I made my annual women’s health appointment the other day and got an email back inviting me to connect to my doctor’s health care portal. There, I can view all of my records and test results, it said.
This, my friends, is a hypochondriac’s nightmare, don’t you think?
It’s not the first time I’ve been invited to a portal. When my internist asked if I wanted to be connected to hers, I said “shoot me first” and she never broached the subject again.
Now, I wasn’t always a hypochondriac. In fact, you might say I lived in denial that anything could possible go wrong with my health. Even when I had a lumpectomy, I was certain it was nothing.
It was nothing.
And then, my mother got sick. Every single time she had a test, they discovered some fresh hell. Since I was with her for many of these tests, the experience imprinted on me in some strange way. From then on, I approached every test and even every doctor’s visit with dread. Every pain was a serious disease that might lead to death, I feared. I got a case of hypochondria.
Girlfriend, on the other hand, had a different point of view. She had everything checked out.
“Get it checked out,” she’d say. “You want to catch things early so you can do something about them.”
“I know, I know,” I’d say back. And then, finally, I’d make an appointment. And tell her.
Well, she’s gone now. But she’s still holding me accountable.
The other day I made three doctor’s appointments, thinking about her and telling her as I recorded each one in my planner.
I’ve decided to try something new. From now on, I’m going to think about portals and tests and doctor visits as doorways to beautiful, serene and holy places.
And before each visit, I’ll sit a while wrapped in the soft, beautiful blanket she gave me the week before she died, willing her to infuse me with just a little of the courage with which she faced life.