Friday, March 03, 2006

Pastoral Care Hypochondria

Eric is an amazing adult leader in our youth group. He's one of those leaders that plans, organizes and runs a guy's dodge ball night at the church and tactfully informs me that I'm not invited (darn, I guess I'll have to take the night off).

When I heard Eric was scheduled for shoulder surgery to repair a muscle tear I decided to make a little pastoral call. So I prayed with him, told him to call if he needed anything, and advised him to enjoy the legal high while he could.

Halfway through our conversation Eric began describing the pain associated with his shoulder. He explained the movements that caused the pain, where he felt the pain, etc. It was here where I began to fail in my ability to give pastoral care. It was here where the light bulb went off in my head with the thought, "Hey wait a minute, I think I have that, too!" In a classic form of pastoral hypochondria my thoughts went from him to me. At Eric's advising I set up a doctor's appointment.

Fast forward three days.

...So I've just come back from an unassuring doctor's visit with a jittery doctor ("Your shoulder is popping? Your shoulder is popping! YOUR SHOULDER IS POPPING!!!"). I should know more about "the popping" next week. In the meantime I'm supposed to "exercise my shoulder without moving it," whatever that means.

Maybe I should pay a post-surgerical pastoral visit to Eric and ask him how his physical therapy is going.

5 comments:

rebekah said...

i had this thought about your shoulder: maybe you should call your old college friend, roommate, bridesmaid in your wedding, you know? i think you called her your sled dog (hahaha) or lapity... because, if i'm not mistaken, i think maybe she turned out to be something kinda odd -- like, maybe, a physical therapist ???

love ya, mandy. have fun with those "don't move your shoulder, shoulder exercises!" and give me a call if you need a second opinion :) from your own resident PT.

Tony Myles said...

Popping shoulders rock. I got mine when I took some kids to the Wisconsin Dells and rain ripped through our tents. We had to sleep in vans, and after just one night I ended up with a pinched nerve that tightened up my shoulder, eventually giving me the fun party trick that freaks the "bejeebers" out of my wife.

Kari said...

So...how are you doing now???

Dave Ward said...

Well at least for you, you didn't get hospital-phobia. By the end of two years of pastoring (the last year making me the primary pastoral visitor for 650 people) I got knots in my stomach thinking about hospitals. Even now I feel myself tensing up when I start to think about the smell. Oh yea, and the beeping. Beep...

Beep....

Beep....


Beeeeeeeeeeeep

I still remember the pale green color of skin just-dead people seemed to have.

It has taken me four years to get over going to a hospital. I still get a little queasy and uneasy.

But...look what I did...I have pastoral hypochondria too. Suddenly this became all about me. :)P HAA HAA!!!! Now that is funny.

Leave it to you to be so insightful, I don't even realize how insightful you are until after I ramble for a while.

Dave Ward said...

p.s. I figured out the picture thing. :) Just look into your blog help...it walks you through it. ~d