Happy late Friday night! I’m sitting here at the Creation Museum listening the rain outside and thinking about how excited I am about tomorrow and our caving adventure that is going to be taking place.
I hope y’all enjoy the 87th segment of my fictional story, When Life Hands You Lymes.
“This is a beautiful location for a doctor’s office.” Darrick pulled out his cell phone and snapped a few pictures. “Why didn’t you tell us it was so magnificent?”
We’re standing in the driveway and Darrick and Julia are both turning in a full circle, taking in the mountain ranges and brilliant blue sky. “I was focused on other things.”
“Right. And speaking of that we should head on in.” Mom pointed toward the door. “We don’t want to be late. We’ll be here most of the day though, so if you want to come back outside after we’ve signed in, then be my guest.”
“I’m really glad you guys included me on this trip.” Julia whispered to me after we are seated in the waiting room and all the paperwork has been done.
I laughed. “You make it sound like we’re going to an amusement park, not sitting in a doctor’s office.”
Julia shrugged. “In my mind it’s a mini family vacation and I’m enjoying every moment of it.” She pulled out her laptop and turned it on.
“To each her own.” I grinned and tapped the computer. “Nothing’s more fun in my book then sitting in a waiting room filling out reports for my boss.”
“Hardy ha, ha.” Julia smacked at my hand. “Aren’t you just so cute.”
“I think she is. She must take after me.” Darrick plopped down on the other side of me.
“Wait a second, is it possible for a sibling to take after another sibling?” I gave Darrick a puzzled look.
“I think you’re proof that it is.” Darrick knocked on my head with his knuckles.
“Or we both take after Mom and Dad.” I gestured toward our parents who are sitting next to each other and working on the same computer.
“You do kind of look like Dad,” Darrick studied my face. “Except you don’t have as much of a shadow as he does.”
“Did he just insult you?” Julia’s eyes widened. “Cause I can totally take him out into the parking lot and beat him up for you.”
I felt my shoulders sag. “You two are acting just like little kids.”
“Cute little kids,” Darrick winked at me.
“Well, at least one of us is cute.”
“Madalyn, would you like to be first?” The nurse smiled when I stood up with a nod.
“Mom, you’re coming, right?”
“Of course.” Mom never missed a chance to take notes. “You’re not nervous, are you?”
“I plead the fifth.” I followed Mom and the nurse up the stairs to the doctors office. It was just as comfortable and comforting as I remembered and I felt a thin covering of peace fall over me. This is going to be good. No matter what the doctor had to say I’d be able to accept it as my reality for that moment but know I was moving on.
“Your blood pressure is high,” the doctor said after checking it. Dr. Shay is the first doctor I’ve ever had who checked it herself instead of regulating that duty to a nurse.
“I’m a little worked up.” I willed myself to calm down.
“Why is that?” Dr. Shay sat back and clasped her hands in her lap as if she has all day to listen to me.
“I have a feeling that I’m going to find out that I’m over Lyme disease.”
Dr. Shay’s eyebrows raised. I don’t bother looking at Mom because I’m pretty sure her reaction is the same. “Is there a problem with that?” Dr. Shay asked. “I was under the impression that that was the goal we were working toward.”
“It is.” I rubbed my neck with both my hands. “The problem is that I was hoping I would feel all of the way better when I found out I was over Lyme disease, and I’m not. I just need to get used to the idea.”
“Why is it that you think you’re over the disease?”
“I don’t know.” I grimaced. “I have this intuition that I am though.”
“And your idea is that if you find out that you are over Lyme disease and yet you still don’t feel up to par people are going to look down on you and judge you again and think you’re lazy?”
I snorted. “Are you a mind reader, Dr. Shay?”
She laughs, “No, but I’ve been around the disease long enough to know how it works. Don’t worry though. If the tests come back telling us that you are healed, then take that as a gift and celebrate the milestone. Don’t allow yourself to be robbed of happiness at good news just because expectations aren’t met or people are going to think the wrong thing about you.”
“Thanks for the pep talk.” I took a deep breath. “Let’s get this thing going.”
An hour later we’ve covered a large range of topics and I’ve given her updates on all the health conditions I can think of. She commended me for sticking to my diet so well and told me that I can stop taking one of my herbal teas.
“Are you ready for the news?” Dr. Shay asked after studying the results from the tests we’ve been running while I sat there.
I closed my eyes and watch the last three years of my life rush past me. So much of my history is contained in those three years, but even though the news of me being healthy might not come in exactly the condition I had dreamed of it arriving in, I am ready. “Bring it on.”
“You, my dear Madalyn, are free from Lyme disease.”
I felt tears welling up in my eyes and suddenly it doesn’t matter that my health isn’t in mint condition. “What?” I needed to hear the words again.
“You are free of Lyme disease.”
The rest of the appointment was a haze and I couldn’t keep the smile from taking over my face.
“I think I’m going to go for a walk,” I told Mom as we were coming down from the doctor’s office.
“Do you want to tell the family first?”
I shook my head. I want solitude. “You can.”
“That’s not happening.” Mom shook her head. “You can tell them when you come back in.”
“Ok.” I left the building, happy I didn’t have to go through the waiting room. I spent the first several moments trying to categorize my emotions then gave up. I jogged slowly up the mountain side, my breathing still adjusting to the higher elevation of the town. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. When I reached a plateau at last I found a boulder and sat down on it. The air is warm around me but the rock is still chilly from the cold night. There are flowers growing and patches of earth and rock chips. Somewhere off in the distance I could hear birds singing and the low rumble of vehicles passing by. The wind blew gently, bringing a wave of warm air.
“God, thank You.” I raised both hands in the air and looked up at the cloudless sky, joy filling my veins. “I survived.” The two words are all I say, but I felt them deeply. Somehow I knew that no matter what the rest of my life brought I would always know I am capable of more than I had realized. I survived Lyme disease and I came out the victor.
Sure, I still had a long way to go, but at least I was on the right side of the mountain. I was going down now instead of continuing the endlessly long trek upward. The trail still had bumps and I’d surely fall and get bruises along the way. I was tough though. I could handle some blood and bruises. I sat there long enough, gazing at the world around me, for the sun to noticeably change positions before climbing off my rock and stretching my legs and beginning the walk back down the mountain trail to where my family sat in the waiting room, waiting to hear the news that they’ve probably all already guessed. The Emerson family is Lyme disease free and that is reason to celebrate.