Should I ask for the Sacrament of the Sick?

I am in RCIA. I have not yet gone to confession with absolution nor have I had confirmation or first communion in the Catholic Church. I was baptized as an infant in the Methodist Church.

Last summer, I became convinced that the Holy Eucharist in the Catholic Church is the body of Christ just as the Catholics say.

Because of family history of colon polyps and colon cancer, my doctor wanted me to get a colonoscopy last summer. I put it off because I did not want any slight risk of mortality when I had not yet had Confession, Penance or Holy Communion. I just turned 50. Typically I’m not the sort who goes to doctors much if I can help it. I’m not usually a hypochondriac. I usually haven’t seen the doctor often enough.

I went to the doctor again recently because I noticed my blood pressure has been up. Typically 165 over 95. And when he did blood-work, my triglycerides were over 500 (anything over 149 is supposed to be high). So the doc put me on some new medicine to lower triglicerides. He is not yet treating the blood pressure. He had me buy a really good blood pressure meter for home use so I can track it and let him know in a few weeks so he might get me on some medication. And he wants me to get the colonoscopy so that is now scheduled for mid-January (in just a few weeks).

I talked with a technician at the hospital today. A colonoscopy exam has a 2 in 1,000 probability of a serious consequence. Additionally, sometimes a person may not respond well to sedation and general anesthesia may be required. Usually such a case would be rescheduled, but sometimes the anesthetist is available and the colonoscopy proceeds with general anesthesia. If there are polyps that need to be removed, perhaps the risk is higher. And in my case, I suppose I have a higher-than-average probability that there are polyps (family history).

As far as I know, I accept all the dogmas including Mary’s Assumption, Immaculate Conception, Queen of Heaven, etc. I also love the Rosary. To me, the biggest struggle with becoming Catholic is to get rid of sin. I’ve been reading a lot of Catholic books, so I don’t feel like I don’t know enough about the faith. We just had the “Rite of Acceptance”.

QUESTION: What should I do? Possibilities:
(a) Just go ahead with the exam and don’t ask for “Anointing of the Sick”. I am uncomfortable with the slight risk because I have been such a bad sinner. I put it off before because I was worried about the risk – although a lot of people at Bingo say its nothing. Some people at Bingo get their colonoscopy with general anesthesia.
(b) Put off the exam until after Easter (“Full Communion”)
Unfortunately, I also need an annulment (full) and I suppose it is likely to take more than a year. However, I am quite confident that the annulment will be granted – I think it just takes time. I remarried a bit over nine years ago.
My doctor says he wants to make sure polyps or anything else is dealt with so I might not have to get cancer.
© Talk with my priest about it. And ask he to give me “Anointing of the Sick” the night before the procedure.
If so, do I need to do confession first? And also receive Holy Communion? I’m OK with this option if that is OK with my priest. The sedation is likely to make me forget the procedure and might even make me forget some of what happened the night before. I had a major operation once and forgot a lot of TV shows that I saw during the previous three months.
(d) You tell me. Maybe you have another idea I should do.

Dear jmm,

At first I was going to suggest that you ask your priest for the anointing–until you mentioned the need for an anulment. The only way I could encourage you to ask for any sacrament is for you and your spouse to live as brother and sister until your annulment is granted and you are validly married. You are in my prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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