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I've been somewhat amused by the recent trend in which online outlets like Slate and Salon publish long-winded essays that accuse atheists like myself of being unfair to believers by not recognizing the legitimacy of religious belief, or accusing believers of being stupid, or something. I say "amused" because I used to be a believer, have many loved ones who claim to believe, and have never called anyone stupid for that reason. I guess it's a good thing that they feel a need to defend themselves. In doing so maybe these folks will set aside some time to think about what they believe and why. But I'm afraid that I may have hurt someone's feelings in a recent encounter, and in his retelling I will no doubt come off as a big meany atheist. Sorry, but I had my reasons as described below the croissant.

I went in for surgery Monday morning. Pretty major: six hours of general anesthesia, two incisions, hardware installed, and a possible four-month recovery time, although there is hope it will be much less. I had an IV dilaudid drip for the first two days, and even with that and regular hydrocodone doses I was in pain most of the time. My lovely wife was with me in the hospital almost the entire time and it was not easy for her to balance work with taking care of me, but she did it.

I was able to get up and walk a little on Tuesday with PT guy following me with my IV and my urinary catheter suspended on a rolling cart. When PT guy came back later, I walked again, a little more easily. Everyone remarked on how well I was doing. My whiteboard had "Wednesday" as my discharge day, but I knew that that was a little optimistic considering how much pain I still had. Also, I had not farted, and that was the trigger for giving me solid food, which in turn was the trigger for my release. No going home until I prove I can eat. Fair enough.

Wednesday morning came and my day began with both my IV pain meds and urinary catheter being removed. I missed them both, the first for obvious reasons and the second because it was so nice not to worry about that particular function, it was going to be difficult to get up. But since both removals were due to my progress in recovery, I couldn't really complain. I went for two little walks and showed that I could climb stairs, another condition of my release since I have stairs outside both entrances to my home. After dinner, my third meal of clear liquids for the day, I let out a little fart that was just the best ever. I immediately called my nurse with the good news. Solid food for breakfast, and then maybe go home, but only after clearance from my surgeon.

Thursday brought an airplane-quality omelet with sausage that I really savored. I went for another walk, the best yet. The internist came in and said that despite a slight fever and elevated BP, he saw no reason to keep me. So it was all up to the surgeon, whom I was told usually did his hospital rounds before lunch. By that time I was really hoping not to spend another night in that room. My wife needed to get back home and it seemed that there wasn't anything I was doing that I couldn't do just as well if not better in my own house. And even though we have very good insurance, I knew that each additional day would add thousands of dollars to our bill. I expected my surgeon to knock on my door at any time.

The next knock was my nurse with my meds. Asked if she had seen my surgeon, she said no but she would do everything she could to get him there, as she agreed that it was time for me to leave.

The next knock was lunch. Turkey and gravy with mashed potatoes. After lunch ,I asked my nurse again about my surgeon. She promised to page him. Saw her again about 3pm, she said he was "tied up in clinic" but was doing his best to get there. I told her that I would be extremely disappointed if I had to spend another night just because he was too busy to see me. She agreed that that would suck and promised to keep trying.

PT lady knocks at around 4pm, sad it was her but went for another good little stroll. Another knock around 5pm, another disappointment because it wasn't my surgeon but my nurse's assistant to check my vitals for the billionth time. By then I was getting quite agitated and told her so. "Where is Dr. Surgeon? Can you please find him? I want to go home!"

The next knock precipitated this diary. I saw a male face at the door, and had a momentary flash of hope: some other doctor had been deputized to discharge me! Yay! No. "Hi, I'm whoever, and I'm the chaplain here at Ridiculously Profitable Non-Profit Hospital." CHAPLAIN??? WHAT THE BLEEDING FUCK?! Not only had I not asked for a chaplain, I had very clearly stated in one of the many pre-admission interviews that I am an atheist. I managed to limit my initial response to just that: "I am an atheist". He responded, "Oh, that's OK, we're here to talk with anyone who needs blahblahblahblah" I cut him off. "I'm happy with the attention I'm getting from the nurses, I'm hoping to go home soon, and I don't really have anything to talk to you about." "OK, I'll put that on your chart." Shook his hand to thank him, I said for coming but really for leaving.

I don't know if the nurse's assistant called for him in an attempt to calm me down, but I was outraged that declaring my atheism was not enough to prevent this visit. There were many times during my stay that it appeared that the hospital was understaffed, particularly when they had an older, out of shape nurse attempt to move me in my bed by herself in the middle of my first night, when my body was its most fragile and my pain the greatest (I weigh 180 pounds). If the chaplain could have helped with that, I would have loved him. Instead, precious resources were wasted on sending me spiritual guidance that I neither requested nor wanted. And I don't care if it's the smallest line item on what will surely be an obscenely large bill: if I see one nickel going to "religious services" or whatever they call it, I will get it removed. If anyone has read this far, thanks!

9:34 PM PT: Thanks so much for the comments! Nothing I have probably never had such a large and interesting audience for my writing. One thing: many of the nicer pro-chaplain folks have said I should have welcomed the company, and I have replied to those. To give a little more background, I am not a real chatty person with strangers, nor is my wife. I do have friends, and they offered to visit but I declined those offers. I was grumpy, in pain, and just wanted to get better and get out.

Originally posted to Sam Berdoux on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 05:21 PM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets and Progressive Atheists.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's my nap time now (20+ / 0-)

    But I'll be back later to answer questions

    Where was Jeff Gannon on Pretzel Day?

    by Sam Berdoux on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 05:23:07 PM PST

  •  When you admit what you know deep down is true. (18+ / 0-)

    And then have the courage to follow the evidence, you become an Atheist. And when you truly become an Atheist, you must then conclude religion is a hoax. If it isn't real we are spreading a hoax. It must be stopped.

    No more of this bullshit about "you must respect my fairy tale." They are getting away with child abuse, imv. If only I could have had all those hours upon hours of brainwashing. I could have played outdoors, learned science, read books, had fun.

    Atheists are angry, and they should be.

    What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance. SAM HARRIS

    by Cpqemp on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 05:47:30 PM PST

    •  Fuck that eliminationist noise. (6+ / 0-)

      And fuck the condescending “you all know it deep down.” Did you ever consider that what you know deep down may not be what everyone else knows deep down?

      Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
      Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
      Code Monkey like you!

