There was a letter in Ann Landers' advice column today from a woman whose sister died because she was afraid to call a doctor, despite obvious symptoms. I would never have read it if Mom hadn't called my reluctant attention to it. I'm sorry that I worry her so much but grateful that she cares, even if I don't like hearing things that contradict my preconceptions.
No, that's not even true. I like being challenged, and I love learning new things. I'm always open to ideas from different sources. I'm a good listener, and I make a point of really hearing people. I can probably even believe that I would have been smarter yesterday to bully my way into a doctor's appointment, no matter how much the HMO resisted. But I'm glad I didn't have to, and really glad, now that it's over, that I didn't.
I'm not afraid of doctors, exactly, but I'm really awkward on the phone. The Boss knows this, and he makes allowances, in spite of my position at the communications hub of the Company. The fact that I can almost always get out of making a phone call, just by asking him to do it, is something I deeply appreciate.
Since the symptoms I had yesterday were vague and hard to describe, I would have been uncomfortable trying to tell a nurse or receptionist or HMO contact person what was wrong. If I'd had "chest pains," it would have been simpler and easier, and I might even have gone through with it. "I've got a lump in my throat and it hurts to breathe" sounds like the response should be, "Lie down until it goes away." Which is more or less what I did.
What I really need is a doctor who will call me every so often and ask me how I'm feeling. Then, if I say something that he or she doesn't like the sound of, I can go in and get it checked out. Then I get my lollipop and come on back home and take the rest of the day off, doctor's orders. In a better world, that's the way it would be.