Of Ashes and Anaesthesia

Dear Anne,

Leave it to you to find Pastor Pete in the parking lot with ashes.  (That sounds like a freaky game of Clue–Pastor Pete did it in the Parking Lot with the Pipe.)   While I cheer his ministry and outreach, I’m really intrigued by the perfect ash crosses you say he creates.  What amazing fine motor skills the man must possess.  It can’t be easy to climb up on the running board of an F-150 with the ash pot in one hand and be able to maintain perfect ash control.   Maybe it’s a Texas thing.

While you were cruising around, loading up on meat and getting all ecumenically repentant, I was fasting on Tuesday for my Ash Wednesday colonoscopy.  Hmmm, that makes it sound like it’s an annual thing, some sort of twisted tradition, taking the cleansing process of Lent to a really strange extreme.  No, that’s just when they scheduled me, though if I had planned better and made the appointment for Thursday, I could have done a twofer fast.

So fast forward to Wednesday morning, I’m on a gurney, hooked up to the IV, discussing Israeli politics with my doctor who was about to, well, you know.  Because I can’t resist the cheap joke, my last words before I went under were, “I thought I gave up colonoscopies for Lent.”

You know my father died of colon cancer so I’m religious about getting screened–pun intended.  And while the topic might make you squeamish, I quote the immortal words of our friend, Dr. Geoff:  “The only reason to die of colon cancer is if you have a bad doctor or you are a bad patient.”  Friends, don’t be a bad patient.  Get your over-50 heinies to the gastroenterologist.

Ok, the PSA is over.   Just be glad I didn’t post pictures.

My procedure was over by 11, hubby took me home and I proceeded to sleep for a couple of hours.  I’m an anesthesia lightweight, so I was still feeling a little loopy when we went to the 7pm ash service at our parish.  I walked in and our pastor greeted me with, “Welcome home from your pilgrimage!  Would you like to help distribute ashes?”

Oh, THAT would be a wonderful idea.  Still under the influence of propofol, heaven knows what I would do.  Draw smiley faces instead of crosses?  Give everyone a unibrow?  Or just curl up in a ball and snore my way through the distribution of ashes?  Thankfully, I maintained a drop of sense and explained why I had to decline, though that was probably the first time I’ve mentioned my intestines in church.  Yes, it was an Ash Wednesday to remember.

During my moments of lucidity on Wednesday, you and I traded emails about this “Lenten smack-down” as you refer to it.  Is this thing scored in some way?  Competing about good works and spiritual growth is a bit unseemly, no?  But in case there IS some type of score-keeping, I want to point out that I just encouraged the thousands  three people who read our blog to get an important health screening.  And I gave blood today.  So technically, I’ve saved lives already and it’s only the first Sunday of Lent.  But really, who’s keeping track?



One thought on “Of Ashes and Anaesthesia

  1. thanks for the chuckles and glad your exam went well. hey, I think you are up to much more than three readers…you are in double digits.


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