      Formerly known as Jyrinx.

      by Code Monkey on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 06:50:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Scientific Materialism is not the only atheism n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw, GermanGuy

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:22:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps, but I would rather focus (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis

        on the commenter's personal struggle, what they feel like they personally missed out on as a result of their religious upbringing.

        "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

        by pierre9045 on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:38:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  As an atheist who does not hold to Scientific (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chuckvw, bluehammer, Smoh

          Materialism I find that many people agree with you and want to hear from people who have left the church but people like me who have always been atheist are silenced and ignored because we aren't bombastic and angry enough about religion. "Atheists" ignore us because they have found a new truth based on evidence and scientific truth and the religious ignore us because we are atheists.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:08:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  One thing you needed to know, (20+ / 0-)

    that everyone should know. A hospital is not a prison. You can go home any time you want to. I don't know if they can even call it "AMA" (against medical advice) if they are unable to provide a doctor to advise you. But if they do, so what?

    If you, personally, didn't feel comfortable going home without talking to the surgeon, fine, wait as long as you want. But realize that it is your choice, and don't blame anyone for not having the time to reassure you. They already told you that if you can fart and climb stairs you are good to go.

    As for the main point, the unwanted Chaplain, yeah, they should have protocols in place to prevent him from troubling atheists. But I've never seen a charge for such services. Anyway, it sounds like you were fairly polite, so there is no reason for anyone to be bothered by your not wanting to see someone.

    •  In a lot of Catholic run hospitals... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, pierre9045, quill

      If your listed as a non-believer your on the second to call list from the chaplain.  It doesn't matter what your paperwork says about Atheist, your on the call list.

      First on the call list - Pagan, Hindi & Muslim.

      "Death is the winner in any war." - Nightwish/Imaginareum/Song of myself.

      by doingbusinessas on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:03:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  a hospital all too often can be a prison (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, AoT, Sam Berdoux, kyril, Smoh

      when you find yourself sick, incapacitated, and at the mercy of other people's care; you realize that...

      You cannot go home anytime you want--- your ability to decide is relegated to your physician and you are often confronted by well meaning people that attempt to get you to accept beliefs and practices that you do not approve of---

      Is this your point?: " Sorry we had our chaplain come in and harass you in your time of suffering" But hey, at least we didn't charge you money for it!

      I don't get it!

      Truth is ever changing while dogma remains trapped in certainty.

      by tharu1 on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:18:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks. I thought that was true (10+ / 0-)

      After about five hours, I told my wife, "Baby, if he doesn't show up by 8pm, we're busting out of here!" My only hesitation was that the insurance co might use that as an excuse not to pay. Fortunately, Dr. Surgeon called shortly after the chaplain visit and gave a verbal OK. Why couldn't he have done that before lunch? My condition had not changed.

      Where was Jeff Gannon on Pretzel Day?

      by Sam Berdoux on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:27:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, most of the time... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, ypochris, tharu1, kyril, blueoasis

      In some cases, you can be held against your will, or hunted down by the cops for leaving AMA (or taking your child AMA).

      If the hospital claims you are a danger to yourself, or a danger to others, or a child's life is in imminent danger, you can't go home anytime you want to.

      It's something to remember, particularly before you choose which hospital to visit.   Never choose one which you feel might not respect your circumstances, as hospitals do have personalities, and some are homophobic, pro-life, etc.  You could end up stuck there longer than you think.  They are very skilled at explaining how they cannot release you, as you are just not medically stable enough, and coming up with excuses why it's just not safe to transfer you to a different hospital as you have requested...   And, it's a trend for many hospitals to simply ignore things like medical powers of attorney, or DNR's, or even inconvenient death (such as the pregnant woman forcibly kept on life support against her family's wishes), if it's more convenient for them to get their way by ignoring your legally stated wishes.  

      And, it's even worse in some countries.   Just consider what is happening to poor Karina Hansen, in Denmark.    (if you have a moment, please consider signing the petition).   She has an illness somewhat similar to what my own child has, and reading her story has given me nightmares of imagining my own child in those circumstances.  It reads like a horror story.    They should make a movie and pay her the proceeds to hire a really good lawyer.  

    •  because many insurances wont pay if you do (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis

      you can leave but often leaving AMA has large financial consequences.

    •  And one time my dad's surgeon after talking to (0+ / 0-)

      the nurse by phone and asking her some questions, told her to go ahead and discharge my dad and he would either sign the papers later on that evening or the next morning or have any other physicial sign the form.  So she all ready had the signature of the oncologist so the surgeon signed hours after my dad was all ready gone.

      Sometimes if surgeons cannot get in or certain doctors cannot get into the hospital for whatever reason, they will call in or fax in their signature and approval for discharge.

      Some doctors are faxing and emailing these days , I get emails from my doctor..and they sometimes fax in approval for discharge, meds, instructions..or email them in.

      Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at http://keystoneliberalsforum.aimoo.com/

      by wishingwell on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 09:16:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hope the doctor comes and discharges you (8+ / 0-)

    Otherwise it's going to be the chaplain again, I bet you ;-)

    Shall we go? Yes, let's go.

    by whenwego on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 05:50:11 PM PST

  •  I think your view may be a little narrow (22+ / 0-)

    While there are doubtless many chaplains who view their purpose as offering "spiritual guidance" there are also many who just see their job as lending a sympathetic ear, or providing a little company to the lonely and/or frightened.  I've spent plenty of hours in hospitals with my kids and never once had anyone come to push religion at me.  We did get a couple of very thoughtful visits, though.  On at least one occasion, the chaplain went back and arranged for families from his congregation to offer us homebound hot meals.  When my hands were more than full, that was, you should pardon the expression, a real g*dsend.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 05:58:23 PM PST

    •  Chaplains in hospitals. . . (19+ / 0-)

      ....are there mostly to lend a friendly ear, in my experience (your mileage may vary -- this was in Everett, Washington).

      When my mom was in the Critical Care Unit, a couple of days before they released her to hospice care, a chaplain popped in to see how Mom was doing. Her reaction when seeing the chaplain:

      Holy shit, you're a woman!
      To which the chaplain replied,

      Hot damn! How do you like them beans?!

      Mom thought it was just grand. Apparently, the nurses had filled the chaplain in on Mom's personality, and the chaplain played exactly the right supportive role.

      A friendly ear can come clothed in a lot of different ways. Rejecting it merely because 'chaplain' is associated with it risks denying oneself (or a loved one) a bit of comfort that could go a long way. This perspective comes from an atheist.

