by Sarah Luna

I’ve begun my rotation in the hospital working as an exercise physiologist for inpatient cardiac rehab. If it were possible to sum up my experiences there in a word, it would be compassion. I have seen patients in pain. And then I’ve had to get them up and walking. I’ve had to unhook them and physically move them when they have no strength. I touched a blind man with AIDS whose skin looked like crepe paper and was covered in sores. I’ve seen patients only a few years older than me with bodies ravaged by drugs and smoke. Each time I see a patient, I must be encouraging and uplifting even if what I see makes me want to cry.

But there is strength, too. Yesterday, an 18 month old boy visiting his grandmother ran up to me and hugged my legs. I still have the cream of wheat he was eating on my pants. He held her hand as she slowly walked the corridor. A man who had just gotten out of open heart surgery this morning found the strength and courage to walk 280 feet. A spunky old woman about five feet tall told the doctor that he wouldn’t put her in a nursing home and proceeded to do a little jig in her room. I want to be just like her.

The vision of St Joseph’s Hospital is: Extending the healing ministry of Jesus, the St. Joseph Health System reflects God’s love and compassion by providing excellent health care. I feel privileged to work at such a place. My first day, I noticed that the prayer of Saint Francis appeared on each computer screen.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


This is my prayer for my time here at the hospital.