My heart has been racing for days. I don’t get sweaty palms, but this would be the perfect time for it. I’ve been pacing the halls of my home. I have trying to read non-stop – an exhausting and impossible goal. Constantly I find myself breathing deeply, slowly in an effort to slow things down.
The Pressure. It is unnecessary pressure, albeit. Self-imposed, unnecessary, useless, futile. exhausting, cumbersome.
My mind races through imaginary scenes. I play out scenarios of ‘what if’, in an attempt to change the presumed ending to this story. My Pressure.
I am creating pressure by acknowledging this. My pressure to appear cool, calm, collected. I am none of these. I am anxious, and the anxiety is building by the hour. If you live with an anxiety disorder, perhaps this sounds familiar. However, I am alien to such feelings, such emotions like this.
The question, then, is why? I’ve rolled with most of the punches pretty well. I am doing sort-of okay, not really so much, I’ve been better I’ve been worse, hunky dory, fine thank you very much, not well at all.
It all stems from a doctor’s appointment I have tomorrow.
For perspective on my life, a typical week usually includes anywhere from one to five appointments at a medical facility. I try to limit it to five because, well, that is my limit. No one has my attention after the fifth visit in a week. I have not been feeling well, as noted in a previous post. Frankly, I had to cancel two appointments last week because I felt like poop. There, I said it. I am blessed with very gracious physicians, and one who was particularly merciful prescribed antibiotics over the phone. None of this has led to the anxiety over my overly dramatic moment.
So why do I feel so much pressure? Isn’t this second-nature to spend my time this way, at an appointment?
The pressure isn’t about the medical condition. It isn’t about the physician. I have never met them, in fact. The pressure is simply fear. Specifically, fear of the unknown. Fear of ‘what if’? When I begin repeating my list of ‘what if’ scenarios, my heart rate surges even higher. Apparently I am not alone in this. It has a name: White Coat Hypertension. That should make me feel better. Perhaps I’m halfway normal!
I only recall one other time in the past fifteen years where I experienced this. One year after my initial diagnosis of MS, our family moved several states away. I wasn’t very integrated into the healthcare system, but I had immense trust in my neurologist. He was such a kind soul. He was knowledgeable. He was funny. He loved Hoosier Hysteria and Indiana University basketball. I really can’t much more from a person. A new state, a new city, a new home, and a new neurologist. In case you are wondering, my heart rate is escalating again as I pen this.
Fast-forward fourteen years with me. I had a very good relationship with my newer, younger neurologist. He likes sports, and yes, he is the consummate physician. I would write what happened next, but that is his story rather than mine. My story is one of – dare I say it? – abandonment. Yes, I feel lost. I feel scared. I feel overwhelmed. I feel overwhelmed because I won’t stop playing the ‘what if’ game in my head.
Whether I like it or not, my neurologist moved on to other career opportunities. I am happy for him; truly, I am. That leaves me with a new physician. Tomorrow is my first appointment.
In 24 hours, I will be laughing at such nonsense. Today, I ate a lot of oatmeal with brown sugar. Since I’m confessing everything else, I will admit that is my comfort food. In 24 hours, I will be past that ‘first day of school’ fear. In 24 hours, I will have begun a relationship with a new physician. It will be okay. I know it will because I keep telling myself that it will.
As if on cue, my husband just walked in the door. Yes, he is amazing. He arrived with a Heath Bar. A Heath Bar and a bowl of oatmeal, and I am ready to take on the world. Or at least a new physician.