I had my appointment at Cedars-Sanai, yesterday. It didn't go like I hoped it would, but I guess thems' the breaks. Frankly, I knew going in that this doctor is a prominent surgeon in his field, but I was hoping he wouldn't be quick to try that option in my case. I was wrong. What really disappointed me was that I was being handed surgery paperwork before I saw the doctor. What the hell? On one hand, I guess that by the time you're sent to him, the problem is likely bad and he's just assuming you're going to jump at any solution he presents. On the other hand, I'm of the (apparently naive) belief that medical professionals should see the patients and read the chart before suggesting major surgery. Anyway, I don't know what I'm going to do at this point. I just know that as much as my left kidney is a pain just inches above my ass, I do like having it and am not eager to get rid of it or have it filled with plastic. Watching P1 go through a nephrectomy and multiple surgeries gave me an insight to that sort of approach and, though it was the right thing for her, it's not for me. So...what does this have to do with atheism?
Since March 21, I've passed four stones a week (or more). There's no getting around that pain- even with narcotics. I can personally attest to the fact that, yes, it is worse than giving birth. The pain of giving birth has a purpose - you get a cute little baby who you love so intensely that you forget the ordeal of birth within minutes. But, kidney stones are ugly and excruciating. Anyway, last week, while laying on my bathroom floor because I couldn't wake Pdaddy up to help me get to bed, I had this momentary, fleeting thought that "I wish I could pray to stop this pain." *pause* Yeah. It caught me off guard. I don't know where, other than pure pain, it came from. I never prayed from relief from pain or illness even when I was a believer. And, that's the point I'm trying to get to: how much of belief is wanting the option to believe that a deity will here you and care enough to help? How much of belief is a response to not wanting to deal with life's crappy parts by yourself? I would guess that it's a big part of why people believe. If Pdaddy or my kids had been there to help distract me or get me back in bed, then I have no doubt I would've never got to the point where I would think about appealing to a deity. Religion preys on vulnerability. It appeals to you at the exact moments when you're dealing with something outside your power to control and when you feel there's no one who can help. I don't know if my prayer thought came from years of Catholic conditioning or desperation - maybe both. But, those are really bad reasons to believe. Why would any deity, or religion, want to manipulate people in the worst hours of your life? It's dysfunctional.
Then I saw the little pamphlet on the doctor's counter, yesterday. I meant to grab a copy so I could scan it, but...I was a crying mess when we finally left. It said something like, "In your moment of need, please don't hesitate to dial extension XXX and request a spiritual leader of your faith...We care about your whole health." It was the last part that seemed out of place. "We care about your whole health." I don't know why that bothers me. If you have an idea and can phrase what it is that bugs me about that, then please leave your insight here.
Anyway, when we left, we took Sunset Blvd. through Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, and Westwood to get to the 405. Dealing with the 101 didn't appeal to us at 3:30pm. But, I digress. We went past the Roxy and the Whisky-a-go-go. For those who aren't familiar with the Hollywood scene, these are famous night clubs. They're places where bands and comedians make names for themselves. Anyway, outside of both were guys holding sandwich board signs. Because I was in the back of our mini-van, on an air mattress, I only saw a few of the signs, but I saw enough. One said, "Don't Support Satan" on the front, with an address for a church on the back. Another said, "Death metal is deadly." (front) and "He loves you." The third guy's boards said "Hollywood - Land of sin and vice."
Ok. For one, if they're trying to reach the people who go to these clubs, then maybe 3:30 in the afternoon is the wrong time. In fact, I question their commitment to the cause. If they really wanted to reach the intended audience, then 3:30am would seem like a better time. No? The sign that said "He loves you." was very funny because it was so vague and, at one point, he was standing next to the guy with the sign that said "Don't support Satan." LOL As for the "Land of Sin and Vice", I really thought that was Vegas? Religious people like this have far too much free time. And, $20 says that these holy rollers were members of the audience in the 80's. I'm sure they've burned the pictures of themselves looking like Dee Snyder and jonesing for hookers and blow. Good times.