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Story ID:2955
Written by:Kathe M. Campbell (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Diary/Journal Entry
Location:Butte Mt. USA
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The Waiting Game
by Kathe Campbell

Someone said, "Today is the tomorrow that you spent your time worrying about yesterday."

I had a bad case of the jitters as I picked up the phone to make an appointment with my doctor, for I had found a good sized lump on my thigh. A lump, I pondered. Just what I need. I've lost an arm, now I'm about to lose a leg. How wonderful, as I pictured myself a miserable crippled old fossil keeping my little ranch and animals in good fettle. Along with rheumatoid arthritis and spinal stenosis, just one more thing to raise my walking drugstore status.

My doctor inspected the lump and advised sending me headlong into radiology under some gargantuan machine resembling a medieval torture device. "I don't really think it's anything to worry about, Kath," he remarked as I pulled on my jeans and begin that awful waiting game.

Whether my doctor was worried about me or not, those were the words I liked to hear. It was an expression of reassurance and comfort that allowed me to return to daily routines without the anxious wondering what those lab reports would bring. Who among us hasn't taken deep breaths trying to avoid sleepless nights and panic? Nine times out of ten it can no doubt be cured with a prescription in these days of modern miracles, I kept telling myself.

Communication had always been important between my doctor and me. He put me at ease, was relaxed, and treated me with courtesy and respect, even when I broached the silliest questions. Since I was always well informed and actively involved in decision making and treatment, followed by clinical acumen or referrals, I considered his bedside manner to be terrific. The terminology is interesting in that our contact rarely occured bedside in the hospital, but in his office. Doctors are busy people and time is precious. The small amount of time required to ensure basic medical etiquette is far cheaper than the costly time to defend any complaints I might have.

Unable to think beyond my own selfish little anxieties, I plopped in a half dozen CD's, gazumped them up, and plunged myself into a major kitchen and pantry make-over. Saving aside a box full of items for the food bank and reorganizing drawers and cupboards made one afternoon fly. The next day I tackled the linen closet, and day three found me fine tuning two bathrooms. The physical exercise and wearing myself to a frazzle left me gratified and did wonders for my disposition. Now if I should suddenly pass on, the kids could say . . . "Yes, our mom was such a meticulous housekeeper!"

Four eternal days passed and anxiety crept in characterized by episodes of fear, chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath and profuse sweating. I had now managed to work myself into a "knock at death's door" frenzy, despite my doctor's reassurances. I thought about calling his office to inquire what the hold-up might be. How long can it take for a lab crew to check out all those samples? Surely the old adage, "no news is good news" must have merit.

But at night I had terrible sleeping problems. I woke up wired in the middle of the night, pacing about, my canine pal dogging my every step. I had trouble concentrating, even reading the newspaper or absorbing television. Sometimes I felt a little lightheaded and nauseus. My imagination was on a rampage again, and if I wasn't sick before, I was doing a bang-up job giving myself a full-blown panic attack.

In a difficult world, fear and worry must be two of our biggest problems. I had discussed my concern with my daughter, kept myself busy, continued my volunteer duty, and the dog and I took a little ride in the truck to drive out worry demons. But in the end, it is an amazing truth that the God of the whole world might be interested in little me. It must be so, for He said, "fear not," and I began my colloquy with my ever present angels.

When I heard Maura's voice on the phone, I froze. Why had my doctor's nurse been delegated to give me the bad news? "The x-rays, ultra sounds, and lab results show nothing, Kath. Doctor says all is well. It is a non-invasive fatty lump, nothing to worry about currently. Watch it, and if it decides to grow, be sure to come in, okay?"

How silly, I pondered, getting my tail all tied in a dozen knots over this silly thing. I'll not do that again.

Wanna bet?