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Wednesday, July 12, 2000

Nobody is more surprised than I am that I felt so good today. I thought there was a chance I'd end up in the hospital, or at least a doctor's office. When I went to bed last night, I thought I was feeling a little better only because I'd been resting all afternoon and evening, doing absolutely nothing and keeping as still as possible. I was almost afraid to lie down, because that had been the source of such pain the night before.

A lounge chair isn't really doing the job it was designed for, if the only position in which you can sit in it comfortably is this one.


And this is how I piled the pillows up when I went to bed last night. Good for reading, bad for sleeping.

When I woke up this morning, I had pushed the giant upright pillow tower aside, some time in the night, in my sleep. I was sleeping normally, horizontally, and without pain. This was great, but I was afraid to move, afraid I'd jar something loose (or whatever) and bring it all back. I lay in bed for a long time before gingerly easing my way out from under the covers to see if the miracle was real.

The greatest relief was that now I wouldn't have to try to call a doctor.

Things were a little tentative all day long like that. I kept wondering what I might do to make the pain come back. I got more confident in my recovery as the day went on, but I was determined to keep the stress level as low as I could. That's why I've decided not to try to take off for the lake until at least next week. There's just too much going on a work for me to get away and feel good about it. I have to accept that the timing simply isn't right.

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.

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