Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Really, What are we so afraid of?

Of course, by now we all know that I "deal" with pain by creating "death by--" scenarios in my head. I had a close call today-- nearly had a total melt-down on the way to lunch with the English Dept. Called a friend of mine and she talked me back from the ledge-- see, I'm not totally tapped out on friends who are used to my stress-induced death-throes :) Paige and Kristen (and dear Don) indulge me for a few moments, but they know.... And Kristen has real physical woes, and Paige...well, she's a nurse practitioner and knows everything, so I'm completely screwed there. She's always sweet, but I figure, I'm calling her in a panic at 1:45 in the afternoon, right? Her hands still smell like hospital soap as she picks up her cell phone, sounding all chipper and brilliant: "Hey-- what's up?" she says into the phone. "What does it feel like to have a tumor in your forearm? Can you die from a toothache? Is it possible that one of my boobs is bigger than the other? Is that okay?" Paige listens patiently, but it occurs to me that this woman was probably elbow-deep in somebody's chest cavity a few minutes ago, or transporting a lung by helicopter from a cadaver.... Her kindness to me, to listen to me, is overwhelming. I lack perspective, I believe...

But sometimes it's just out of control. So I called Donna-- I called her for something else, but I was surprised when I all of a sudden felt tears sneaking up on me somewhere between the old jail and the former First Baptist church in old town. Seconds. All I can think of is the People magazine article about this girl whose sister had to be a surrogate for her because when she was younger she had a lump in her groin that turned out to be some completely unpronounceable tumor.

So of course, I must have that, too.

Thing is, I have had a certain irregularity, but it has been there for like 2 years. When I mentioned it to (of course) Paige this afternoon, she had to agree with me that, if it was a cancerous tumor "it probably would have killed me already, right?" Something else I accidentally read had to do with angina-- I don't know what that is except that my friend Kenny mentioned it once and I never, ever look at WebMD-- I think his grandfather had it when we were in high school?-- and it had to do with something gastrointestinal and some kind of stomach pain and that loads of people die from it and doctors miss it all the time.


So I talked with Donna for a little while and it was distracting and that was perfect. Lunch with EngDept was fun -- the whole department is a cooky blast, but my brain cranked right back into hypochondria when I got back in the car. My hormones and having cramps don't help (I'm still struggling to figure out how God felt that the hand women were dealt is fair exactly? Not sure I see where men get their share...unless it's being married to us...).

So, gradually my work piled up enough (read: people who were FINISHED with their work came to talk to me while I was trying to figure out percentages-- that's okay, Rachel. I think that's the only math we'll ever have to do) and I forgot about my latest crippling moment. This thing is getting ridiculous, but I have a sneaking suspicion that something good may come of it...more on that another time. Anyway, Caroline actually suggested a good shrink and was totally in earnest, so now I KNOW I need to get a handle on this. It's the first time in 20+ years that I have had someone tell me that I need to get my head shrunk.... I LOVED going to the counselor back in the day, but it's really something when someone suggests that you should seek therapy...

So, I was headed off to bed-- it's late and Don is ignoring me because I made the mistake of bringing Ender's Game home for him to read--when I decided to look at my friend Dana's Facebook page. I noticed that she had joined a group for her sister-in-law, Katie Reider (her brother is Robbie Reider, a worship leader with Vineyard Music), a fantastic folk musician out of Cincinnati. I clicked on it and realized that I didn't even know what a problem was. Please check out her website. This tumor in her jaw has spread to her sinus cavity, taken one of her eyes and robbed her of her voice. If you go to her site, you can read her story and help her cause by donating a dollar to hear her music. And it's worth listening to.

But here's how sick I am: I have had a toothache for almost 7 years (it's just a botched root canal and I didn't have time or dental insurance for a long time) and I'm reading about this sweet woman and suddenly, of course, I have all the symptoms.... Please. No I don't. Ridiculous. Hypochondria sucks. It is the most selfish MIND disease (why am I not mortified and terrified to have a bonafide case of THIS?). Gotta get hold of this thing.

It's funny, though, that I am not so tormented with the monsters that I know for SURE are lurking. Just the "possible" ones. Coward.

And really, what am I so afraid of? Jesus has us... in Him we live, and we move, and we have our being. We really, really do.

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