Last night I was curled up under the pile of blankets on my bed, wide-awake until well past 2 a.m. I was wired from a combination of caffeine-consumed-too-late and dread. Dread of a morning doctor appointment that crept closer with every blink of the colon that separated the hours from minutes on the digital alarm clock that I never used.
I’ve always had an irrational anxiety about visiting doctors, dentists and the like. This time was no different.
I sat in the waiting room bright and early this morning; I always made the first appointment of the day. I bounced my left leg up and down while tapping my thumb on the same three apps on my iPhone over and over and over.
Facebook, home, email, home, Twitter, home email, home.
It’s a nervous habit. I’m not actually reading anything. Just tapping.
Facebook, home, email, home…
My restless pattern was interrupted when I heard my name called from the doorway. I jumped up, wished the nurse good morning and followed her back for the usual routine. Height, weight, blood pressure. Let’s get this over with, I thought.
“Weight looks good,” she said casually under her breath as she wrote it down on my chart. It was surreal to hear her say it. No medical professional has said that to me before. Ever. She had no idea how foreign that experience was to me.
Once in the exam room, we talked a bit about the usual things ahead of my assessment. She asked if there were any additional concerns I wanted to bring up during the exam.
“I really just want to make sure I’m in good health,” I started to explain how my doctor recommended I see the Physician Assistant (who henceforth will be known simply as P.A.) for this appointment due to her extensive knowledge of nutrition and fitness. “I’ve lost over a hundred pounds and…”
“Wait, are you serious?” she interrupted me. I smiled and must have looked confused. She explained how she hadn’t seen my records and had no idea.
“Yeah,” I said with a nervous laugh. I didn’t know what to say. I never know what to say and usually feel like a total tool for even talking about it.
“How did you do it?” she asked, leaning in. She seemed genuinely interested in my answer.
I hesitated, not knowing how much she really wanted to know. I started to talk about how I broke it down one thing at a time, instead of trying to change everything all at once and how, for me, it was a very emotional thing to work through. She asked a ton questions and told me about how she’s always struggled with her weight.
“Thanks,” she said to me as she stood to exit the room, “Really, I needed to hear your story.”
I was taken aback, once again at a loss for words.
She instructed me to change into the paper gown that had been taunting me from the second we stepped inside. I sighed, there was no more putting this off.
“Awesome,” said the P.A. as she walked into the room, before even saying hello. I knew in that moment that my new nurse friend had filled her in on our discussion.
I laughed lightly and she smiled, introducing herself. I was relaxed, it was weird. A good weird.
After the exam I sat in a hallway outside the lab, waiting to give blood for testing. The nurse who I had gotten into the somewhat intense discussion with earlier walked by with a clipboard under her arm.
“You really inspired me,” she said with a smile as she passed by me towards her next appointment.
I smiled, completely humbled and moved by her words. In that moment, I found my story.
Whether anyone will want to read about it… well, that’s a long shot at best.
I like long shots.