I am one of those people that by simply being lead to an examination room, my pulse and BP can leap at least 20 - 30 points. It's nearly reflex. I always preface any attempt to record my vitals with the fact that I have serious "White Coat Syndrome", but being the paranoid person I can be in what I perceive to be threatening situations, I'm sure that whoever is getting ready to slap a blood pressure cuff on my arm has already decided that I should be in a psychiatrists office, rather than taking up the valuable time of an internist dedicated to treating ill people who can actually be fixed, cured, whatever.
Last week, however, was a totally different ballgame. When my number came up...err, my name was called and I was lead back through the medical maze of exam rooms, offices, labs and a few rooms I don't even want to think about what might be going on in there, I was the charge of such a kind and wonderful nurse. I had never seen her at my doctor's office before. She exuded calm, understanding and emitted this foreign feeling that everything really WAS going to be just fine and that maybe, just maybe, I wasn't sporting the early signs of some deadly form of a rare and impossible to treat pneumonia, the likes of which has never been seen by anyone working at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. For as much as I dread any contact with medical types, I had to admit that I already liked this woman, even if she was about to stick a thermometer in my mouth and that darn BP cuff on my arm.
She engaged me in conversation and not the benign kind where the person feigns interest, but couldn't care less about the response. This lady really seemed to listen and she even went so far as to actually make eye contact with me as I was talking. She asked me questions, not exclusively of the medical variety, and seemed to listen to my responses. Listening can be a very powerful act, particularly when it's exercised with care and concern.
As she checked to see if I was febrile and evaluated my pulse to see if it was charging off the charts, I made my perfunctory disclaimer that, though it was nothing against her, I would probably be elevated more than a few points. Pulse included. She smiled and invited me to relax. What was this new approach to healthcare I was in the presence of and where had this woman been all my life as I had historically been handled by careless interrogators, asking a litany of questions, nearly making me feel guilty for succumbing to whatever bug brought me to the doctor in the first place? Exactly what planet was I on???
I really became suspicious when she didn't scowl upon loosening the cuff and gently releasing my wrist, rather than shaking her head, as so many have done before, and annoyingly informing me we would need to try this again, because the reading ascertained couldn't possibly be right. Because of her gentle manner and kind countenance, it would seem that my BP was well within normal limits and my pulse was under 90. I got so excited I bet my BP shot up and my pulse quickened at the mere pronouncement of being in the strange range of normal! Thank God it was after she had penned in her findings on my chart.
What you are about to read, could be labeled "Confessions of a dangerous mind", but I don't think my mind is so much dangerous as it is just plain tinged with a bit too much misplaced imagination and looking for signs that simply don't exist. I used to do the same thing when I was flying and would hear something like the wing flaps being repositioned. A perfectly normal occurance, but back when I used to be terrifed of flying, I was pretty sure we were about to crash and burn. Now don't get me wrong, I think it's a fine thing to have an active imagination and I really wouldn't trade mine in, even if it does fire off a few miscues now and again, but here's a tiny peek into where my mind can go when I am sick and feel a little more vulnerable than usual. They say confession is good for the soul, so my soul will surely feel even better after publishing the following few paragraphs.
Along with some of that gray matter I am purported to have, I think there must be some silly putty mixed in.
So there I am, finally alone with my thoughts in the examination room. Not a safe place for me to be - alone with my thoughts! And I start thinking, "oh wait, I "get it". They could probably tell instantly, as I walked in the waiting room, that I was about to be diagnosed with some horrible tropical illness found only in the African Congo* and that I wasn't long for this world. That had to be it. That was the reason for the "special treatment" and why they left Nurse Ratchet with the folks who had a prayer of recovering. I was obviously paired with the nurse that gently buffered the speech delivered by my kindly doctor that begins with, "Well, I have bad news and I have bad news. Which do you want first?". That would be the cue for my newfound Florence Nightingale, who would squeeze my clammy hand as I learned that I had, at most, another six hours to live and that I had better get my affairs in order and update the will that I have never made. I've always meant to have a will made, it's just hard to decide which debts to assign to which kid.
But back to the point: My 18 year old son and 21 year old daughter were about to become,
*The reference to African Congo should not be confused with Congo African Grey Parrots. While I would not welcome some viral disease that originated from the Congo, I have owned two African Grey Parrots. Sadly, I moved and had to leave them behind. Someday, I want another African Grey Parrot and if you know where I can find one at a fairly reasonable price, by all means let me know! Feel free to E-mail me at SusieWrites@ec.rr.com. I'll even name it after you! :-)