      •  this (17+ / 0-)

        sometimes it is lonely to be in the hospital and people want conversation.

        you can talk to a "chaplain" about anything.  the weather.  the news.  how much it sucks to be in the hospital and how much you want to go home.  it does not have to be a religious discussion.

        otoh I don;t think you were a bully in asking the chaplain to leave.  that is your right.

        signed, TBM, former hospital chaplain, who had countless non-religious conversations with lonely atheists in hospital beds

        Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
        DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
        Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:15:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, doesn't that bring up the question (6+ / 0-)

          Why does it have to be a religious chaplain providing those secular services at all? Why not just have any person trained in similar skills in the on-call role, and just call for specific religious ministers when their services are specifically requested?

          "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

          by pierre9045 on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:30:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You should ask the hospital (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            susans

            Happy just to be alive

            by exlrrp on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:45:18 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I don't know (5+ / 0-)

            but it makes more sense to me to have a staff of chaplains who are capable of having non-religious conversations, than to have a staff of chaplains and a separate staff of secular people who are told specifically to never have religious conversations.

            Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
            DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
            Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

            by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:47:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Who said secular people can't talk about religion? (5+ / 0-)

              Most atheists don't have an objection to discussing religion, such as in a class where that may be an appropriate subject, but feel differently when there is an inherent pressure to proselytize, which is the case with many chaplains, I won't say all and I'm sure many are well-meaning.

              "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

              by pierre9045 on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:51:43 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Why do those roles have to be chaplains? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sophie Amrain, Old Sailor, quill

              Couldn't you have people who are primarily trained a grief counselors and other sorts of non-denominational stuff and then have other people who deal with the specific religious stuff? The problem isn't having religious conversations. I could care less if my surgeon has a religious conversations about the nature of the god head with some of her patients. What I care about is people who are explicitly religious being sent to people who are explicitly not religious. Why should religion be the default in this situation?

              And follow up question, are there non-religious versions of chaplains at any hospitals? I honestly am not clear on this so if you know that would be great.

              If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

              by AoT on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:58:08 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  i am not aware of (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT, Smoh, wishingwell

                "non religious versions of chaplains".  That's a matter of vocabulary--they would have to be called something other than chaplains, I suppose.

                as for why religion is the default, this may just be a matter of numbers.  religion is just the default because the vast majority of people do not object to it.

                are you suggesting, as I thought pierre 9045 was, that there should be explicitly non-religious visitors available on staff?  maybe this is something that hospitals should look into.  just as with translators, it might be a good idea to have such people on call.  If only one patient in the hospital speaks Urdu, they don;t need an Urdu translator on staff, but they might be able to call one in.  Similarly, if a certain percentage of atheist patients want to make sure to talk to only secular hospital visitors, they could call someone in. but in my many years of experience, the intense reaction described by the diarist is very infrequent.  most people just say "not interested" and that's the end of it.

                I'm not sure what the training would consist of that would be any different than the regular chaplaincy training, which is about listening, grief counseling, reassurance, and just being present.

                secular visitors are only necessary if people are 100% opposed to having a secular conversation with a chaplain.  I admit I'm biased--I don't see why the chaplains can't do both kinds of conversations.

                Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
                DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
                Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

                by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:13:05 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  For some context (4+ / 0-)

                  I'm an atheist, and I also know a lot of people who have done chaplaincies in hospitals, mostly Unitarians. I think that a lot of atheists would like a non-religious version of a chaplain because there wouldn't be the worry of having them attempt to convert you, etc. The chaplains that I knew wouldn't have tried to do that, but they weren't all chaplains. You sound like you would never do that either. But the worry is still there, and not something you want to deal with when you're in the hospital.

                  I know they have grief counselors, which is one of the roles of a chaplain, that are not religious, so I don't see why a hospital couldn't have non-religious people filling most of those roles and then have chaplains when people request religious specific stuff.

                  If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                  by AoT on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:19:45 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Ever since I have undergone several (6) (5+ / 0-)

                  surgeries for a couple of rounds of breast cancer, I have wanted to work in a hospital in exactly this role (secular counselor/therapist). There was zero interest in the local hospitals. In fact one told me I would have to pay to volunteer my services. (Insurance - their umbrella policy wouldn't cover, my malpractice insurance wasn't adequate for them, I'd have to get a separate policy aimed directly at hospital service.)

                  Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

                  by Smoh on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 05:11:15 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Hospice workers (5+ / 0-)

                are very good at talking about death and dying without dragging religion into it. Many are also trained grief counselors.
                When my dad was dying, my stepmom talked to the loca hospice people and they called everyone in the immediate family to ask if they had questions, or wanted to talk. My stepmom was having a hard time dealing with the fact my dad was dying and the hospice people were all very helpful and supportive. I was 2000 miles away and not able to get home, so I certainly appreciated them.

                Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

                by skohayes on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 04:48:41 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Catholic hospital (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TrueBlueMajority

                I think there was a diary awhile back about how, in many states, the only choice people have is a hospital run by a religious organization. It's true here in Portland, Ore. for the most part; if you have an emergency, you're most likely going to Providence or Adventist. Unfortunately.

                •  but even when i worked at a Catholic hospital (0+ / 0-)

                  chaplains were not there to convert people

                  they were just bringing company and conversation to people who were bored and lonely in the hospital, or frightened and just wanted someone to be with them.

                  Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
                  DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
                  Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

                  by TrueBlueMajority on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 06:41:21 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  In my small college town, chaplains often are not (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                marykk, TrueBlueMajority

                paid but volunteer. The chaplain duties are split among dozens of local clergy who volunteer one day per week.

                Social workers do the rest but mostly hospital social workers are employed to help the patient and families who need help following discharge. Social workers help get patients admitted to rehab facilities following hospital discharge, they arrange for home health care nursing visits for those who need that, they help arrange for other medical professionals or social workers to visit the patient at home and so on. Social workers mostly are about arranging services for the patients following discharge and nursing home admissions and so on for those who cannot go home.

                Therefore, the counseling and visiting and being there for patients ( particularly those who are lonely and have no family visiting them ) or patients who might be nervous, fearful, sad, upset..chaplains are there for them and often without ever talking about relgion or God.

                It would be nice if more hospitals, or all hospitals could hire trained and experienced therapists for this job but it can get expensive to do so. Most of the therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists who work for the hospital are employed only for the mental health unit of the hospital. These therapists do group and individual counseling for inpatient treatment for the mentally ill.

                Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at http://keystoneliberalsforum.aimoo.com/

                by wishingwell on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 09:44:26 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  this (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wishingwell
                  Most of the therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists who work for the hospital are employed only for the mental health unit of the hospital.
                  if it were not for the cost, that sounds like a good possibility of a group that might provide secular counseling for those who would like it

                  Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
                  DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
                  Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

                  by TrueBlueMajority on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 06:42:57 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Volunteer! n/t (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            marykk, Smoh
            •  See above! (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sophie Amrain, marykk, wishingwell, susans

              So you don't have to search, I tried to volunteer, thinking a doctoral level psychologist would be welcomed with open arms. It turned out I would have to pay to volunteer! Neither the hospital umbrella policy nor my malpractice was enough. I'd have to buy a separate policy for the hospital work.

              Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

              by Smoh on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 05:15:05 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Current license to practice (0+ / 0-)

                Is generally enough if you have worked there before.  A stranger might have to jump through some hoops to do skilled volunteer work.  You could get your foot in the door doing patient escort or keeping patients in fresh water to drink.

                Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

                by arlene on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 09:32:12 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Yes I had wanted to do the same thing and found (0+ / 0-)

                that out too. Smoh.  Therapists and psychologists who are hired by hospitals or paid by hospitals often work only in the psychiatric unit with the mentally ill or voluntarily or involuntarily are admitted there.

                I found out my only hope of doing any counseling in a hospital would be only for the mental health unit which is behind locked doors of course....and those openings are rare.

                Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at http://keystoneliberalsforum.aimoo.com/

                by wishingwell on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 09:48:50 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  most hospitals have social workers but chaplains (0+ / 0-)

            cost less is what I was told.  Our small local hospital does not even have a fulltime paid chaplain, local ministers volunteer. Meanwhile hospital social workers have huge caseloads and are very busy and hospitals keep trimming their budgets.

            Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at http://keystoneliberalsforum.aimoo.com/

            by wishingwell on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 09:36:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Nurses, their assistants, the PT lady (4+ / 0-)

        Not to mention my wonderful spouse. I had plenty of company, plenty of sympathetic ears.

        Where was Jeff Gannon on Pretzel Day?

        by Sam Berdoux on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:34:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  And not all white people do racist things (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sam Berdoux, Smoh, Old Sailor, pdxteacher

      But we don't need to bring that up just because someone complains about racism. A chaplain is there for spiritual guidance. I have a number of good friends who are unitarian chaplains, or were on the way to being reverends, and they all see it as a spiritual practice, including the atheists.(yes, there are unitarian atheists.) when someone doesn't want a chaplain they don't want a chaplain, period.

      His view isn't "narrow", it a real view and it's probably repeated often for a great many atheists. His view is that he told them he wasn't religious and they sent a religious representative in there to bother him. The last thing I would want when in the hospital is to have to beg off some chaplain.

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:15:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not necessarily. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, wishingwell

        A chaplain is there to assist. A patient may want spiritual guidance or not. I might want someone to read me the paper. No nurse will have time for that, but I wouldn't hesitate to ask the chaplain. ( in some religious traditions that's a "corporal work of mercy.")

        If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

        by marykk on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 10:01:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Are there any non-religious (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sophie Amrain, Old Sailor

          and non-spiritual chaplains?

          Any at all?

          Because  saying that they are necessarily there for spiritual reasons entirely misses the point. A police officer isn't always there to arrest people, sometimes they have good conversations or give directions, but their role is to be law enforcers. A police officer could be at a hospital to talk to people too. I bet some of them would do a great job. But if I was in a hospital in lots of pain the very last thing I'd want is a cop coming to talk to me. I would be so uncomfortable at that. Similarly, chaplains can do a great many things, but based on their title we can assume they're religious. Otherwise why call them a chaplain.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 10:19:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  He interrupted my viewing (6+ / 0-)

      Of an awesome marathon of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia". In writing such a long diary, I was trying to convey the frustration I felt at so many visitors who were not there to discharge me. For one of them to be completely superfluous was more than I could take.

      Where was Jeff Gannon on Pretzel Day?

      by Sam Berdoux on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:32:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fair complaint (0+ / 0-)

        But not the same as the one you suggested - ie., that his purpose was to proselytize.

        If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

        by marykk on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 10:25:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes my dad went through a few times, where (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marykk

        everyone but his doctor was in and out of his room in a space of like 2 hours ..when the only one he wanted to see was his doctor so he could go home. I was visiting him that day and he wanted me to take him home as I was there at the time. It would save my mother a trip to the hospital. So finally the nurse came in and said the doctor was going to fax over discharge directions and gave his verbal OK for discharge by phone. But We really had to push for that like you did.

        Dad got so tired of people in and out of his room, he went into the solarium to watch the Steelers game on the larger screen tv and told the nurse if the doctor came in, he was in the TV room as he was tired of people in and out of his room . Plus he insisted on getting dressed. LOL..

        But I can really empathize with what you are going through as my dad have dozens of hospitals admissions, Mom too, when they were suffering from cancer.

        Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at http://keystoneliberalsforum.aimoo.com/

        by wishingwell on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 09:53:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  And some chaplains are also social workers, three (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk

      of them were in my graduate school psychology and counseling classes. They were chaplains who also wanted to have some background in psychology and social worker and one of them wanted to leave the clergy and become a therapist. All 3 of them were very liberal as I spent time with them after classe, we would go out for drinks and so on.

      Some hospitals ask their chaplains to do some non religious  counseling especially if they have a shortage of counselors and social workers.  

      Financial reasons sometimes cause hospitals to lay off some social workers and chaplains have to assume some of that case load....some of then are just local ministers volunteering one day at week at the hospital, some are employed by hospital but at lower wages than social workers.

      Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at http://keystoneliberalsforum.aimoo.com/

      by wishingwell on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 09:34:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk

      Diarist doesn't detail the dialogue enough to know what the Chaplain's motive was. Was he there to proselytize and convert or simply to be a kind and caring human being?

      I once took a course at Georgetown University; it was the only school in metro DC that offered it in a timeframe that worked for me. The course was particularly difficult because it had a very challenging research element to it. I was in the library and asked the librarian for assistance in pointing me in the right direction. She told me a research assistant was on duty and would be with me shortly. After awhile, a young Jesuit priest shows up in full habit to help. He happened to be a PHD in the particular field I was studying. He was there to help me as a scholar, not to proselytize or convert me and I accepted that. He did a lot to help me and pointed me in the right direction. It had nothing to do with God.

      KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

      by fcvaguy on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 11:18:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good luck with your recovery. (12+ / 0-)

    I am glad you are doing better.  I only wish that the hospital had respected your wishes.  

    I'm a 4 Freedoms Democrat.

    by DavidMS on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 05:58:41 PM PST

  •  It never ends (17+ / 0-)

    I like the Ricky Gervais quote, calling atheism a belief system is like calling not skiing a hobby. At any rate I am constantly amazed at how many people just don't seem to understand, I don't want nor need religion in any way shape or form.

    •  Its ALL a belief system (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw, VoteWisdom

      Religion, atheism, agnosticism---everybody regards these through the filter of their own belief systems.
      I make a religion out of not insulting someone else's belief system, you can get punched in the nose

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:40:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Atheism is NOT a belief system (6+ / 0-)

        It is not believing in god(s). You have mistaken a specific kind of atheism that is currently popular, and that's fairly understandable given the denial on the part of ost New Atheists that anything other than scientific materialism is "real" atheism, except when they throw out pithy lines like "calling atheism a belief system is like calling not skiing a hobby." Atheism of various types is a part of some belief systems, it is not a belief system unto itself.

        Either way, being an atheist isn't insulting the religious. And the comment you were replying to said no such thing.

        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

        by AoT on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:21:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No its all a belief system (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chuckvw, marykk

          just like everything you say (me too)
          you can't get out of it
          I never said

          being an atheist isn't insulting the religious.
          for one thing I don't believe it

          Happy just to be alive

          by exlrrp on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:29:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, atheism is not a belief system (6+ / 0-)

            Just like believing in an after life isn't a belief system. They are parts of a belief system. There is a huge difference. It seems like you believe in god based on what you say here. Believing in god isn't a belief system, it's one belief in a system. There is a huge difference.

            And no, you didn't say that, I'm sorry for putting words in your mouth.

            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

            by AoT on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:42:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Perhaps one of you could turn this (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT

              discussion into a diary of its own.

              "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

              by pierre9045 on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:53:37 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Well I believe it is-its believing there is no God (0+ / 0-)

              Which is, as you say, part of a belief system

              Belief system is another way of saying personality. Your personality---your likes and dislikes, your preferences, your priorities, your views---these come out of our basic belief systems. You can't get out of the loop---your personality, nee belief system, is the context you hold everything in

              A believer believes there is a God, a non believer believes there is no God.  Either way its a belief because it can't be proven either way.

              I choose to believe in a God largely because I think (from my personality) its  more attractive belief. When I die I want to go  somewhere seeing as how I'll be all dressed up. I used to be as stone cold an atheist as there ever was, got that way in a war. Certain things happened that changed my beliefs.

              Happy just to be alive

              by exlrrp on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 06:39:09 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No, a belief system is a set of beliefs (0+ / 0-)

                It's not another way of saying "your personality". Catholicism is a belief system, communism is a belief system, there are a lot of different belief systems. Atheism is not a belief system it is a belief, there are a lot of different belief systems that include atheism.

                If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                by AoT on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 09:37:00 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  My husband died one year ago tomorrow, (22+ / 0-)

    in the Maine Medical Centre, of advanced total systems failure. It was a horrible death. Horrible. It included hepatic encepalophyathy  and kidney failure and failure of the spleen and hemolization, which is a blood disorder. He was on a ventilator for a couple of weeks and eventually discharged to the hospice unit from the ICU. He was 48 years old.

    We were to have been married last June, but instead, were married on his deathbed. He was also an Episcopalian, as was his great-great-great grandfather, Iriquois League leader Joseph Brant (Tyendenaga). As am I. The Dean of our Cathedral, where we were members, provided a great deal of comfort to him in his last days. He appreciated it, and so did I.

    I firmly believe that anyone who doesn't want to be visited by a hospital chaplain or a priest should have the right to refuse that. But there are some people who take succor in that. Terun and I were comforted by our Priest in our hour of need, and I am eternally grateful for Dean Shambaugh and the Cathedral of St. Luke for that.

    But if you don't want that, you shouldn't have it. You should be able to say "no", and I would fight to my death for your right to be an atheist.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 06:18:29 PM PST

  •  From one atheist to another (9+ / 0-)

    I will pray for your speedy recovery, and deliverance from this ordeal.

    "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

    by pierre9045 on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 06:26:54 PM PST

  •  On a more serious note (14+ / 0-)

    it's worth noting that there are many areas in this country-far more than there should be-where declaring your atheism may actually precipitate much more active proselytizing from more than just the chaplain during your hospital stay, or worse, where it could affect the quality of health care your doctors or nurses provide. There are even diarists here who can attest to that.

    It is stories like yours that illuminate why so many in the Secular community actively campaign for stronger separation of church and state.

    "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

    by pierre9045 on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 06:37:49 PM PST

    •  Even given this (0+ / 0-)

      It is still as wrong to assume that all hospital chaplains visit for the purpose of proselytizing as it would be to assume all black people everywhere are dangerous thugs and criminals...particularly if that determination is being made based one's subjective negative experience. The fact that the diarist had few, if any, visitors during his stay probably  is what precipitated the visit as part the diagnostic process rather than with any intent to evangelize or proselytize.

      Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

      by awesumtenor on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 07:37:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm really not sure what your point is. (4+ / 0-)

    Are you really that offended by the very presence of a professional religious person?

    You're right not to pay for it, and you're certainly justified in being irritated. But I fail to see the great injury you suffered from briefly sharing a room with a chaplain.

    Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
    Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
    Code Monkey like you!

    Formerly known as Jyrinx.

    by Code Monkey on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 06:47:49 PM PST

    •  I think the underlying issue is one of privilege (16+ / 0-)

      a subject that gets discussed here on dailykos, but not as often when it comes to the privilege of religion.

      You may not see a chaplain entering the hospital room of a non-believer unsolicited as offensive.

      But imagine if a Christian had a rabbi come to their hospital room, or an imam.

      Now, for you, all these cases may be equally inoffensive. And both cases would likely be treated equally according to US law.

      However, in this country, which is allegedly Secular, there are many Americans, many Christians, who see the former as perfectly OK, but the latter would draw outrage, derision, and condemnation from all corners, including politicians and the media.

      So this diary, while demonstrating a rather benign example, is nevertheless illustrative of the privilege of Christians, or the religious more generally and how it affects those of us Americans who are not.

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:01:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  in that hypothetical case, (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Code Monkey, ladybug53, chuckvw, trillian

        I'd ALSO expect the patient to not act like a petulant emo teenager.

