Thursday, February 03, 2011

Assuming the absolute worst whenever a doctor is involved

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Editorial section

Unless the weather forecast has changed, we're in for another wallop of snow again here in Moncton. The snowbanks are about as high as I've ever seen them. The birds in my back yard had better ration the seeds in the feeder I have out there because I literally can't reach it due to the depth of the snow.

There's one thing about winter... meetings, events and appointments are always tentative. Everything is "weather permitting" these days. From what I'm seeing in the weather forecast, today is supposed to be one of those forget-it-and-stay-home days.

Depending on what time the snow starts, I'm supposed to be getting routine blood tests today. Nothing out of the ordinary - just regular tests to ensure my blood hasn't turned to battery acid.

I made one mistake, though, when my doctor's office called to advise me of the appointment for the blood test. I refused to make an appointment for the results. I told them I'd just wait until my regular appointment later in March. "Just call me if there's something serious," I said.

Well, now, that was just dumb. Why did I say that? I know myself. Every time the telephone rings between today and my next month, I'm going to jump out of my skin, expecting the doctor's office to be on the other end of the line screaming at me to get in right away or my head will explode due to some mysterious illness.

"Brian? It's the doctor's office. He'd like to see you right away. Oh, we woke you? We know it's 5 a.m. but he wants to see you immediately.

This is the most urgent thing that has happened in the history of the world. Naked? We don't care if you sleep naked. Get in your car and come here now. Don't bother getting dressed. They'll eventually strip you naked when they embalm you at the funeral home later today anyway."

I hate it when that happens. With that said, I'm a positive thinker. I always assume things will work out. If an unexpected bill arrives in the mail, somehow the money to pay it shows up, too. If something else goes awry, somehow the solution comes to me either through inspiration or a suggestion from a friend.

But when it comes to the doctor, though, that all goes out the window. If someone were to come up to me and slam me in my left arm with a sledge hammer, I'd end up in the emergency room thinking I was having a heart attack. "But sir, you were clearly hit in the arm with a blunt object. The bone is broken and is sticking out of the skin."

"Nope!" I'd say. "Pain in my left arm means a heart attack. Get out the paddles and give me a boost."

Ever had swollen glands in your neck when you have a cold or the flu? Of course! Everyone has. No big deal. Wait a couple of days and they're gone. Everything is fine. Not with me, though. I lie in bed wondering how I'll handle the chemotherapy and hoping the pillow in the casket doesn't give me a kinked neck.

Then, I promise Baby Jesus that I'll go to church if he cures me. The next day, the swollen glands are gone and then I conveniently forget to go to church.

And people wonder why I don't go outside during thunderstorms. I tell you, the lightning bolts seek me out. "There's the guy who promised to go to church and didn't!" Zap! For a big guy, I can move pretty quickly when I need to, let me tell you.

I hurt my knee once and pretty much decided then and there that a wheelchair and prosthetic leg were in my future.

The bloody thing hurt like the dickens. Oh, I'm sure it was only a twinge compared to what some people with chronic knee pain go through. The second I hurt myself, though, I started the pattern of bargaining with God, Baby Jesus and every other being up there in the sky, from the guy who irons St. Peter's robes to the three wise men. (I have no idea what frankincense and myrrh are, but at least I could use the gold to put a nice plating on my casket.)

So, back to the doctor... I have no idea why I assume the worst. And what was I thinking when I told his office to only call me if there was something serious? If and when they call, I'll burst into tears like a little girl. "I knew it! I'm dying! I want Elton John to sing Candle in the Wind at my funeral. And I want the pope to do the eulogy. If Elton isn't available, get Bette Midler to sing Wind Beneath My Wings."

Of course, to avoid all this hysterical mess, I'm going to call the doctor's office to make an appointment specifically to get the results of the blood tests. In the past, everything has been fine. No sign of anything whatsoever. I have the cholesterol of someone who eats fat-free cardboard three times per day. My blood sugars are perfectly normal, too. I have no reason to believe that anything will be different this time.

That is - until those pesky beings up in the sky decide to get revenge for me not going to church and sneak gravy into the vial before it goes to the laboratory where they test the blood. "Sir, your cholesterol is so high that you are anatomically a pound of butter. You should be shaped like a brick and wrapped in foil."

All this drama, however, could be avoided by a nice big snow storm today. Let's hope everything is closed, because we all know that avoiding blood tests makes illnesses go away, right?

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