I like to do traditional things in a non-traditional way. Because I am really nervous about my surgery, I wanted to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. I love this sacrament, during which a person is anointed with oil and prayers for strength and healing are offered. For a long time, this Sacrament was relegated to being only a prayer for the dying – Last Rites, Extreme Unction. Some people still think of it with this narrow view and get a little freaked out when it is offered for a non-life threatening illness. I have participated in this Sacrament several times, for myself and loved ones, and I think it is beautiful. I always sense power in the prayers and the anointing. I really wanted to be anointed before my surgery. But, as I said, I like to do traditional things in a non-traditional way. So, I called up a priest friend and asked if he wanted to go out to dinner and if he would anoint me. He agreed and so we decided that he, John and I would meet at a local restaurant on Saturday.
We had a really lovely meal and got caught up on each other’s lives. I used to work closely with him and have missed him since he moved to another parish. It was great just to spend some time with him. After our meal, we went outside. The weather had turned cold, so we decided to sit in his car for the Sacrament. He prayed for me, prayers for my healing and strength to get through the surgery. He invited John to lay hands on my and they both prayed. Then, he anointed my forehead and hands with oil. It was just beautiful. I felt cherished and loved, by my friend, my husband and God. Saying the prayers in the car in a restaurant parking lot was not silly or contrived. It was friendly and peaceful and intimate. We were in a safe cocoon, with the impending storm of my surgery held at bay. The thought of those prayers really does strengthen me as I think about my vitrectomy on Thursday. I am grateful that my priest friend took the time to meet with me. I am thankful for the grace of this Sacrament.
The moderator of the MD Forum, where all kinds of questions about Macular Degeneration are answered, sent me a photo essay that one man made about his vitrectomy. It is very gross. If you like that sort of thing, you can find it http://www.mdsupport.org/surgery.html . I like to be prepared, but I kind of wish I had never seen these pictures! The good news is, this is a very routine operation for my rs and he is completely confident that everything will go well. I have the prayers of my family, friends, and now the whole Church behind me, so I am feeling prepared to face this surgery. Now I just have to hang in there until Thursday.