Can you believe it? Today is the 40th Friday of 2014! That means it’s time for another segment of my fictional story, When Life Hands You Lymes.
I put away my violin case and then walked into my closet, turned on the light switch and suddenly felt completely overwhelmed. Leaning against the doorframe, I let my eyes rove over the rows of clothes. Normally I liked having such a large selection of clothing to choose from, but today I felt a deep down weariness that made me wish I didn’t have to make a single decision from little ones like how I would fix my hair, to big ones like what I would have for breakfast.
What was I going to do as I got older? What about when it came time to decide what song I needed to perform in front of an audience? Or what about if Katie ever asked me if I wanted to go get my cut my hair with her again like we had as kids? Or, the very thought overwhelmed me so badly I slid to the ground. What about getting married one day? If I couldn’t choose my clothes now, how would I ever decide if some guy was the guy I wanted to spend the rest of my life with? And names. How in the big, wide world would I be able to choose a name if I had children? They’d probably starve to death because I wouldn’t be able to decide if we should have an English breakfast or American breakfast.
“Come on, Madalyn, time for you to get up.” Katie whooshed in like a spring storm and had me in the bathroom with the shower water running before I knew what was up. “Focus for a minute, please, dearie, and get your hair washed.”
“Alright.” And wonders of all wonders, I did. By the time I was done Katie had an outfit picked out for me and after I was dressed she chatted away in a lighthearted manner very unlike my serious sister as she blow-dried my hair and then combed it out and pulled it back in a pony tail.
“Ready and on time, too.” Katie’s smile told me she felt accomplished as she pulled me out of my room and down the hall, grabbing my purse as she went.
“Thanks, Katie.” I mumbled the words, really meaning it but too tired to put more feeling into them.
“You’re welcome, sis.” Katie directed me toward Mom and then gave me a hug. “Sleep in the car, ok? It will do you good.”
I plopped down on the edge of our fountain while waiting for Mom to finish talking on her phone. I gave Katie an nod and yawn, which only helped to prove her point.
“Come on, sweetie.” Mom’s voice broke into my zoning out.
Feeling like what I imagine a ninety-year-old slogging through a swamp would feel like, I follow her outside.
“I brought a pillow and blanket along so you can lean back and sleep if you want to.” Mom gestured toward a bag in the backseat of her Ford Escalade.
What I really want to do is find out more about this doctor I’m going to, but since I couldn’t figure out how to form a cohesive question, I merely leaned back and pulled my legs up under me. Mom helped me tuck the comfy blanket all around me, then suggested I listen to my music on my earbuds.
Some time later I had the far-away feeling that I was hearing talking somewhere, but I tuned it out and focused on Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata lulling me into a comforting blankness. When I woke up next, it was because Mom’s hand was on my shoulder and she was calling me.
I pulled my earbuds out and looked around me. We were parked in front of a red brick building that has a sign with the word Wellness written on it. My fuzzy brain didn’t focus on the rest of the words, so I turned back to Mom.
“Did you sleep well?”
I nod. Then the realization that I’ve been doing a lot of nodding recently compels me to actually say something. “Yeah, I feel better. I don’t think I need to go to a doctor after all. It’s probably just a summer bug or something.”
Mom’s face takes on its professional smile and I know from past experience that she’s biting back an earful. Only, she’s never done that with me before and I get a weird tingling feeling in my arms between my shoulder and elbow. “What’s going on, Mom?” My eyes fill with tears.
“Sweetheart,” Mom gives my shoulder a squeeze. “You’ve been feeling bad for six weeks now. Summer’s almost over, this isn’t right. We thought things would get cleared up when we got you on thyroid medicine, but obviously something isn’t how it’s supposed to be in your body. We want to do everything in our power to help you be healthy.”
I’m on the verge of asking, of voicing my horrible question, but I stop. How would Mom respond if I were going crazy? Would she tell the truth? Would she try and change the subject? Distract me? I’m scared to find out. I unbuckle my seatbelt and slid the blanket off.
Mom steps ahead of me to open the door to the doctor’s office. I shuffle past her and then stand there, my arms hanging limp at my side. Mom strolls over to the window and after talking for a minute the receptionist hands her a clipboard with some papers and a pen. Sitting down, Mom pats the chair next to her and I lower myself into it.
I’m not sure how long we sit there before I realize we’re the only ones in the room. We must have the first appointment. I put my hands over my face and breathe deeply. I’m feeling weird and the last thing I want to do is answer the doctor’s stupid questions.
“Madalyn.” The nurse sticks her head out of a door right next to the receptionist’s window and smiles at me. I raise my lips in a poor attempt to return her smile, but I must have done a miserable job of her because her face loses it’s peppy look and she gives me a sympathetic smile. “Not feeling too well today, are you?”
I raise one shoulder in a half shrug, any other response feels too taxing. Mom, professional and polite as ever, jumps in and supplies the needed chit-chat.
“Alright, Madalyn, I need you to take off your shoes so we can get your height and weight.”
I’m so dopey I don’t even think to be embarrassed about my weight becoming public knowledge. I back against the wall and stand straight, possibly for the first time that day. My shoulders have felt so heavy I’ve been hunched over since getting out of bed at such a horribly early hour.
“Five foot, seven inches, 150 pounds.” I see both Mom and the nurse marking the info down on their paper.
My mind goes back to what Katie had said several weeks earlier about how she thought being a nurse or doctor in a third-world country must be one of the most rewarding jobs ever. It’s sometimes hard knowing I’m going to be a musician. I mean, of course I want to be one, but some people just don’t see the value music adds to the world. As much as I love music, even I sometimes struggle with wondering if music is really worth the time and energy I put into it. Of course those thoughts are few and far between, but they exist nonetheless and make me a bit defensive of the path I’ve chosen for my life.
Music. I really can’t imagine life without it. Then again, I can’t imagine life without medical care or food either. So when it all boils down, can one profession, one career, be more important than another? I’ve never even considered being a toilet paper manufacturer, farmer or car mechanic, but really, when someone is tight on money, what do they find easiest to give up? Most likely th-
“You must be Madalyn.” The deep voice causes me to look up. An eerie feeling assails me when I realize I’m in the examination room sitting on a chair. How in the world? I close my eyes and try to shake away the horrible sensation washing over me. How did I possibly go from being in the room with the nurse, getting weighed, to sitting in another room without even realizing it?
“Maddie?” Mom’s hand on my knee makes me open my eyes.
“What?” Looking out the window, I see the sun is at just the right position in the sky to be shinning in the window. I smile slightly, watching the dust specks float around in the air. I used to find them so fascinating as a child.
“See what I mean? She’s never been like this before.” Mom’s concerned voice forms a knot in my stomach. I’m zoning out again.
“Sorry Mom.” I try and make my voice sound chipper, but instead it comes out sounding weary.
The doctor’s appointment can’t be over fast enough to suit me. All he did was ask a bunch of random questions that I couldn’t answer and then goes all wacko and rattles off a whole string of long words I couldn’t being to understand.
“Well that was a waste of time.” I sit in the passenger seat with a thump and cross my arms over my chest, glaring toward the doctor’s office.
“Madalyn, what is that supposed to mean?” Mom raises an eyebrow just a tad bit. I’ve seen this face many times. It stops useless rambling mid-sentence and has earned her a lot of respect among her peers. It’s so…so… Perfect. It shouts without making a sound. It clearly conveys the feeling that Mom knows what she’s talking about and you’d better listen to her. In this instance I’m pretty sure it means the doctor’s visit did help and I’m just blind to the wonderful example he is of the medical field.