Thursday, January 24, 2013


Wayfinding. As in finding your way. Here in India, wayfinding generally requires an adventurous spirit, patience, concentration, courage, a willingness to be lost, and a sense of humor. Wayfinding within the boundaries of the Christian Medical College hospital is no different. The buildings are all about the same color. You often can’t tell if you are in an exterior corridor or an interior hallway. You cannot rely on the signage posted around, as it will only give you a general direction of where something is. The security guards standing post at every corner and junction can also not be relied upon .They, too, will just point you in a general direction, and sometimes it is not the right direction.

Now, most hospitals I have been in are a little confusing to find your way around in. I think there must be some international, unspoken rules about the level of disorientation hospitals must achieve. I also think CMC wrote the rule book.

I have been at the CMC hospital for about two weeks now and am just beginning to find my way around. My last posting was easy to find. The bus dropped me off at the A Block, and the OT outpatient department is adjacent to the A Block. Lunch was taken at the A Block canteen. Easy peasy. Then I was transferred to Q3. On Monday morning I was taken through one little corridor, past a waiting area into an interior hallway, which morphed into another open space waiting area where we ducked into yet another passage way, and then up some stairs and down another hall, and then finally through a threshold where “Q3 WARD” was written across the top. When I was told to go on break I thought to myself, “They better not be expecting me back within the hour, because there is no way I will be making it back here on my own.”
My destination for the week. Q3 is the general ward. More on this later.
Nevertheless, I set out to find my way to a morning cup of tea and possibly a vadai. I carefully made my way back to the ground floor and started back the way I thought we had come. Anyone that knows me well, knows that I am not good with figuring out right from left, not to mention reversing right from left to get back to Q3. I was doomed. Then I discovered a trick.
Not all the signs point me in the wrong direction. I am well aware of where this sign will  land me. 
There are Bible verses painted on most walls that have open space on them. They became my wayfinding points. I still have to concentrate a bit when going to and from Q3, but I’m getting better at it. I am able to talk my way through it. Here’s a bit what my jaunt becomes:
  •  Head towards the prosthetics department
  • Take the first Left
  • Take the first Right
  • Head towards “The Lord will give what is good. Psalm 85:12”
  • Turn Left at “God shall wipe away all their tears. Revelation 7:17”
  • Go past the weird waiting area towards the Operation Theater
  • Turn Right and go up the “Steps 3” to the third floor (which is actually the fourth floor since they count the first floor as the “ground floor,” the second floor then becomes the “first floor,” etc.
  • Q3 three is to the Right. 
  • Walk through the door marked with the “Q3 WARD” sign.

The walk back is similar only I am on the lookout for “Thou crownest the year with goodness. Psalm 65:11” (I walk past that one), turn left at “Trust in the Lord forever. Isaiah 26:4” and then walk towards “The Lord delights in you. Isaiah 62:4.”

As I was walking back to catch the bus today, I started musing over my wayfinding tactic. My favorite part is walking towards the reminder that “the Lord delights in you.” Despite all my faults and failures, He sees past them and delights in me. Perhaps wandering through this labyrinth of life would be a bit easier if I used God’s word more diligently as my “wayfinding tactic.”

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