Saturday, September 11, 2010

Recollections: Providence Hospital


7 hours of brain surgery. In the waiting room: my husband, mother- and father-in-law, sister-in-law, my daughter, even my stake president. Then it was to ACC, Adult Critical Care (not my favorite place) and later, to my original room in the Neuro-unit. There were many gorgeous flower bouquets waiting for me there, cards, balloons, and even a giant goodies basket. A lovely detail: all my flowers seemed to match: bright purples, oranges, yellows. But maybe this was my altered state of mind. And of course, eventually there were well-wishers. I knew before I went in that I would have as many as 3 wards fasting for me, and it helped to know that. I have an amazing support system that continues on—and who read my blog—to you I pay verbal tribute.

Providence hospital is a Catholic institution. It has statues of Mary and the Crucifix placed throughout. At the beginning and end of each day, a prayer is said over the intercom. It is a good place, and I loved the prayers. Also, I spent a lot of time studying Catholic art while in college, and found those statues of Mary and the cross to be quite comforting. There is a medieval work called the Isenheim Altarpiece that shows a dreadful crucifix. It is the single most gruesome piece of religious artwork I know. Christ’s body is pocked, scarred, wasted, broken, bruised, diseased. It is absolutely abhorrent, but it was painted originally to remind the patients of Isenheim Hospital that Christ had already suffered all their afflictions, a message of hope, healing, and courage. Having now gone through a bit of my own Gethsemane, I appreciate more Isenheim’s message, and the faith it represents for the down-trodden, weary, and bleaguered.

I am not Catholic, but am LDS and very religious, so all the religious intonations were wonderful to me, and I believe, important for my speedy recovery.

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