I am healthy, I have excellent health insurance, I am in a monogamous relationship and I am terrified of going to the “lady doctor” which I had to do today. I used to treat myself to a coffee afterwards – the $4 kind from Starbucks that was more milkshake than actual coffee as some sort of reward for going. I know that I am lucky to be able to go and get preventive care and screenings and that I am in a good place with no complicated health problems to speak of, so what gives?
I am incredibly lucky. And also slightly superstitious. That’s why.
I have been going to the same doctor in the same practice for more than ten years. My doctor and her husband share a practice and they delivered each of my children. The building is clean, bright and centrally located. Yet as I sit in the waiting room, my hands shake, my throat is dry and my palm sweat (though all that burned energy rarely translates to that scale I am forced to step on just one door away from where I fidget in my seat). Though I know I am only supposed to devote energy to my dreams and intentions, my thoughts slip to the other shoe I am sure will fall at the culmination of my visit. Morbidly, I prepare for some horrific news, wavering back and forth from panic to serenity in those 8-10 minutes between signing in and unwrapping the paper gown. My doctor’s children, who were the ages of my kids when I met her are now in their final years of high school and our conversation turns to them and how quickly time passes. I have no questions or updates really and I wonder if I have given anything away as I hand in my paperwork, noticing that my heart rate is a steady 120 beats per minute.
Sometimes I look at my life and think everything is falling apart in front of my eyes – this usually dovetails nicely with an appliance going on strike or other unbudgeted major purchase on the horizon, but it doesn’t really get to me because, that stuff is literally just stuff. A P.I.T.A., but temporary and not a barrier to me being alive. Goodness surrounds me and I wonder if I have appreciated it enough when faced with going to the doctor and possibly uncovering some simmering interloper to my health and happiness.
In the end, today’s visit ended with the same words – all is well – and I struggle to reabsorb the tears or gratitude that I feel welling up. I am usually quick to downplay my own courage, focusing on soldiers in combat or emergency responders in critical situations, but there is courage to doing the things you fear (even if those worries are unfounded) and today I took my tiny victory. I skipped the latte, instead going home to revel in the mundane and gorgeously comforting experience of ‘just another day’, mopping floors, hanging laundry and putting away the same sneakers I have done over and over again. Maybe the ‘why’ of my worry lies somewhere in that – reminding that there is beauty in every part of life and joy in simply being a part of it all.