Saturday, October 11, 2008

What is in a Name?

Our names are precious to us. Seeing my name written on anything makes me think of myself and who I am as a flesh and blood person. It just so happens my name is a little off on my credit card but I do not really care about that. It shows how much I value the small piece of plastic. They just forgot to leave a space where there should be a space. It seems the credit card companies do not like three names. For professional reasons, I have always gone by three names---my first, my maiden name and my last name. I have eliminated the middle name given to me at birth. I do not like to use an initial because my middle maiden name is my name. I probably should have hyphenated my maiden name to my last name but I wanted the names to be separate and distinct.

Since I have a short four letter maiden name that could be a first name or last name or it could be a girl's name or boy's name, we decided both of our children would have it as a middle name. Unfortunately, again since we did not hyphenate, their middle names have become initials on most everything to my chagrin. We just received new credit cards for the four of us since the card was about to expire. By the way, we only use two credit cards----one for Costco and this one. Having our kids use our same card helps us keep track of their expenses and it has worked well for us. Anyway, Kaley's card came with a couple of extra letters in her name. Where they came up with what they came up with, we will never know. People always have trouble with the name Kaley, I guess. But again, it is not worth changing. Besides, it is fun to see what kind of junk mail comes with the slightly different name and it is amazing the network out there.

Obviously, my lemons to water balloons journey has produced piles of paperwork, bills, medical records, and documents. Each time I go in for chemo, they put my name on a hospital band. When I go in for a blood draw the Thursday before my chemo, they verify my name on the blood order and then afterwards, I am to watch as they write my name on all of the little vials of blood. One of the things about what I have been going through that bothers me is seeing my name alongside or above the words "colon cancer." It constantly startles me. It is as if my name has become synonymous with those two words.

Since my name is valuable to me, I would like it to be separate and apart from my illness. My illness is not who I am. My name is who I am. However, I am happy that insurance companies and medical care providers do not like three names either.

My three names, first, maiden, and last still remain untainted by the words of my disease. And this, my dear folks, is who I really am!