Nearly five years ago I had occasion to visit my physician for an annual exam. Normally this would be no biggie, but this particular year the visit loomed large in my mind and I was desperate for someone, anyone to understand ... anything at all about me.
On October 2, 2003, five years ago, my close friend's husband was killed in a tragic accident while target shooting at his gun club. His death at such an early age and in such a shocking way prompted me to begin journaling on AOL. AOL had just started up the journal feature in August of the same year. His death also was the beginning of a cycle of bad crap that just kept slamming into me.
His death. Another friend's husband died. My father-in-law died. My mother was ill, and in and out of the hospital. I spent hours of every day driving back and forth to her house to be sure she had her food, her meds, and some company. Two days before my birthday my husband casually walked into the kitchen and said, "I think we need to separate and get divorced." You could have knocked me over with a feather but I simply responded, "okay." He told me he wasn't happy. (and here we are today -- together)
Then, my mother died. And my brother didn't show up. For anything. My nephew was sentenced to life in prison without parole. My brother disowned his two sisters. My oldest was graduating high school and I was helping her with her college prep and feeling as though I was a complete failure at everything that I touched.
That wasn't true, but the hits just kept on coming and I couldn't grasp what is was I needed to do to make it stop or bring some changes. And then my mother-in-law came to visit at what could not have been a worse time ... for almost three months and my husband invited his nephew to move in with us and help with household renovations ... The girls and I brought my mother-in-law back to Florida to open the house and while we were gone my friend's father died and my cousin died.
I was up to my arm pits in alligators and there seemed to be no help or rest for the weary.
It was time for my annual physical and I made my appointment. After the usual PE and health related questions the doctor asked me "How are things?" I asked, "Do you really want to know?"and let forth a steady torrent of all that had been going on for the last ten months ... all the while thinking he would point me in the right direction.
He sat quietly with those big brown eyes looking directly into mine. When at last I finished my abridged, but lengthy version of the events and tribulations of the past months, he put his feet back down to the floor and propelled himself on his little stool in my direction.
Hands on knees, serious as can be, he looked at me and said, "I think you should go home and talk to your husband." What? Did you not just hear what I said? "He's middle aged and probably going through a bit of a midlife crisis." I know my jaw had dropped by the second sentence. "I know when I reach his age, if I act this way, I'll appreciate my wife telling me." Exactly what I was to go home and tell my husband I wasn't sure, but I remember distinctly thinking to myself ... 'you are an ass.'
What I said was along the lines of: Listen. I went through menopause without a hitch. I didn't tell anyone I needed a separation or divorce although I'm damn sure I thought about it. I didn't need anyone to tell me that I was going through menopause either. I just sort of knew. I'm certain he will not appreciate me going home and telling him he's having a midlife crisis. And I know for a fact that you won't appreciate your wife telling you that either -- that is, when the time comes. (and I still think he's an ass)
So why am I writing this now? It's coming up on annual PE time. I'm still, four and a half years later, looking for a new primary care physician. When I need an appointment for anything I put off going until I'm sure I'll end up in the ED if I don't go to the office and see him. The last time I was in to see him, at the end of the visit he said to me, "You don't really like me do you?" Uh, no? But I didn't say that. And for some ridiculous reason I cannot bring myself to tell him what an ass I think he is. Or that he really ticked me off ... so the search is on, has been on, and will continue to be on until I find a new doc.
And he can keep his Prozac too.