Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Crucifixes and Cancer

Oops, there's a few people who don't know my surgery is not today. It's next Tuesday, Aug. 26, at 12:30. Dr. Solemn will be doing the re-excision of the tissue, and Dr. Impossibly Handsome will be prettying up what's left over, immediately after Dr. Solemn is done with his work. It's a day surgery — I'll be home in my bed that night.

The reason for the delay is, Dr. IH changed the venue to the Big Imposing Catholic Hospital (BICH), and I was not made aware of this. I told Dr. Solemn's office I just can't be involved in the Catholic health care system unless it is a matter of immediate loss of life. So they changed the day of the surgery and returned it to The Other Hospital — where it was supposed to be in the first place.

I visited a breast cancer patient at the BICH in July. She had just had big surgery and was out of the ICU and recovering in a regular room. There's new construction going on at BICH, and we could hear every power tool the crew was using. The crucifix on the wall of the room jiggled while they worked. If I'd known her better, I would have offered to pull it down and stick it in the trash. I don't know what happens when you remove a crucifix at BICH. Maybe they don't let you.

Anyway, this issue goes very deep for me. I was raised a Catholic. A churched and confirmed Catholic. Not the yeah-my-grandmother-never-missed-Mass-but-the-rest-of-us
-only-went-drunk-on-Christmas-Eve kind of Catholic. Add this to a family history of breast cancer, and it makes for a transformative experience, let me assure you. BICH does help out the poor with health care, and I've even contributed to that fund. But it doesn't mean I have to let them be part of what happens to me.

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