was especially interesting to me for that reason.006008

As I made my way up the street between Folgate Street and the Spitalfields Market, I came across a Pub, I had to take a photo because this is not unusual for a Friday night at a British Pub. I wanted you to get an idea of just how important the neighborhood Pub is to the British culture.014 

Spitalfields Market is one of the oldest and largest markets in the city. I was doing my walk of the East end after work on a Friday night and so the market was just shutting down, oh darn! My husband will be happy, I’m sure it saved a penny or two, I can always find something I can’t live without! It was still interesting to go into the market and just see the building. 020021There were different annotations throughout the market on the building showing the age of market and some of the original businesses.

As I left the Market, I walked out and saw the beautiful Baroque style Christ Church, Spitalfields. The church is considered to be one of the most beautiful important English-Baroque structures in the country.024Next to the Church I turned onto Fournier Street,from there I felt a little like I turned into yet another world. This street took me into a neighborhood that is heavily Bengali. At the corner of Fournier and Brick Lane is another Church, this one is quite interesting because it was built by the Huguenots in 1743 as the New French Church, then in 1899 it became the Great Synagogue and in 1975 it became what it is today, the Great Mosque for the Bengali Community. I happened to be here during Ramadan and witnessed a number of men arriving at the Mosque for evening Prayers. 030It is very interesting in this neighborhood because all of the street signs are written in both English and in Bengali. 035As I walked along I was constantly invited into different restaurants for Curry. There are also many markets available to purchase curry and other items spices

There is an old brewery in this area known as Old Truman’s Brewery. In the mid 18th Century it was the biggest brewery in London, now it is a modern cafe-bar and arts centre. 034Much of it has been divided into shops and restaurants. At one end of it was a row of little travel trailers selling food much like there is in San Marcos TX by the campus. It was rather interesting to see similar food sales centers so far apart in such a unique manner.

The final location on my tour was the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. This foundry has been on this site since 1738 and at a nearby site since 1570. The clock bell of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, PA were all cast here. It made me wonder how many of the church bells I have loved have been cast in this foundry. 041042

In 1888, a serial killer who became known as Jack the Ripper made this area famous when he killed five prostitutes. His identity still remains a mystery.
This was an extremely interesting part of London. I’m really glad that the Directors assigned it to us so we wouldn’t over look it. There are so many areas that it is easy to miss specific little neighborhoods like this one. Again, I’m really grateful to have been introduced to this area and its people.

Thursday, July 11th. King’s College Hospital, Abbey Road, Skyped with Sorority

Today after morning prayers and our staff meeting, I was assigned my own wards to visit. I had another part-time Chaplain with me to visit the Pediatric ICU. I took her around and introduced her to the different families. As I introduce her to the different families, I am remembered and the families chat easily with me. It feels good to have a rapport with the families already.  Whether you offer prayer with a family or we simply go through and visit with the parents and/or the babies or children, you feel a connection with each of the families.

There are such wonderful success stories, even with the visit from yesterday to today, I hear of improvements in the children and it is so exciting.

As we made the visits, we passed the bay where the baby had died yesterday. In some ways it was good to see that life goes on, but to know the pain the family is still in, it is still hard to see. I simply said another prayer.

Fortunately the success stories do help to balance out the times when you have those losses. You don’t forget that child or their family, you never will, you simply have to keep them in your prayers and keep taking care of the families who are still in the hospital.

After we finished in Pediatrics, we went down and had lunch together and got to know each other a little better. She works at another hospital most of the time and just works at King’s on a part-time basis. After lunch we went and got ready for the weekly Holy Eucharist service at 1:15. Ben had asked me to do a reading for the service.

After the service I went up and made visits on one of the adult wards. Towards the end of the ward I visited an elderly lady who is so sweet. Her sister had been there when I arrived and  we talked about what a gift sisters are in our lives. She shared her concerns about her failing health. I asked if she would like me to pray with her and she said she would. I prayed and when I finished I looked up and she was crying, I asked, “Why are you crying?” and she said, “No one had ever spoken to me in such a loving manner before.” I just gave her a hug and sat with her until I was sure she was feeling better and told her I would come back and see her again tomorrow. She said she would like that very much.

After making all of my visits, I went down to the office and did my debriefing with Ben. Then I went outside and caught the bus on back to the dorm. I had set up with some of the other students to go to Abbey Road and take photos of ourselves doing the iconic walk across the street as the Beatles had so many years ago.011 At 7:00 we all met in the lobby and caught the underground and found our way to the famous cross walk. We all agreed that we would hate to live in the area and have to put up with people in that cross walk all of the time! We got our photos and we were off again.

The rest of the group went off to Kensington Park and Palace, I went back to the dorm since I had already been on the tour of the Palace and also because I had set up to Skype with my Sorority Chapter back in Texas during their monthly meeting tonight. I got home and got my computer all set up. I did some emailing and some homework and then I received the call from Patti, one of my sorority sisters. She was hostessing the meeting and Lauren had come over early to talk to me before the meeting. It was so wonderful to talk with them again, I’m really missing everyone so much. I was able to greet each of the women as they came into the meeting, it was so much fun. They  welcomed a high school graduate and her mother to whom we awarded a college scholarship. They took photos and invited them to stay for dinner. Before the meal I joined everyone in saying our “Opening Ritual”, it made me cry as I recited it, just to be a part of that circle of friends again felt so good. With that, I  said good night to my friends, it is after 2:00 a.m. London time and I need to work tomorrow.

This photo is of the sorority helping to serve at one of the sister’s daughters wedding. We support each other however we can, whenever we can!sorority