Sharing the Pain


Going to the doctor was never a pleasant experience, but at least it wasn’t nerve wracking. Sometime around the age of 50 or so, I began to realize that after the examination, there’s a second part of the doctor experience, where you are summoned into his/her office and told the ‘news’. And if you find yourself there, chances are that the news isn’t good. This knowledge makes the exams a bit fraught with worry, as I interpret every “hmm” and “hummm” out of the doctor’s mouth with something that I won’t want to hear later on.

Yesterday’s torture was my annual eye retinopathy exam to see if diabetes had wrought any damage. My doctor, who also has diabetes, has long preached the wisdom of an extremely low-carb diet, so each time I see him my mind starts clicking into how many carbs I’ve eaten since I last saw him. My head filled with visions of the occasional cookie or bite of butter-pecan swirl ice cream, I tried to calm myself as he examined my dilated eyes. He is a very thorough doctor, which meant that I had plenty of time to imagine the worse — that despite my mostly good diet and exercise plan — something had gone very wrong.  While he hemmed and hawed I could hear him calling me into his office to explain that despite my best efforts and a 5.8 a1c, my eyes were going downhill.

“Mrs. Rush?” he called.

I blinked and looked in his direction.

“Everything is fine,” he said. “You’re good to go.”

I looked up. “Are you sure?” I asked.

He smiled and nodded, as if he knew precisely how I had spent the past seven minutes, coiled in my own anxieties.


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Dr. Margaret A. Morris
10 years ago

I just had the same experience– I have to remind myself holding my breath until the doctor gives the verdict, and wincing as soon as he does, even if the answer is a good one. Egads.

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