Tag Archives: hospital

The Sunday before Christmas

It was a Sunday morning – a couple of days before Christmas- and, as usual, I had a half hour Service to conduct in the Infirmary (part of my role as Healthcare Chaplain).

These (poorly attended) times of Worship for patients were held in the day room in Ward 18; a ward for elderly patients, but open to all who were hospitalised throughout the building.

It wasn’t a cheerful time that year. Helen had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, had undergone a double mastectomy, and was being treated with sessions of chemotherapy.

I was feeling less than festive, and when I opened the door to the day room, it hadn’t been prepared for the Service. Chairs were randomly placed in the room, an empty coffee cup lay on the table where the Bible was usually placed.

Being just before Christmas, as many as possible able patients had been discharged; fewer nursing staff were on duty, and were struggling to cope. And our pianist had phoned in sick with flu.

Depressing and disheartening – yep.

After ten minutes of waiting, not a single patient had turned up.

I was just about to leave, when there was a knock on the door, and this wee ordinary looking wummin came in.

“I hope I’m not too late – I was told that it was a 10.30 Service, but it’s 10.00 isn’t it? I’m so sorry. Do you want me to go back to my ward?”

“No, no! Please stay. It’s only going to be thee and me, I’m afraid. And the pianist can’t make it today. We’ll have a bash at a couple of carols, but it’ll have to be unaccompanied- oh, and I can’t hold a tune. But, listen, let me read the Christmas Scripture first, then we’ll have a wee prayer”

“OK – that sounds good.”

So we did that. Then I asked her to tell me about herself, and we had a cosy chat.

“Thank you so much”, she said, getting up to leave.

“Do you want to try ‘Away in a Manger’ before you go?”

“Oh, please”, she replied. Then added “I can play the piano a wee bit”

“Oh, that’s great; there’s a music edition of CH3 (third edition of the C of S hymn book) in this cupboard”

So she started to play this old out of tune joanna – magnificently, delicately, sensitively, with the touch of a professional……. which, it turned out, she had been, having studied music at Drama and Music College many years before.

Hymn followed hymn. Music drifted down the ward; nurses joined us – some for a few minutes only because of busyness.

We stayed for an hour! All the traditional favourites. Played beautifully.

And that old untidy Day Room was transformed into what our Celtic forebears call “a thin place”

It was a magical, mystical, merry time of joy and celebration.

Oh, although I can’t recall the lady’s name………….

……….I found out later that she was Jewish!!!!!!!!!!!

“God works in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform”


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Another of Charlie Chaplain’s Tales



As a Parish Minister, part of our remit is to visit Church members who are hospitalised.

Once, in an orthopaedic ward in one of our larger, very busy, not over compassionate staffed, Infirmaries, I came across T…..

He went on and on about how appalling the nurses were.  The junior doctors were clueless most of the time.  He had to wait for ages to get washed in the morning, there being insufficient facilities in this large “Nightingale” ward. The food was poor, and lukewarm by the time it arrived.  And so on.  Moan, moan, moan.

He said that, when he was discharged, he was going to write to the CEO of the NHS Trust to complain, criticise, comment negatively.

I told him that his letter would be passsed down the line, and he’d receive a generic reply that effectively would say nothing.

This was followed up by my saying that “You don’t have a leg to stand on”…………

……. and as I said it, immediately realised that he was in the orthopaedic ward ———————————-having a double amputation.

Do you sometimes wish that the floor would open and swallow you up?





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Behold, I make all things new…

A somewhat dowdy middle-aged woman was devasted when her husband of almost thirty years ran off with an attractive blonde more than half her age.

Depressed and stressed, with tension gripping her, she suffered a heart attack, and was taken to the hospital. While on the operating table she had a near death experience. Seeing God she asked “Is my time up?”

God said, “No, you have another 38 years, 2 months and 8 days to live.”

Upon recovery, the woman decided to stay in the hospital and have a face-lift, liposuction, breast implants and a tummy tuck. She even had someone come in and change her hair colour and brighten her teeth. Since she had so much more time to live, she figured she might as well make the most of it….and, who knows, perhaps even meet a “toy boy”. A new life beckoned.

