Letter to the Editor

A confession to make

To the editor:

My viewpoint for a number of years has been Boston has Lahey Clinic and Rochester, Minn., has Mayo brothers. We have St. Mary's. Let's leave it like it is.

In 1936 SMI was on Forbes Street. During lunch hour I was playing on East Main Street with two classmates, "Gooch" Covell and "T" McDermott. Now, we all know, you shouldn't run out between cars, right? We also know you can always tell an Irishman, but you can't tell him much, right? This Irishman was 9 years old and he ran out between cars. He was struck by a truck driven by a relation of the Allen family of Eagle Street. He did a job on my extremities and I ended up with a fractured skull. I was taken to St. Mary's Hospital and my doctor, Dr. Dixon, didn't know if I would ever walk again. My mother didn't have much faith in medical procedures. She claimed that's why they call it "practicing" medicine because nobody has got it right. After a lengthy stay in the hospital she managed to get me up to the Auriesville Shrine. There, they applied the relics of Kateri Tekawitha and Father Isaac Jogues. Four months later I was walking. Since then, the following has occurred:

1.) Tonsils removed.

2.) Adenoids removed.

3.) Circumcision.

4.) Gall stones removed.

5.) Gall bladder removed.

6.) Six cystoscopes for removal of kidney stones.

7.) Prostate removed.

8.) Ten to 12 colonoscopies.

9.) Endless problems.

10.) Quadruple bypass.

11.) Femoral bypass of right leg.

12.) Neuropathy which means I go nowhere without a wheelchair or a walker.

13.) Several TIA's which has left my right side somewhat useless.

14.) I am diabetic and receive insulin two times daily.

In addition I take 13 pills every day.

My wife has lost the hearing in her left ear and recently concluded treatment, successfully, for bladder cancer. Outside of these minor inconveniences, we're doing just great.

My wife asks me every so often, in the event of my demise, if I wish to be buried or cremated. My reply: "Surprise me." Like I'm going to know what's going on.

Now, I can bare my soul, for the deception I pulled off at the hospital. A while back I was being admitted for a procedure. The nurse had taken by vital signs and was writing down my medicare number. She looked at my signature, and then looked at my age 86, and she asked me if I was Dr. Sheridan's father. I neither acknowledged nor denied this. I just nodded my head slightly and I guess she took this as an affirmative answer. Within 20 minutes, I was in a private room, TV going full blast and eating a roast beef dinner. I had a nursing staff of three who looked like Clara Barton, Edith Cavell and Florence Nightingale. Having been raised in a series of Catholic homes, I was cognizant of the wrong I had committed. I would have to designate this as a venial sin as opposed to a mortal sin. After all, it was an error of omission, not commission.

I feel better having shared this with you.

Sister Patricia Ann Corbett stopped in to see me every day. I must have looked very poorly because she asked me, as a favor, would I please go to confession and communion? I told her that I had made my peace with God so communion was a given. I could not comply with confession because once I went into the cubicle, I would have to have a picnic basket, because I'd be in there quite a while.

More to follow.

James Sheridan,