Health scares have a sly way of wrecking your day, your week, even your month.
Say you’re awaiting test results, as I was this past week. Each day you wait to hear from the doctor is a kind of water torture, drip drip drip, as you check your phone and email every hour, every minute, to see what the verdict is: Am I sick, or in the clear? It’s aggravating. It’s terrifying.
For six days I’ve been lightheaded, my heart’s been racing, my stomach’s a mess, and I’ve been socked with depression and free-floating angst. I’ve been great fun to be around. Even the dog’s avoiding me.
Last Wednesday, I underwent a pretty invasive procedure to test for a pretty pernicious malady, and it took the doctor till today, Tuesday, to get back to me with results. I’ve been walking around like an anxiety-racked zombie for almost a week.
At 1 p.m. local time, the goddam doctor called with the report: “Good news,” he said, in a semi-chipper tone. Let’s just keep an eye on it for now, he went on, come to my office for a quick chat, then go ahead with your May trip to Scotland. (Actually, he has no idea about Scotland. I just added that for cheery effect.)
Jesus Christ. I exhaled the breath I’d been holding for 144 hours and made him repeat the words “good news.” I see him Thursday. I may hug him, or bring him an ice cream cone.
The body bites. Its chances of betraying you — indeed, attacking you — are about 98.9 percent. We’re not all doomed, unless you consider dying doomed. But not all of us will be struck with dementia, MS, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s, you name it. Some will croak in their sleep; some will get smooshed by a speeding autopilot Tesla.
We live on borrowed time, and I apologize for the gloom (and the cliché). For now, though, it’s good, or at least steady, news for many of us. Rejoice. I am — well, as best as this born pessimist can. I get encouraging news, cheer, then fall back into the abyss of: What does it all mean?
Enough. Bullet dodged. For now. Let’s party.