After her last operation, she was released from the hospital. While crossing the street on her way home, she was killed by an ambulance.

Arriving in front of God, she demanded, “I thought you said I had another 38 years? Why didn’t you pull me from out of the path of the ambulance?”

God replied: “I didn’t recognize you.”

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Our beloved minister


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December 14, 2015 · 11:44

Another story from Charlie Chaplain’s logbook


The phone rang at the Nurses’ Station.

A little old lady spoke quietly and somewhat reticently: “I’m so sorry to bother you, but could you possibly tell me how Miss Mary Wilson is getting on? She’s in room 7”

“Well, she’s doing just splendidly.  In fact, she’s going to be discharged tomorrow afternoon, and a care package has been arranged for her.”

“Oh, thank you very much, indeed; that’s wonderful news”

“Excuse me, I forgot to ask who was calling”

“Oh sorry, it’s Miss Wilson phoning from room 7 – nobody here tells me a F*****g thing!”

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Charlie Chaplain’s Tales


Yes, Father?” said the nurse.
“I would really like to see Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg before I die,” whispered the priest.
“I’ll see what I can do, Father”, replied the nurse.
The nurse sent the request to 10 Downing Street, and waited for a response.
Soon the word arrived; David Cameron and Nick Clegg would be delighted to visit the priest.

As they went to the hospital, Clegg commented to Cameron, “I don’t know why the old priest wants to see us, but it will certainly help our images.” Cameron agreed that it was a good thing.

When they arrived at the priest’s room, the priest took Cameron hand in his right hand and Cleggs hand in his left hand. There was silence and a look of serenity on the old priest’s face..

Finally David Cameron spoke. “Father, of all the people you could have chosen, why did you choose us to be with you as you near the end?”

The old priest slowly replied, “I have always tried to pattern my life after our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

“Amen”, said Cameron. “Amen”, said Clegg.

The old priest continued, “Jesus died between two lying thieves; I would like to do the same

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ImageCharlie Chaplain’s Tales


We were waiting on the ground floor of the Infirmary for the lift: a consultant, a visitor wearing a tee-shirt and myself.

She started up a conversation with the the young man, commentating on his attire.  On the T, it read “When I grow up, I want to be a Vet .  “Ah”, says, Dr. M, ” Are you at veterinary school at the moment?”

Before he could answer, the elevator arrived and all three of us got in.

It was only then that she saw what the full logo was: “When I grow up, I want to be a Vet”……. and in smaller letters, “because I love studying pussies”

We hadn’t reached the first floor, before my medical colleague sternly said, “YOU are disgusting!  GET OUT!”  which the poor fellow did when we reached the first floor, even although he wanted off at the third!

Nobody messed with the wondererful Dr M.

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Charlie Chaplain’s Tales (continued)

imageCharlie Chaplain's Tales (continued)

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October 27, 2013 · 07:37

The Elderly Patient


Charlie Chaplain’s Tales


I once found an elderly gentleman  already dressed and sitting on the bed with a suitcase at his feet, ready to leave.

“Off home, then?” I said, stating the obvious.

“Yes, just waiting for my wife”

“May I give you a hand to the lifts and then to the ground floor exit”.

On the way down I asked him where his wife was meeting him.

“I don’t know,” he said. “She’s still upstairs in the bathroom changing out of her hospital gown.”

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Charlie Chaplain’s Tales

Two doctors were in a hospital corridor one day complaining about a particularly thick staff nurse.

“She’s incredibly stupid. She does everything absolutely backwards.” said one doctor. “Just last week, I told her to give a patient 2 milligrams of Percocet every 10 hours. She gave him 10 milligrams every 2 hours. He nearly died on us!”

The second doctor said, “That’s nothing. Earlier this week, I told her to give a patient an enema every 24 hours. She tried to give him 24 enemas in one hour! The guy nearly exploded!”

Suddenly, they hear this blood-curdling scream from down the hall. “Oh my God!” said the first doctor, “I just realized I told her to prick Mr. Smith’s boil!”

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