I've been keeping something to myself for most of this month. Living alone makes it easier to keep secrets. I could be swinging from the rafters and no one would know, as long as there isn't anyone here to say, "What are you doing up there?"
About three weeks ago, I hinted at some abdominal problems. Letting the subject drop might have led people to believe I've been fine since then. (Saying "I'm fine" might have had the same effect. I'd have to guess it probably did.)
Until this past weekend, I've been going back and forth with myself over whether this was a condition I could live with until it went away. I actually got used to gulping down a few doses of Maalox every day, to put out the fire in my belly. It never kept me from eating, although the more I ate, the worse it got. It did keep me from eating chili, but that was pretty much the only concession I made.
Every day started with a long session in the bathroom. I got a lot of good reading done, although my problems would often start early enough to cut seriously into my sleep time. If I've needed extra naps lately, that's the reason.
But then I'd be okay, until I started eating. It wouldn't take long after breakfast for the burning sensation to come back. It wasn't bad enough to keep me from my normal routine, except for the extra hours it forced me into the bathroom. But it was one singularly uncomfortable sensation.
Still, I felt it was something that would pass, most of the time. A few times during this period I got to the verge of calling my doctor, but something always stopped me. Either I had a good day, or I got so busy with work that I didn't have time to think about either the situation, or taking time out to make the phone call.
Then Saturday I woke up and said to myself that if it had been a weekday I'd have called the doctor. Sunday was about the same and Monday a little better, but by that time I'd made up my mind. As soon as the work week started on Tuesday, I'd make the call, get the appointment, and face the music. (I didn't tell anyone, in case I changed my mind. No need to paint myself into a corner.)
The first time I called this morning, the line was busy. I would gladly have taken that as a sign, except that I was right back in the bathroom shortly afterward. So I took that as my sign instead and tried the call again.
Even after all this time (at least three years, I'm sure), the doctor's office still had me in the computer (although at my old address). I just told the nurse/ receptionist/ friendly voice at the other end of the line that I had abdominal pain, without going into detail.
"How bad is it?" she asked. Bad enough to get me to do one of the things in the world that I least like to do — pick up the phone and call a doctor. All I said to her (out loud) was that I didn't consider it an emergency (after all, I've been living with it for almost a month), and she asked me to come in Thursday afternoon. (Tomorrow being Wednesday, the doctor wasn't going to be in.)