        •  Hospitals are in the business (7+ / 0-)

          of dealing with people on the verge of death, in terrible pain, visiting ill family members, afraid of the unknown, and everywhere on the spectrum in between.

          In other words, hospitals are where people are at their worst.

          Because if they can't be at their worst there, where can they be?

          "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

          by pierre9045 on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:48:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Pot meet kettle (7+ / 0-)

          "The ordeal of having his head up his ass?"

          You're going to lecture people on being mature? Seriously?

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:24:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think I'd give him some slack (17+ / 0-)

          ...for being in pain, feverish, tired, inconvenienced, while he was in his own room at the hospital where he expected at least some minimal privacy, and instead having to deal with an uninvited guest, a stranger, who was trying his patience and had visited seemingly in violation of his specifically stated preferences.

          If you are ever going to act like a petulant emo teenager, that might be the time.  

          I expect the chaplain could handle it.  Comes with the job.

          •  Thank you n/t (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT, blueoasis, Smoh, Old Sailor, wishingwell

            Where was Jeff Gannon on Pretzel Day?

            by Sam Berdoux on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:21:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, absolutely, in the moment. (0+ / 0-)

            I can definitely see this being the straw that broke the camel's back. It added insult to injury. I don't begrudge him getting peeved at them.

            I just don't see this turns into such a massive hardship for him as an atheist. If the worst treatment that a community gets is that sometimes they get sent the wrong counselor, they have it pretty good.

            IOW, if this were just a story and not apparently meant to be an airing of grievance on behalf of wronged atheists, I'd get it. But as is, it just seems unhinged.

            Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
            Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
            Code Monkey like you!

            Formerly known as Jyrinx.

            by Code Monkey on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 10:14:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It didn't strike me as an airing of a grievance (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Code Monkey, blueoasis, KMc

              It seemed more of a moment of reflection to me.   The type of reflection that sometimes occurs after a petulant emo teenager moment.  It seemed to me like a fellow atheist sharing how we cope, sometimes gracefully and sometimes not so gracefully, with more trying moments in a world where we are outnumbered by Christians.   And, who is ever graceful in a hospital gown with their ass hanging out, anyway?  It's never our most graceful moment.

              I understand where he's coming from.  It does depends on my mood as to whether the intrepid Christian soldier is an unwelcome invader or a good-hearted person simply trying to help.  Some days, I'm really not in a mood for someone testing my boundaries.  This particular Christian soldier was braving the lion's den on this particular day, whether he knew it or not.  He seems to have been safe enough, though, as he escaped without much more than a half-hearted roar.  

              •  Hmmm. Okay, I reread it, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                pierre9045

                and it's likely my first reading was colored by what I perceived from the first graf.

                The fact that he's “amused” by the entreaties not to assume all religious people are stupid put a bad taste in my mouth. Okay, so maybe he's not among those who needed to read those articles, but a sampling of the comments here suffices to demonstrate that those articles needed to be written.

                Overall, I rate my reaction Kinda Harsh.

                Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
                Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
                Code Monkey like you!

                Formerly known as Jyrinx.

                by Code Monkey on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 11:04:15 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  You've Never Served a Customer I Suspect nt (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, blueoasis, pierre9045

          We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

          by Gooserock on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:24:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  True enough. (0+ / 0-)

        Still. Someone didn't check the right form, and dispatched the wrong counselor. (Or maybe the secular counselors were busy.)

        Besides, the only Christians that value the privilege not to see or interact with ANY other religion EVER are rabid conservative types. I should hope that's not a right everyone should aspire to.

        Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
        Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
        Code Monkey like you!

        Formerly known as Jyrinx.

        by Code Monkey on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:08:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  i wouldn't care if an imam or rabbi (6+ / 0-)

        came to see me in the hospital.

        Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
        DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
        Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:18:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I wouldn't care if anyone came to visit me (6+ / 0-)

          as long as they were friendly and wanted to talk about non religious stuff.

          I'll talk music or philosophy with anyone.

          Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. Frank Zappa

          by Da Rock on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:40:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  when i was a hospital chaplain (6+ / 0-)

            i talked about whatever the patient brought up.

            if they didn't bring up religion neither did I.

            Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
            DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
            Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

            by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:51:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  i told the christian patients I was a chaplain (7+ / 0-)

              but if I saw on the patient information sheet that the patient had no religious preference, or the column was blank, or they were a religion different than mine, I said "I've come to visit you if you need someone to talk to today" and then let them steer the conversation where ever they wanted.

              if they said they didn't want a visit I would ask, does that mean you don't want a visit right now, or you don't want me to ever come back at all?

              And if they said to go away (as the diarist did) I put it in the chart so that no one else would stop in either.

              and I am 100% sure that "religious services" are not billed.  Chaplains are employees of the hospital just like the people who clean the floors and deliver the meals.  There are no separate charges for floor sweeping either.

              Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
              DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
              Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

              by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:58:31 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  You are very wise...and respectful. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wishingwell

              Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

              by Smoh on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 05:37:59 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  One of my associates (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TrueBlueMajority

              is the Episcopalian Chaplin at the school I work at.

              He knows religion isn't my strong point and he is very respectful of my beliefs. I'm afraid I'm not as good at respecting his.

              However, he is a "go to" guy for advice .... very wise and never brings up Jesus or whatever. I've already asked him to officiate at my party when I go. He will keep it lite and make sure everyone gets drunk and has a good time. He knows I don't want "he is in a better place" type crap. I've had a great time in life - beyond that - who knows??

              I've seen him in action and he is a very comforting and easy to talk to person.

              Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. Frank Zappa

              by Da Rock on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 04:12:55 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  You made a point I was ready to add (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, Smoh, Old Sailor, pdxteacher, wishingwell

        What if they had sent an Imam into the room of a fundamentalist Christian?

        Where was Jeff Gannon on Pretzel Day?

        by Sam Berdoux on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:41:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  they probably wouldn't (0+ / 0-)

          religious preference is usually listed on hospital forms, so the imam would only go to patients listed as Muslim

          Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
          DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
          Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

          by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:18:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And why? (7+ / 0-)

            You see the issue here maybe?

            Why is it that they would respect that and not the wishes of the non-religious?

