This take-away lesson is a good one; unfortunately, I still haven’t mastered it. Maybe my need to be a martyr is just too ingrained. Maybe I harbor an unnatural fear of doctors and hospitals. For whatever reason, I still delay dealing with potential health issues as long as possible.
Much like I minimize my own pain or maladies, I tend to discredit health problems in those nearest and dearest to me. I used to tell my children, don’t even try to tell me you’re sick unless I see blood or vomit. In hindsight, perhaps this was not the healthiest atmosphere.
At the time, of course, I was absolutely convinced I was right. Now I wonder if that was something I told myself because I was so terrified of the alternative. The possibility something serious might actually be wrong paralyzed me with fear. In order to stay calm and keep going, I had to convince myself my loved one’s complaints were only in their heads – no serious threat at all.
Of course, pretending serious threats don’t exist in no way minimizes or eliminates those threats. On several occasions – Sam’s surgery when she was six, J’s hospitalizations in the late 80s to name two – I felt the full force of the fear. Fortunately, my skepticism hadn’t caused a delay that jeopardized their health.
Maybe writing all of this down will get the lesson through my thick head at last. Don’t play games with your health – you only get one body. If there’s the slightest doubt about whether it’s serious, make time to see a doctor.