I hate going to the doctor & missing work. Really I just hated going to the doctor. But I figured she knocked out a bout of bronchitis pretty quick the previous November so she could do it again.
I’m waiting in the little room for what seemed an hour. The doctor finally arrives & we exchange pleasantries. What’s your problem? How long has it been going on this time. I would have at least 2 bouts with this every year. Taking off my shirt I’m dreading the coldness of her stethoscope, breathe deep, deeper. Okay. Looks like the bronchitis again but I want to take a chest X-Ray.
This is probably the most feared word other than cancer to a smoker or an ex-smoker. Okay, this is the day that I never wanted to happen. Put on a robe, follow a nurse down a maze of halls for what seems like miles, everyone knows you smoked for all those years. They know you’re going for X-Ray. Dead man walking. You feel as if the others are looking at you with pity. The X-Ray didn’t take long & I was soon back in my little room trying to get my mind off this thing. What was I going to tell my family? Who would take care of them? I’m not even a grandfather yet. I’ve got two little girls I want to watch grow up. Who’s gonna put up lights & decorate the yard & house for them at Christmas? Who was gonna hide eggs at Easter? Why was I so stupid to keep smoking those things? Even after watching family & friends die at the hands of tobacco I continued to slowly kill myself. I had always been so cavalier about it. Hey, I gotta die of something. The moment of truth & I’m cowering like an abused animal because of the news I know the doctor will give me.
She finally returns & taking forever to close the door. Couldn’t she have made all those notes before she came in?
Well Mike we’ve looked at your X-Ray & see that…oh man here it is, how am I going to explain how stupid I was…everything looks good & your chest is clear. We’re gonna give you these & need you to do this.
I can’t explain the sheer joy & relief that washed over me in that room. Just knowing that the worst was coming. After all, I had smoked for 35 years so I deserved to go down like this. I went home that day a changed man. Sometimes if I get a little cocky I think back to that day in the doctor’s office & remember the dread that ate at my very soul. I’ve not been sick except for maybe a cold a year & they never lasted long at all. I’ve decorated & put lights on the house for every Christmas since. I’ve hidden eggs for every Easter since. There will be many more to come I know. All I have to do is remember that day to keep me from ever smoking again. All the time I have now is free. I’m going to do the most with it that I can.
You should too.
Keep on keepin on,