            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

            by AoT on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:24:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  yes, i see the issue (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT

              I'm not disagreeing with the diarist.  He should have the option to choose "secular chaplaincy only" or "no comfort visits" or something like that.

              i am just speculating, as someone who has been on the inside of the situation, how a hospital might arrange to provide that

              one good idea would be for atheists to be able to choose "atheist" on the religious preference form, which would then mean don't send any religious people in my room.  none of the hospitals I have been in have had that option.

              instead they have something called NRP--no religious preference, which is definitely NOT the same thing

              Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
              DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
              Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

              by TrueBlueMajority on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 06:46:42 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Then the fundie would be no more justified (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marykk

          in their outrage than the diarist. A (probable) clerical error led to a representative of the wrong faith (or any faith, in the diarist's case). You're right that they might well pitch a massive fit, but they wouldn't be justified in doing so.

          Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
          Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
          Code Monkey like you!

          Formerly known as Jyrinx.

          by Code Monkey on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 10:16:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  What if? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wishingwell

          I'd expect him to play by the same rules as any other chaplain.

          If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

          by marykk on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 11:07:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  So now (0+ / 0-)

          It's gone from sending an Imam chaplain to a Christian in general to sending an Imam to a fundamentalist Christian; applying the hypothetical to your situation, you would be in the position of the fundamentalist Christian... are you saying you subscribe to a narrow, bigoted and irrational atheism?

          Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

          by awesumtenor on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 08:22:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Most hospitals (0+ / 0-)

        Can only afford to have one chaplain on staff...and that chaplain visits all patients whether they believe in one God, many Gods or no god whatsoever...a few years ago, I was hospitalized with meningitis stuck in a quarantine room. The hospital chaplain was a rabbi and I am not Jewish yet his visit was not offensive on any level; in fact we never even discussed religion beyond his introducing himself...

        As for "privilege"...at Daily Kos it is the atheist/agnostic/humanist people who have that and they exercise it, often in ways that transgress the first commandment of DK... Thou shalt not be a dick. In diary after diary, religion in general and judeo-christian/Islamic monotheism in particular is demeaned, belittled and insulted at will and with impunity...the irony of such being many rationalize their negative and rude behavior towards adherents of a religion in DK by saying they have been the recipients of negative and rude behavior from the adherents of religion in meatspace...even though those people are not Kossacks and the negative and rude commenters would the first to find behavior like theirs objectionable if they're the ones on the receiving end...

        Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

        by awesumtenor on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 08:07:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  He said that he did not want any (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hastur, tharu1, Sam Berdoux, Smoh, wishingwell

      sky pilots showing up at his door. Why should his wishes be overruled by some padre wandering the halls?

      Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

      by milkbone on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:02:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  there is no separate charge for chaplaincy visits (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, marykk, wishingwell

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:17:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wouldn't assume this is true (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Smoh, TrueBlueMajority

        There certainly shouldn't be, and almost every chaplain would agree with that, but there may well be a charge. And this would be because of the hospital, not the chaplain.

        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

        by AoT on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:25:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'd be surprised if the chaplain visit ... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, whenwego, Code Monkey, Hastur, Smoh

    ... appeared on your bill, but you should certainly keep a watchful eye.  It sounds like you handled it fine.  I might have actually appreciated the visit and engaged a little, but i totally get why you weren't in the mood to do that.  All you wanted was for someone to officially release you from that hospital room!!!  I was in a similar spot a few years back, and it made me very cross indeed.

    So well written.  Over time, i've come to think of farts as being little blessings.

    Speedy recovery, and my best to both you and your wife.

  •  JFC, get over yourself. (2+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    trillian, misslegalbeagle
    Hidden by:
    TFinSF

    So the chaplain, doing his job, looks in on you, and you DEIGN to shake his hand, "for leaving".

    Dude, you're a dick.

  •  I remember being in ICU (10+ / 0-)

    plugged in to heart monitor as I was waiting for the drugs to kick in and help my heart get back to normal rhythm from yet another case of atrial fibrulation. The nurse in charge came in and offered to pray with me. Now this is a small town and we all pretty much know each other through one or two degrees of separation. So nurse offers prayer to which I replied, "If I thought magic would work better than pharmaceuticals I would take you up on it." That was the end of that. Afib ended a few hours later.

  •  Your mama didn't raise you right ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Marti

    ... as we would say down South.

    Dude, if you want respect for your beliefs you gotta show some respect yourself. Granted you shook his hand, but then you wrote here about how pissed off you were. Let it go.

  •  I bet he runs across people like you all the time (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Marti, chuckvw, marykk, Smoh, wishingwell
    But I'm afraid that I may have hurt someone's feelings in a recent encounter, and in his retelling I will no doubt come off as a big meany atheist.

    the way you retell it he probably will not retell it at all. he probably gets people who don't want to see him all the time. No harm no foul. Nothing really happened.  
    Good luck on your recovery

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:28:18 PM PST

  •  Well, at least.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw

    you were nicer about it than some others on DKos I could name who've had "problems" with clergy at the hospitals.

    But you still made a mistake. If I were you, I'd have welcomed the conversation to pass the time. You didn't have to talk about spiritual things. A lot of these people are like bartenders after a certain amount of time on the job. They're not just there to mix your drinks, they're also there to listen to your drunken sob stories (if we extend the metaphor). Surgery's a major ordeal, and having someone to talk to might be a comfort to some people, including non-religious people.

    Just because you're an atheist doesn't mean you can't talk to religious people, y'know.

    It's kind of funny, but I spent time in a religious private hospital some years ago for complications from diabetes (I was undiagnosed at the time). Had a near-death scare from two separate but related things going on. I didn't see a single chaplain. And this is in the middle of Texas for crying out loud. Maybe they just send clergy to old cranky people :)

    TX-17 (Bill Flores-R), TX Sen-14 (Kirk Watson-D), TX HD-50 (Celia Israel-D)

    by Le Champignon on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:46:22 PM PST

  •  OK, so here's the thing... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, Sam Berdoux, blueoasis

    There's nothing like being in pain, or being in a hospital, or being feverish, to make me cranky.    And, while I try to marshall my patience for the God Squad who want to "help" by spouting religious platitudes, it is very hard for me to do so when I'm cranky.   (I'm with you.  If you want to "help", then grab a mop or a broom or do some dishes).

    So, being in pain, and being in the hospital, and being feverish, and then having to deal with an uninvited visitor spouting religious platitudes and offering religious counselling that you had specifically stated that you did not want...

    Well, as the religious are apt to say, perhaps God was testing you.

    At least you didn't throw the ubiquitous complimentary bible at his head as he was leaving.  I say you get points for restraint.

