The following is a transcript of the Patient Intake Interview between Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and Anne Johnson, Scheduled for Inpatient Orthopedic Surgery, week of 9/1/08.
Nurse: Hello, is this Mrs. Johnson?
Anne: Yes. Who's calling? If this is Direct TV, I've already told you a million times....
Nurse: Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, with final confirmation on your scheduled surgery.
Anne: Oh. Sorry.
Nurse: Your scheduled arrival time is 10:00 a.m. Please bring your insurance card.
Anne: If not for organized labor, I wouldn't have one of those. But yeah, I'll bring it.
Nurse: I have a note here about the medications you take ... emmmmmmm.....
Anne: Yeah. Can't miss those, no matter what. Don't blame me, I was born bipolar. Your orthopedic staff won't be real happy if they come to get me out of bed and I'm too depressed for PT. So keep the meds comin', babe.
Nurse: What is your religion, ma'am?
Anne: I already told you. Pagan. Which you classify as "Other."
Nurse: Yes, that's what it says. Do you have any dietary restrictions?
Anne: Yes. I do not eat salmon, out of respect for Fintan, the Salmon of Wisdom. I also abstain from all rotten, rancid, and overripe food. This is to be consumed only by the Sacred Thunderbirds. Please make note of this on my chart.
Nurse: No salmon, nothing rancid. Check. Now. When you arrive for surgery, make sure you are wearing no jewelry...
Anne: My faeries travel with me in glass balls that hang from around my neck. Are they okay?
Nurse: I beg your pardon?
Anne: Ah, never mind. Can I have my faeries ... errr ... jewelry ... in the recovery room?
Nurse: Oh yes, of course! Let me see if there's anything else. Oh! Can we arrange clergy visits for you during your inpatient stay?
Anne: Let me get this straight. You've got probably more than a dozen distinct Pagan faiths lumped under a meaningless term like "Other," and you're asking me if you can arrange a visit from a clergyperson of my faith? Okay, have at it! I want regular, scheduled visits from that "Other" clergyperson. (Thinking to herself: Oh PLEEEEEEZE let it be a Whirling Dervish! I'd love to see a Whirling Dervish!)
Nurse: Any other questions for me?
Anne: Yeah. Am I gonna live?
Nurse: We leave that up to the will of God.
Anne: Uh oh.