Monday, March 15, 2010


Yesterday I had my neutral pulpit preach and pulpit committee interview for the church over in the next county.

I told myself to treat it just like any other pulpit supply engagement; to preach the Word and minister to the people and give God the glory. But I couldn't help it-- I was afflicted with a slight buzz of nerves. Not enough to make me mess anything up, but enough to make me trip over my mouth just a little more than usual. And to have lousy breath support during the hymns, despite what's been beaten into me at Monday night community choir practice.

The pastor search committee took me to a local family restaurant afterwards for the interview. It surprised me that they didn't take advantage of the loooonnnnng wait we had to get our food to start with the questions. Instead, general conversation prevailed. They waited to get down to business until everyone was halfway through their food. Not that good an idea with me-- I'm a slow eater, and if I have to interrupt my eating to answer or ask questions, I'll be slower still.

Interview seemed to go well . . . good interchange of ideas, lots of information given about the church and its ministry. But I don't think they asked me that many questions. Five or six, tops. And then the chairwoman looked around and said, "I think we've heard all we need to hear. Blogwen," she asked, "Is there anything else you wanted to ask?" And there was just that something that told me the answer she expected was, "No, thank you, of course not."

I ignored it. Maybe I shouldn't have, but if my asking more questions about the church and reflecting how my experience and ideas would fit in with them was going to blow my standing with a nominating committee, I don't know that I'd want to accept their call. Because if that's all it would take to lose their favor, better it should happen now rather than later, when I'm wrestling with church crocodiles.

In any event, at that stage it seemed the atmosphere stiffened. Arms were folded over breasts. Eyes seemed to convey a profound lack of interest. I asked how soon they hoped to make a decision, to judge whether I should say anything about my upcoming surgery. Chairwoman told me "We're in no hurry. We've just signed our interim pastor up for another six months. Though of course we can break that, if we get the Right Pastor in." Very, very non-committal.

They hope to all get together this coming Sunday to sort through the candidates they've interviewed and come up with a short list. They'll let me know after that.

Then it was over, everyone got up, and the previous friendly atmosphere prevailed once more.

So who knows what that will all mean.

This morning, then, I went in for my CT scan, up at the local hospital. I'm not totally sure what it's supposed to show; I mean, if the gyn-onc thinks the tumor is benign and I'm getting everything out in a week and a half, why not just do it and save the money? But I went.

Didn't realize they make you drink nearly a liter of iodine-laced sterilized water after you get there, then sit for an hour or so while it runs through. I guess the idea is to deposit the chemical, because they do let you use the loo before the scan.

Then, unlike others I saw there in the Radiology Imaging waiting room, I did not have to strip off and put on a hospital gown for my scan. Just lay there on the table-bed in my street clothes, with an IV drip going into my right arm. Thought it was very fortuitious that I happened to put on a pair of slacks with a side zipper this morning; nothing to get in the way of the x-rays.

There was a slight mishap when the nurse-technician didn't get the IV needle in right the first time and made me bleed on the bedsheet. But she got it in on the second try and fetched a towel to keep me and my cashmere sweater out of my own blood. And the only thing that (momentarily) concerned me about the procedure was the requirement that I lie with my arms stretched straight "above" my head. I have rather dodgy shoulder joints, which have been known to pop out of joint when I get into positions like that. Well, it hurt a little, but nothing shifted.

Through the IV they run another chemical-- I forget which one-- that interacts with the iodine and the x-rays to give a good picture. "It'll make you feel really warm for a minute," said the nurse tech. Fine with me-- I was freezing after all that cold water. When that was in me, I was ready to go.

The CT machine is like a big donut that they slide you in and out of. The funny thing is that a computer voice orders you to "Breathe in!"-- and I did, in my best choir intercostal style-- and then it told me to "Breathe!" What? I did just breathe! When may I exhale?

I asked the technician. Oh. For this machine, "Breathe!" does mean "Exhale."

Ha. Try telling that to my choir director.

I underwent this process three times, then the test was over. I asked about the breathing. That's to keep your organs still, she said. I asked could I see the pictures. That's for my surgeon to show me, she said. His office should be calling me on Thursday or Friday to tell me the results.

OK. So that's two tests in two days and we'll see how well I did on both.

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