I am a bundle of nerves, pacing the floors of The House on the Hill, anxious about my date with doom in the morning.
You see, tomorrow is my annual trip to the doctor.
I’m not so much afraid of doctors as I am afraid of the news they can spring on me and forever change my life. It all goes back to when I was 19. I was a Sophomore at NYU, I had just met my first serious girlfriend, who would go on to become my first (and hopefully only) ex-wife, and I was on my own with the family far away in Virginia, where they were no longer a constant cause of stress.
It was just after dinner when the call came. Dad had gone to the doctor for a routine check up, and they broke the news that he had cancer. They also put an expiration date on his time on Earth. Just like that, my Dad went from having his life ahead of him to knowing that death was waiting only months away.
I convinced myself that if I didn’t go to the doctor, no one could tell me I was sick and that death was on the horizon. By dodging the diagnosis, I was going to save myself the grief.
Of course none of that makes any sense, but you try telling that to a teenager who was about to lose the person he cared the most about in the world.
I was so young when my Mom died that I don’t have a single memory of her. And now I was going to be an orphan while still a teenager. What had the doctors done to save my Mom? Why couldn’t they save my Dad?
It just made sense. Avoid the doctor, and I would avoid death.
It was a very long time until I started going back to the doctor. It was probably the kidney stone attack I had about 5 years ago. Then I met The Girl Who Could Always Get Me To Think Reasonably. She wasn’t the biggest fan of the doctor, either, but we supported each other and made sure we got to our appointments without going insane.
But now, The Girl Who Is My Rock is not here to settle me. Ironically, she’s off studying to become a doctor. This is my first physical in a few years without her around to calm me. She did give me a pep talk via text this morning, and will most likely call or text in the morning to make sure my toga isn’t all in a bunch before my appointment.
I feel like a frightened little boy who knows the big, bad monster is coming for him, but can’t find a place to hide.
I know the doctor isn’t the monster. I actually picked a young, pretty PCP because I figured I would feel more comfortable. I’d always had scary old men for doctors, and if I have to suffer through this, the source of my anxiety might as well be easy on the eyes.
What I really fear are the test results that could tell me that my family’s horrible genetics had finally caught up with me. I don’t want to be nervous, I want to be reasonable, but I always flashback to Dad and what happened with him.
Truth be told, I’d love to look forward to my physical. It’s time away from the office, the insurance covers the cost of the visit, and there’s always the chance I’ll get a lollipop. However, my mind just doesn’t work that way. The only way to get bad news about my health is by going to the doctor, therefore, if I don’t go, bad news is avoided.
I blame the nuns for teaching me to think logically…
So what about you, Modern Philosophers? Do you fear the doctor? Do you think I’m being completely irrational? Would you want to know that something was wrong with you, or would you prefer to remain oblivious and just live your life like normal?