Wednesday. April 29, 2015.
Had a doctor’s appointment this afternoon. I almost blew it off. Too much to do. Too much else on my mind. What was he going to tell me anyway? “Well, looks like the diabetes hasn’t killed you yet. Keep up the good work.”? But I thought better of it. Would have been the third time I’d rescheduled and doctors can get persnickety about that. It’s almost as if they think they have other things to do with their time than be at my beck and call. And I was feeling sorry for myself. Here I was, worrying about everything and everybody else, hadn’t I earned the right to have someone worry about me for an hour or so? Didn’t I need to be worried over a bit? So off I went, already feeling better because I knew how pathetic I would appear to the doctor and nurses and they would soon be worrying about me right to my face.
Which sort of happened.
The nurse who showed me to the examination room and took my vitals was one I don’t remember ever dealing with before. On the short side, reddish hair in a short ponytail, in her early to mid-twenties, seemingly friendly and chatty enough, and she started in as if I was about to get what I came there to get or at least some interested attention.
“Beautiful day, isn’t it?” she said, after inviting me to step up on the scale.
“Gorgeous day. We may finally be getting some spring…”
“Too hot in here though.” I noticed she was wearing a sweater over her scrubs. She seemed to remember she was too. “Now. Earlier it was too cold. That’s the way it is in here. First, it’s too hot, then it’s too cold. Two-twenty.”
That was my weight apparently. “Two twenty? That’s down from last time, I think. What was it then?”
“Hop up on the table and I’ll take your blood pressure.”
I don’t hop these days. I climbed, painfully. She didn’t notice my heroic efforts or remark on my stoicism.
“One twenty-six over eighty.”
My blood pressure. I was impressed. With myself. “Now that is way down.”
“Is it?” she said. She was already at the computer, typing the numbers into my chart. I assumed the results from my last visit were right there. If they were, she wasn’t bothering to read them.
“Oh yeah,” I said. “And it was down last time. I think it’s because…”
“Now I have to ask you some questions.”
“Oh, ok.” I was disappointed. I had a bunch of ideas about how I’d lowered my blood pressure and I wanted to share them. Not to brag, of course. Because it might help her to know. She could pass along my secrets to other patients. I’m always the altruist. “Ask away.”
“We have to ask these of everybody. They’re about finding out if you’re suffering from depression. There’s a lot of that going around.”
“Oh boy, don’t I know it. I know several people---“
“Do you find yourself not enjoying the things you used to enjoy?”
Ah! Here was my chance. I was ready to tell her all about how my back problems were causing frustrations and disappointments. “It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, it’s more…”
“Do you feel hopeless?”
“Not hopeless, exactly, but…”
“A lot of people feel that these days.”
“There’s just so much going on in the world. You can’t help thinking it’s never going to bet better.”
“Oh. Well, maybe now the winter’s finally over, things will…”
“Every day, there’s something new that’s awful.”
“I guess. The economy…”
“It’s not the economy.” She was emphatic.
“It’s the world.” She sighed. “It’s the way the world is. It just is.”
“The doctor will be in in just a minute.”
And she was gone, leaving me alone to worry about her.