Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Offensive Medicine

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Offensive Medicine

Article excerpt

THE NEW YEAR is dawning brightly--usually too brightly, depending on how late you stayed up on New Year's Eve--and it is filled with hope and the unlimited possibility of a fresh start. For you, maybe. Me, I'm taking it one day at a time since I've got back cancer or something. It's called basal cell carcinoma (sounds like the new dance sensation), and it's spreading through my body as I write these words, possibly for the last time.


(Editor's Note: Good lord, it's only a PIMPLE! A dot! A drive-by procedure at the dermatologist. And don't you dare take the whole day off!)

As I was saying, it's a terrible condition. It starts as a tiny spot that, if left unattended, becomes a slightly larger tiny spot and eventually itches. In a very grave voice, my doctor told me I have only two choices:

* Surgery.

* Scratching.

I have tried the latter, but it's hard to reach, even using a family member's toothbrush. If I choose surgery, recovery time is unknown, and my colleagues at work might not see me for days, if not weeks, depending on whether I can change my Netflix account to 12 movies at a time. (Note to self: When caring friends bring over meals, hide the DVDs under devotional materials.)

My nursing-student daughter is strongly in favor of the surgical option (it was her toothbrush, after all), and says she looks forward to changing the bandage each day. Although, since she's currently studying deep tissue trauma, she'd prefer that I play catch with a chain saw. She'd like the extra credit.

Naturally, I need to get the procedure approved by my HMO, and I'll have to appear before an Obama Death Panel and state my case. But I don't mind the government getting between me and my doctor, because my doctor is really boring. (Having to peek around somebody else in the room might break the monotony. …

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