I have health insurance now, but I still am hesitant to even get check-ups. I gave birth to my son a year ago and the whole medical aspect was really a nightmare for me. It’s still almost impossible to not think of health care professionals as the enemy. I also had a horrifying incident about a month ago where a ‘vascular mole’ on my baby’s face popped and wouldn’t stop bleeding. It was the middle of the night and I was there trying to staunch it with tissues and towels and sheets for hours until I finally shook myself, looked at the blood-soaked mess and said, “are you effing crazy? He’s going to bleed to death, call 911!” I’m sad to report, had that been me my mother probably would have let me bleed to death. The baby’s just fine after being stitched up in the ER, thankfully.
This might resonate with some of you…I developed a small lesion on my forehead a few weeks ago which didn’t heal up. I tried ignoring it for a while, and that didn’t work. Then I tried putting antiseptic on it, and that didn’t work. Then I took to the internet and by week 3 was completely convinced I had, probably inoperable, skin cancer. I made an appointment to see a dermatologist, basically expecting to find out how long I had left, and woke up on the morning of the appointment to find said lesion diminished in size.
“It’s a wart, nothing to worry about. You can make an appointment to have it frozen off,” she said. Following day, it had mostly disappeared. Imagine what this is doing to my post-Christian Science neuroses!
I’ve learned my lesson about healthcare. When an exam by an optometrist revealed I had cataracts, I had double cataract surgery. I’d worn glasses since I was in my twenties, but I don’t need them now. I can even read small print on my iPhone! And, when the girl who cuts my hair noticed something funny on my ear, she recommended I have it looked at. Rather than saying it was ‘perfect’ I went to a dermatologist. She said it was skin cancer, and I had it removed surgically. It took me a while, but I finally caught on.
I went to the doctor for the first time when I was 23 years old. I got an x-ray done of my tail bone, which was revealed to have been broken when I was ten. My folks didn’t take it seriously enough to have it treated, so it healed in an ‘L’ shape. I also asked for advice and a treatment plan to preserve my destroyed right knee, which I had injured seven years previously and which had never healed.
I went travelling for a year with my wife. A small lump developed on my back which I worried about endlessly. I tried to self diagnose on the net and came to the rational conclusion it was probably benign, but nonetheless my conviction that it was a tumour grew. I decided it would spoil our holiday if I had it looked at and rationalised that the best thing to do was completely ignore it. Eventually, I could contain my anxiety no longer and told her about it. A few hours later I was sitting in front of a Thai doctor in Bangkok, “Yeah. It’s a cyst,” he said. “We’ll just remove it under local anaesthetic, will take ten minutes.” Since then, I try to catch things earlier.