This is my second year of retirement. Last year, I “took a breath”, as my husband suggested and didn’t make any commitments. This year, I decided it was time to structure my life a bit more and spend some time volunteering. Volunteering in a school would be the most natural thing in the world. And yet, when I visited the Emergency Room this summer with a broken wrist and again a month later when I accompanied a family member, I felt called to serve. Everyone was so caring that I was drawn to explore the option of volunteering at a hospital.
Before I knew it, I was attending orientation, picking up my smock, posing for my badge and literally becoming part of a huge cadre of volunteers. It felt good to be part of something bigger than myself again and I welcomed the opportunity. Initially, I agreed to work in the Emergency Room. For two days, I trained under the guidance of experienced volunteers, but the physical component of the position was a bit too much for me. Much as I hate to admit it, I just can’t move beds and be on my feet non-stop for four straight hours. I contacted the Director of Volunteers and she graciously went through the other possible positions. I chose to work in the Outpatient Infusion Department and did my training last week.
Today was the first day on my own. I made the long trek to transport blood samples to the lab at least five times, sanitized chairs after patients left, and did various other mundane chores. By far the most gratifying part of the time was when I interacted with patients. It was a joy to serve them a coffee or cool drink. It was humbling to hear the gratitude in the voice when I brought them a heated blanket or extra pillow. It was touching to converse with them and hopefully, make the their treatment time go a little faster. I truly believe that “it is in giving that we receive”. Working at the hospital today drove home the truth of that statement.