     

  •  You should check out the diaries of (7+ / 0-)

    irishwitch about her husband's heart attack. They are both Pagans but had to deal with a supercilious chaplain early in his stay.

    But later when irishwitch was stressed and frustrated by events another chaplain just lent a sympathetic ear a helped her feel validated and comforted. Not a whiff of religion, just human kindness.

    I hope things finally work out to your satisfaction and you make it home.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:41:07 PM PST

  •  You Could Have Just Left.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, nathanfl, wishingwell

    People go AMA all the time.  Docs give verbal discharge orders over the phone every minute of the day & night.  You met all the criteria.

    If you had started to pack your gear & looked like you were really going to leave, your nurse could have gotten a verbal discharge order complete w/ discharge instructions & a follow up appointment like magic.

    I worked as a nightshift RN for 25 years.  If your vitals were stable, your pain was under control, labs were normal, you were up & walking & no longer a fresh post op....you could have easily gone home.

    Truthfully, nurses don't care if someone is an atheist, a cannibal or a religious wackado,  they have new admits, meds to pass, respiratory & cardiac crises to deal with.  You were ready to go & your nurse had other fish to fry.  

    •  There Are Patients Who Haven't Been RN's 25 Years (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, blueoasis, pdxteacher

      and are not up to speed on their medical options.

      It's 45 years since my food intolerances were first begun to be continually misdiagnosed so now that I have finally pieced together enough data to have stopped new injuries, who knows if or when I may ever heal up enough to eat a full sized meal.

      Medicine is a specialty, it takes a knack and hours of training to know how to practice it.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:29:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My husband and I are Wiccans. (12+ / 0-)

    He just got home last TH after 3 weeks in the hospital for quintuple bypass with every complication the could occure short of a stroke.  He made it clear in the ER and later in the room  that he did not want a chaplain, none,nada, period.  He also doucln't list himself as a WIccan because NE GA doesn't recognize but they did list him as a Pagan.  He made it very clear about no chaplains. Well his Mom's pastor showed up anyway, but upon being told we were not Christians, it settled into a discussion of cats (ours had died).  No discussion of religion.  I think he would have been thrown out bodily had he attempted to preach. I am small but I  can kick ass like the red-0haired witch I am.

    I on the other hand, the day of his surgery, was falling apart because 30 years ago,I lost my first husband to an undiagnosed heart problem.My in-laws told me to just let that go because it's in the past.  But you really can't forget the death of someone you loved enough to marry ans stay with during some really hard times.   I walked away from them, sat down on a bench, buried my face in my hands and sobbed silently.

    Along came a full-figured African AMerican woman.  SHe was a Pentecostal minister. I told her I wasn't a CHristian. She sat down and took ,y hand gently and siad, "That odesn't matter. You're in pain and you need someone to just  be there with you."

    I told Barbara the whole damned story and cried in her warm, loving arms.  Seems she knew a little bit about WIccans, and took me for a walk to a garden on the grounds where I could see the mountains anda fountain divided in the quarters. She told me I could be close to my Deity there.  And she was the kindest person I ran into  day.

    Some chaplains are assholes--and if you list that you don't want chaplain uner any circumstances they should leave you the fuck alone. Barbara wasn't trying to comvert me. We really didn't talk religion at all. She was just there for me and that was what I needed.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:29:55 PM PST

    •  I tried to post an update (9+ / 0-)

      but it doesn't seem to have taken, so I'll do it here. First, I am so sorry for you and your husband, you have suffered immensely. However, I was hoping that my story made it clear that I was not lonely or confused or in any distress other than the pain from my surgery and the fear that I would have to spend another night in that room. I had a couple of friends offer to visit, but turned them down because I was grumpy and in pain and happy to pass the time watching TV with my wife, just like we do at home. I guess I need to write better. And to those who suggest I should have just left, my fear of our current system of medical payment would have made that very difficult. What if I had delayed complications and did not have the DR's OK to back up my decision?

      Where was Jeff Gannon on Pretzel Day?

      by Sam Berdoux on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:55:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm having trouble understanding why you call (8+ / 0-)

    yourself a bully.  You appear to have behaved with a great deal of restraint.  My experience with many devout Christians is that no matter what they might say, they really want to try to save you whether you want saving or not.  

    We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. B. Franklin

    by Observerinvancouver on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 10:12:02 PM PST

  •  how were you a bully? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, delver rootnose

    you specifically requested for the chaplain not to stop by. The chaplain stopped by. You asked them to leave (far more politely than I would have asked). They left.

    Now if they bill you for that, go ahead and get nasty.

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility

    by terrypinder on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 08:51:59 AM PST

  •  Should of asked.... (0+ / 0-)

    ...him to go fine the surgeon.  It would have given him something to do that would be useful.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 01:28:57 PM PST

  •  I'm not exactly atheist... (0+ / 0-)

    ....but I have been around evangelistic types before, and some of my biggest emotional pains are at their hands, and I find their proselytizing only mildly irritating.  What I do think is really, really irritating is when then feel and use times of emotional distress as a great time to try to convert you to their version of Gaaawwwdddd.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 01:58:30 PM PST

  •  I'm not necessarily an athiest (0+ / 0-)

    But have no use for religious folks, especially the leaders who I tend to see as scammers that see doing that as an easy way to get money from people. I just look on them with suspicion, wondering what their particular ploy is when people are at their most vulnerable.

    Most of the time my thoughts conflict with just about everyone I have talked to about spirituality and religion, so I don't bother.



    Women create the entire labor force.
    ---------------------------------------------
    Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 06:34:03 PM PST

  •  Mountain out of molehlll (0+ / 0-)

    Probably just a coincidence he dropped by. Was he Catholic? Protestant? Was it a religious-affiliated hospital?

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 09:07:44 PM PST

  •  I agree, and experienced something similar... (0+ / 0-)

    Worst day in the hospital, nearly a week without food, two hours on a burning, potassium-rich solution because my bloodwork came back out of balance, and the IV in my arm went bad. I'm surrounded by multiple nurses trying to get into a new vein, and a minister drops in.

    I don't usually mind clergy, but to have one drop in on me in spite of stated preferences otherwise, after signing a strict privacy notice on my hospitalization, while I was in a fair bit of pain, hungry, reeking, and half-naked in the middle of a minor medical crisis was a bit more than I was willing to put up with.  I don't think I was especially rude given the circumstances, but I think it's quite reasonable to resent uninvited strangers not essential to my care invading my privacy.

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