I am a self-confessed hypochondriac. I’m not embarrassed, I’ll tell anyone who’ll listen. The file on me at my doctor’s office is in binders. I guess I have had my share of sickness. But the list of imaginary illnesses would pack the library at Alexandria.
So yesterday I was leaving my daughter after having a delightful two hour lunch during which she taught me how to use Instagram. I like to stay up on these things, not only because, evidently I need to learn all this stuff to increase my blog following, but because I want my daughter to have something more to say to me beside, “How are you feeling today, Mom?”
The file on me at my doctor’s office is in binders.
Anyway, I’m driving home on the freeway when I suddenly became aware of this thing, this thing in my throat that feels like I’m trying to swallow a dry marshmallow (which, when I first noticed it intermittently over the last two weeks, I surmised it was probably food that sometimes gets stuck behind that little wiggly-hanging-down-thing in your throat when you go “Ahhhhhh” for the doctor.)
But in the car yesterday, my mind began to do its hypochondriac dance which is, “what if it’s a tumor in my throat, what if it’s growing . . . what if it’s growing fast . . . what if it’s growing faster than has ever been documented of a tumor! . . . what if it’s growing so fast I won’t be able to breathe in a few minutes . . . Like some alien coming out of my throat and choking me!”
My mind began to do its hypochondriac dance . . .
I started hyperventilating and felt heat wash over me and the back of my neck broke into a sweat. I dug blindly in my purse for my anti-anxiety pills and popped one under my tongue while I reached for my cell phone and called my doctor. “Hi, This is Cheryl Bryant-Rushing,” I whispered, trying desperately to sound calm, “and I happen to be in the neighborhood. I was wondering if I could drop in and speak with Doc for a sec.” I was coming into a full blown panic attack and the truth was it didn’t really matter what they said. I had already turned off the freeway and was heading to the doctor’s office.
They love me there. I mean it, they really do. I think it’s because I acknowledge freely that I am a hypochondriac and usually show up cheerfully, somewhat sheepishly and not all depressed. (Being in a doctor’s office always makes me happy.) And my entrance is always accompanied by, “It’s probably nothing, but . . . ” which makes them smile.
I was coming into a full blown panic attack . . .
So to get to the point of my story, The Man of My Dreams, my husband, he calls me when I am back on the freeway and on my way home. (Oh, and it was food that sometimes gets stuck behind that little wiggly-hanging-down-thing in your throat when you go “Ahhhhhh” for the doctor.) Anyway, He, The Man of My Dreams says, “Hi Honey, How ya doin,” and I just want to leap right through the phone and into his lap. I tell him everything and, just like himself, he consoles me, “That must have been scary,” he says, and “I’m so happy you had some pills with you,” and “Oh Baby, I’m so glad you had your wits about you to go the doctor.”
The Man of Your Dreams is usually married to someone else or dead.
Later, when he walks through the door as I’m cooking dinner, he takes me in his arms and hugs me tight, then looks in my eyes and says, “You Ok, Baby?” And I hug him back and ask God how I got to be so lucky to find the Man of My Dreams at the age of . . . well, never mind that, at an age when The Man of Your Dreams is usually married to someone else or dead.
You see, he treats me not unlike my mother and grandmother treated me . . . coddling me, worried over every cold, every cut, every skinned knee. It was strange at first. In the beginning I wanted to resist, I felt like I was losing my “hardness” . . . the armor I have worn my entire adult life. I was afraid I would become weak and lose my “edge.” But I’m getting to like it. I’m feeling a long lost softness coming back to me. I’m feeling very young and even silly sometimes. I’m thinking every woman deserves to be sooo loved. And I’m thinking maybe this is what love is . . . providing a safe place to be a child again.