“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners.”
Mark 2:17 was the first verse of Scripture that I ever memorized. “Doctor Jesus” was the theme for the summer camp that I went to between sixth and seventh grade, and the camp “t-shirt” that year was a greenish-gray hospital scrub with a terrible drawing of Jesus in a doctor’s lab coat emblazoned on the back. The whole thing strikes me as more than a little hokey and silly in retrospect, but if I can still recall the verse they were trying to teach from 18 years later, then I guess it worked. Well played, Nazarene youth camp leaders. Well played.
My relationship with doctors has generally been unhealthy. There are very few kinds of authority in my life which I accept uncritically; I’m the kind of person who must question and understand everything. Unfortunately, most of the doctors I’ve had have been people who seemed to like patients who just do what they’re told—and in fairness to them, some patients like that. I don’t. I treat my health the same way I treated my wedding-planning: I listen very politely and considerately to what other people think I should do, and then I do whatever the hell I want. My wedding, my body, same diff. I’ll certainly give greater weight to the opinion of a doctor in regards to my health, but in the end, there is no such thing as “doctor’s orders” for me. The only people who get me to do what they want me to do are the ones who persuade me to see things their way.
(Part 4 of TBD)
Pain is Inevitable
I’ve been through a lot of painful experiences in my life. Not as much as some, but perhaps more than most. How pain and suffering relates to my Christian journey is something that I have thought about a lot as of late.
From childhood until my teenage years, my experiences included the following:
Kidnapping & Murder
In August of 1991, when I was 9 years old, our family received a call from some friends of ours. These friends had moved from Anchorage to a small Alaskan town called Tazlina some months before. They were calling to report that their 11 year-old daughter, Mandy, had gone missing. She had disappeared while walking on the road to a friend’s house.
At first I wasn’t even worried, for the simple reason that I didn’t believe anything so terrible could happen to someone I knew. I’d heard about kidnappings on Unsolved Mysteries and America’s Most Wanted, but stuff like that only happened to far-away people in far-away places. I believed they would find Mandy alive and well, and there would be a perfectly rationale explanation for where she had been.
Her body was found ten days after she had disappeared. She had been shot twice in the head with a .22 and raped by an inanimate object. The world suddenly seemed like a much darker and scarier place. 
Hard to believe that it was just over ten years ago that I attended the first ward event of the 2002-2003 school year for my Heritage Halls ward at Brigham Young University. I felt a pang of disappointment as I surveyed this year’s buffet of men. No, I didn’t believe I had any future with a Mormon man, but it was always fun to look, and this yearly crop wasn’t giving me much to look at. Finally my eyes rested on a stand-out in the crowd. He was tall and thin with pale blue eyes, a handsome face, and short, curly black hair. And he… Oh my gosh, is he looking at me?! Our eyes met. I quickly looked the other way and tried to pretend I hadn’t been checking him out. Well, at least there’s one guy in this ward who isn’t short and ugly, I thought.
Fourteen months later (hey, this was Utah) and we were saying “I do” at a small Pentecostal church in Provo. Nine years later and we’re still here.
The triage nurse told us to have a seat in the waiting room. I found myself scrunched into my chair in child’s pose, my head resting in my husband’s lap. I imagine there are few things more ridiculous-looking than a 6’0″ woman curled into child’s pose sobbing, but it seemed to lessen the pain ever-so-slightly, so there I was. I had reached the point of not caring about a public display of pain. My husband gently stroked my hair and whispered that it was going to be all right, but I could hear the worry in his voice.
This time, the ER docs ordered a CT scan and wrote me a prescription for narcotic painkillers: methocarbamol and hydrocodone. Those drugs may have addled my brain and made me think everything was funnier, but they definitely took my pain away and allowed me to become semi-functional again. My pain was still bad though. Throughout the weekend, I found myself counting down the hours until I could take another pill as the pain in my neck began to creep back.
The doctors also told me to make an appointment with my PCP to have my neck evaluated; however, the last PCP I had seen was 12 miles away in Mundelein, and I had only seen her once or twice, the last time being ~18 months prior, so naturally, I didn’t do this. I kind of treat doctors the same way I was (at the time) treating God: I avoid them until I desperately need something from them. I had a temporary solution to my symptoms and didn’t really care about treating the cause.
I woke up sick. Lightheaded, nauseous, my neck aching and throbbing like it needed to be popped. I almost never throw up. It’s like I have a high fortitude save, so I have to roll a 1 to throw up. In nine months of being pregnant with my daughter back in 2005-2006, it only happened once. Yet, on Saturday August 4, I threw up.
My summer had been pretty awesome up to that point. Scratch that, my entire year had been mostly awesome. I had completed 19 credits with nothing lower than a B (hey, it was Calvin—what do you want from me?), I had switched my thesis topic to something that I am zealously passionate about, I was eating healthier (thank you pescetarianism), I had kicked my dependency on caffeine, and I was learning to cook and losing weight. I had co-organized a new Mormon studies blog with the help of 24+ people much smarter and sexier than I am, and I’d had a blast at the 2012 Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake City. John Dehlin called me a “rock star” after one of my sessions, so it must be true. I seemed to have my depression and anxiety under control, and it dawned on me that I felt happier with my life than I had been in years. I didn’t remember feeling so happy since my mother was alive.
My guilty secret was that I was finding all of this wholeness and balance and happiness without God.
I interrupt my self-imposed moratorium on using ClobberBlog to comment on politics to bring you this much-needed bit of snark, in the form of an
Rep. Akin of Missouri, though I applaud your apparent taste in film, I think you should know that Mitchell Lichtenstein’s 2007 black horror comedy Teeth was a work of fiction, not a documentary on the female anatomy. What I’m trying to say is, we women don’t really have dentata in our vaginas. When we are raped, our bodies do not possess “ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Sexual intercourse via coercion has just as much a chance of conceiving a child as consensual sex.
I know that you have since tried to walk back a portion of your remarks, but I have not seen you try to walk back your ignorance. Since approximately 51.47% of your state is female, maybe you shouldn’t be in a position to vote on problems that effect women if you can’t be bothered to learn about us, hmm?
As someone who is pro-life, Republican, and feminist (yes, I self-identify as all of those things), I just want to encourage you to consider stepping down from this election. I think you’ve had a Clayton Williams moment, and I don’t believe you will recover from it.