A lot has happened since I last posted, both professionally and personally. First, the hospital at which I'm doing my residency is going through some financial difficulties due to the recession. They've had some layoffs and made a lot of cutbacks in other areas. For example, no one (not even the medical residents) gets on-call meals anymore. There was some talk of ending our CPE residency early (in late May instead of late August), but they decided to keep us for the duration. However, the administration decided to end the CPE residency program after this year, which made a lot of us very unhappy, especially since the chaplain residency program costs the hospital a whopping $8,000 a year, thanks to Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement. Sigh. At least I have a job until August!
On the personal end, Nora (my 20 month-old daughter) is not walking yet. This has been an ongoing saga for almost a year now. We first noticed some gross motor delay at six months, which is when she first rolled over. She didn't sit up by herself until eight months, didn't start crawling until almost 14 months, and just in the past month or so has been taking steps while holding onto someone. The problem seems to be low muscle tone. She's been receiving weekly physical therapy since November, saw a neurologist in March, and had bloodwork and an MRI brain scan in April, both of which turned out fine. My husband and I work with her as much as we can, of course. It's just been pretty frustrating, since none of us (not even the PT) thought it was going to be this big of a deal. At this point, we're fervently hoping that she'll be walking by her birthday in late August. The good news is that she's on target or advanced in every other area of development and is a very happy and charming child. We adore her and are thankful to have her in our lives.
I've also been discerning my calling and thinking about the "what next?" question. I know I'm not ready to go back to the local church as a pastor. Harry definitely isn't; he's still dealing with his own scars and demons from our experience, and he hasn't had the benefit of CPE to help deal with all that. My current decision is to look for a chaplain job, preferably in a hospice setting. Meanwhile, I'll happily be a stay-at-home mom to Nora. It will involve some penny-pinching, but we can handle it financially. We're very blessed that Harry not only works in a high-paying (and stable) field but is also brilliant, hard-working, and accomplished. I might also see about doing per diem chaplain work, supply preaching, weddings to bring in some extra cash.
The good news is that I feel that I've mostly healed from my parish experience, thanks to CPE and my supervisor. I feel like over the past year, I've moved from being in the ER trauma bay, to ICU, to a regular hospital room, to rehab. There are still some residual feelings (like anger at district and conference staff, which I may explore later), but a huge amount of work has been accomplished. Thanks be to God and to His servants for bringing me this far.