Today I was on hold on the telephone, trying to reach a hospital-based doctor. And I was subjected to multiple advertisements of the exemplary services of said hospital. And although I was gratified to know that if I ever reach 550 pounds, there is a jumbo MRI that will hold me, and that their breast imaging is second to none, I was speechless at the concept that… drumroll please… I can have brain surgery today and return to work tomorrow. Is that a good thing?
It IS impressive. But is it desirable? Hell no.
If we as a culture have gotten so self-important and work-obsessed that brain surgery doesn’t deserve or warrant a day with one’s feet up… then we have problems. Which we do. So that’s not much of an argument.
C’mon people… can the world spin without us for a day, or even a week? Can we rest just because God ordained (and commanded) it, and it feels good? Can we see the benefit that comes from seeing that we are not essential to the sun rising and setting. Really… do you want to be responsible for such things? I am pleased if I’m nonessential. I don’t want the world-bearing responsibility.
When it snows here in DC and the government excuses all but essential personnel from coming in, there’s a certain loss of luster and prestige in being seen around the neighborhood. “You’re nonessential? How pitiful!”
The only time in my life I ever felt like I could say no to requests for, let’s say, a dozen brownies for the proverbial bake sale was when I had cancer. I actually enjoyed saying, “Oh, I’m sorry I can’t help you. I’m having a breast removed that day.” Sick sense of humor? Yes… but also a sad reality: I don’t otherwise feel justified in saying “No… I choose not to help in that way today” or “I need a day off” or — heaven forbid — “I have a custom of taking a day for Sabbath each week.”
I actually enjoyed being in the hospital a week with my cancer surgery. I believe that my beloved Dr. Sanzaro orchestrated that possibility, knowing that I had three small children at home… but also a week alone in the hospital afforded me the space and time to reflect on having cancer and it afforded a bit of welcome sabbath (magazines, books, sleep, good music).
Don’t those brain surgery patients need a minute to process brain surgery, or whatever illness precipitated the need?
Or don’t they relish being able to say, “I can’t run the xerox machine tomorrow. I had brain surgery.” Try it. It works amazingly well… unless technology continues to mitigate against sensible and God-given gifts and rights, in which case we may get to the point of “We offer brain surgery during your lunch hour.” Ugh.