Eleven days into July, not much to show for it, at least not that I remember. Time is like that for me now. If I don’t write things down, I have no memory of them; there are barely even blurry impressions.
Once again, I’m in the throes of a sort-of bout of health anxiety. I believe I may have finally reached the end-stages of hypochondria, at which point if I were to receive a sought-after diagnosis, I’d be too worn out to even deal with it. I’ve played out various scenarios so many times in my mind that I don’t think I have the energy left for the real thing.
I was going to call my endless trips to doctors “exhausting,” but I realized that’s disrespectful to people who actually need to go to doctors, so I’ll settle for calling them “exhausting-the-precious-time-and-resources-of-other-people.”
The other day, I visited my endocrinologist to monitor my thyroid disease. Yet, somehow I left the office with an order for a breast and axillary (armpit) lymph node ultrasound. But why? Did I somehow telepathically influence the doctor to give me yet another useless test, or do I actually have anything to worry about?
My mother was waiting for me in the car, and when I got in, I lied and said the test was for my thyroid, just a baseline check because I hadn’t had one in a year.
After this test, if everything comes out alright, I’m just going to hang up my hypochondriac’s hat and call it day. Whatever happens in the future, happens. I can’t give any more time to poking and prodding myself, or researching medical problems and watching cancer vlogs. I trapped myself into it by saying, “Well, if a person has to suffer through this, then the least I can do is listen.” But sometimes I swear that I’m living vicariously through them in preparation of when my day comes.
We hypochondriacs have a strange relation to doctors—on the one hand, we distrust them and we don’t believe them when they say we’re fine, because we’re dying, but we must rely on them to rubber-stamp our self-diagnosis. Nothing is real until they say so, even though we’re dying.
And yes, the doctor did burp while handwriting his copious notes and I was appalled and grinned behind my mask and felt a little nervous too. Ought I to lose respect in such a situation, or since it was very minimal, let it pass? Is this doctor even any good? Does a competent doctor burp? How many more false alarms will these people give me?
Meanwhile, my most recent PMS was very weepy and everything is still making me sad.
Just imagine: I have three new trainees, and all of them couldn’t start on time because someone in their lives either died or is on the verge of death. And the scary part is that I actually believe them. Why, I even cried a bit when I thought about it. Well, I did laugh a little too. Sometimes I laugh when it’s not funny.
Then I was pushing my cart through CVS and I saw this:
How freaking depressing is that? I looked it up on Amazon and the testimonials are heartbreaking. People talk about how they gave the toy to their parent with dementia and how they loved it, petted it, etc., in some cases even believing it’s real. How sad that society has reached the point at which we hand off our elderly to the care of a stuffed animal, the elderly whose minds have eroded enough as to be unaware that they are holding a dead thing instead of a living hand, that they’re hearing a robotic “meow” instead of a human “I love you.”
Sometimes the sadness of life is just too overwhelming. Everything seems so pathetic, so pitiable, that you could cry just thinking about it. So pointless. Why does everything have to age and decay and die and be so, so sad?
I spend about an hour and a half every Friday night at church—Mass followed by an hour of Adoration. I am fortunate to belong to a beautiful church; its architecture and interior encourage transcendent thoughts. The only thing that makes me feel any better is reflecting that someday all of this misery shall pass, it will all be left behind us, and there will be peace.
If souls are eternal, what is a bothersome armpit to me? They’ll scan my breast and armpit and if it’s nothing, then I’ll live with the bother. And if it’s something, I’ll have no choice but to accept it. Why kick and scream? Where has kicking and screaming got me?
My principle shall be this: when it comes to myself, think of the eternal and not put so much importance on my own problems. When it comes to others, treat their problems as of immediate importance.
That doesn’t mean I won’t vent, because I have feelings and fears and they simply have to be dealt with. But I can’t let them overcome me. Recognize, rationalize, release.
All of this, of course, will go out the window Monday morning at 10am, because I have no self-control.