Friday, May 21, 2010

"Symptom-Free Diseases"

A few months ago, I experienced a troubling symptom, which led to a hospital stay, which led to the discovery of a problem, which led to surgery, which led to recovery, which led to I’m fine.

I understand that arrangement. You feel something, they find something, and they fix it. That’s clean. That’s simple. It’s not fun, but I get it.

As compared to this:

As a result of some blood testing, or, more specifically, the numbers calibrated and passed on the my doctor by some (hopefully focused) blood-testing technician,

I now take blood pressure medicine. Though I feel no external symptoms of high blood pressure.

I take Lipitor for my cholesterol, though I feel no indications of elevated cholesterol.

I take a pill for my thyroid, though I feel no signals of thyroid malfunction.

I take a fourth medicine of a more personal nature (I don’t tell you everything), though I’m not aware of symptoms related to that condition either.

I once said to my doctor, “When I’m waiting in the examining room, I get scared you’re going to come in here and tell me that there’s something wrong with me.”

To which the doctor responded,

“How do you feel?”

“I feel fine,” I replied.

To which the doctor replied,

“If you’re feeling fine, why would you think there was anything wrong with you?”

I had the “comeback” answer in my head, but I sighed, and let it go, because I didn’t want to take up too much of the doctor’s time (and I was afraid he might give me an illness just for spite.) You’re probably ahead of me on this, but I may as well wrap it up.

“Doctor,” I thought, but I didn’t say, “‘feeling fine’ seems to have nothing to do with anything. I feel fine now, and I’m taking four different medicines. And I was feeling fine before you prescribed them.

‘Feeling fine’ is nowhere near as reassuring as I’d like it to be.”

Once again, I’m going in for blood testing.

I feel fine.

And it’s really got me worried.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

It will be fine.