Even though I have a massive health anxiety issue and spend most of my day counting the different ways I will contract cancer on Dr. Google, I rarely go to the doctor.
Because what if I find out there IS actually something wrong with me?
There should be a point system that people like me can fill out with pertinent questions such as:
Could this disfigure you for life?
Does Dr Google refer to the C word at all?
Can you wipe your bum?
Do your children scream and run away when they see you?
Any sightings of the Grim Reaper or crows yet?
That way we could gauge the necessity of a very expensive visit to the doctor and blocking appointments for people that actually require them.
“Anxiety” is a crazy mind fuck, particularly when it’s related to your health. It’s the sort of condition that gives you helpful advice such as its OK to drink tons of wine each day because you’re dying anyway. It tells you to ignore surgery because of that one person in Peru that had a pre-existing heart condition and was operated on in a makeshift hospital in the jungle, that didn’t wake up.
So I tend to ignore the potentially serious, life-threatening stuff.
I had a “work-related” accident a couple of months ago – one that I should have reported in hindsight, because … workplace insurance? – so that inherited “you’ll be fine”, “there’s nothing wrong” attitude – handed down to me by my single, working mother, who never let us miss a day off school unless we needed hospitalization, could prove costly now.
The accident happened when I was with a client in her new home and I opened the door of a kitchen wall unit, which fell off its hinges and what felt like the weight of an entire Amazonian forest gravitated towards me. In my desperation, the designer in me put the aesthetic of the newly tiled floor before my own safety and I broke the fall of the door by shielding it, super-heroine-style, with my middle finger.
At the time, it wasn’t that painful. I was in shock, I imagine. But pretty quickly my finger swelled to double its size, rather like a penis (if you’re lucky), with this huge lump at the middle joint. While it was swollen – for weeks – I convinced myself it was sprained and that “it would be fine” and in the meantime, I milked my injury for everything it was worth and held up my finger any time the old man asked me to do anything, with a ‘sorry!’
I’d heard somewhere that, medically, there’s nothing you can do with broken fingers – if it was broken, (which I assured myself it wasn’t) – and as time passed and the swelling finally began to subside, I tried to ignore the fact that my finger was blatantly bent in the middle and that I still cannot form a fist without reaching for a medicinal glass of wine.
So today I am going to see a very expensive hand doctor, who I assume will tell me there’s nothing they can do about my physical dysmorphia and because I am right-handed (and it will affect my livelihood), he will write me out a disabled parking sticker for the Aldi car park, so that I don’t have to sit there for an hour waiting for women to finish their conversations about Masterchef, and more especially because I’m now unable to tap my finger on the steering wheel or beep the car horn in frustration.
Obviously, there is a valuable lesson to be learned from this story, which is: never go in the kitchen.