An appointment with fear

Into the great unknown — the great unknown of the medical visit.

Peter Warland

“I have nothing to say, and I’ll only say it once.” / Floyd Smith, hockey coach

Honestly, I am not one of these folk who check medical sites on Google then complain that they seem to suffer from every known disease except, maybe, house-maid’s knee. In fact, if I am told that I have a medical problem, I feel insulted. I am therefore anxious about visiting doctors.

In a doctor’s ‘surgery’ you’ll inevitably encounter some acquaintance or other and you’ll ask, “How’s it going?” and be assured that things are all right. But then, when you find a seat and wait and pick up all sorts of ancient magazines plus an assortment of other people’s ailments, you think “If he’s okay, what’s he doing here?” then, “What am I doing here?”

Local doctors have been good, diligent, patient and extremely kind to me and my family but, I’m sure, they’re not aware that they’re becoming a danger to my mental health.

A week or so ago, I visited my doctor. It’s the duty of the elderly to visit doctors because, if we didn’t totter into their offices occasionally, they’d get bored.

My doctor gave me a thorough going-over and said that, for my age, I was doing all right. However, she said, “Your blood pressure is a little high.”

I naturally believed that this was the case because I was in (a) a doctor’s office (b) the doctor was an attractive female, and so dismissed my concerns. The doctor then informed me that she would not need to treat me for this high pressure but that I should, on occasion, stick my arm in one of those infernal blood-pressure machines that lurk in drugstores.

I ignored this instruction mainly because, fortunately, I seldom have need to visit a drugstore but, one day, I opted to have a go. I read the instructions carefully, ripped off my jacket and plunged my arm in. I pressed the start button and awaited the tidings.

When I read the results and compared them with the “normal” figures on the machine, I almost passed out. I was, I reckoned, just a few short steps from death. Sweating all over, I went home to die.

The next day I forced myself into yet another drugstore and tried again. And again I got the scary results. I scarcely slept a wink that night, fearing I might wake up deceased. Amazingly, I survived the weekend but, on Monday morning, I phoned the doctor’s office, was informed that my doctor would not be available for a week or so and then, when I begged (on my knees) for another doctor, got myself an appointment.

The new doctor informed me that my blood pressure was all right except for the supposedly low–diastolic- end. I sighed audibly. Then she suggested that there was a bit of a skip in my heart beat and that I should go and have an E.C.G. I did know what that was and so did as I was told. Later, I was shown a huge graph with my poor old heart skipping beats, the way it must have done when I first saw the girl who was to become my wife.

The new doctor gave me a prescription, cancelled one my own doctor had prescribed then told me to come in a week later.

The following week, I was in such a panic that I dragged my old body up several mountains without any malfunction of my aged heart, and began to relax.

Coming in one day, I noticed that someone at “Regional Health” had phoned me. My heart skipped several beats in a row, so I sat down and made myself some tea, wondering if it were to be my final “cuppa” on this earth.

Eventually, I called the number back, explaining who I was and what might be the problem might be, but nobody at the far end had any clues as to what it was all about. I sat down at my computer and started work on my own obituary, wondering if I had time to finish it.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Interior Health nurse administers Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
105 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

Just over 8,000 new vaccine doses administered in the region for a total of 158,000 to date

Advocates marched to city hall for overdose awareness on Wednesday, April 14, to mark five years since the province declared a public health emergency. Trevor Crawley photo.
Advocates march for overdose awareness as province marks five years of public health emergency

Advocates demanding action on the overdose crisis marched on city hall in… Continue reading

A photograph of bear scat shot in town in Kimberley on April 14 that shows bears are up and around once more. Kim Tuff photo.
WildSafeBC back for the season as bears begin to emerge from hibernation

WildSafeBC Kimberley-Cranbrook has resumed their operations, working to prevent conflict with wildlife… Continue reading

Pictured is the new Cranbrook Food Bank on Industrial Rd. 2. This building will also soon be home to the Cranbrook Food Recovery program and Farm Kitchen. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
Cranbrook Food Recovery, Farm Kitchen join Food Bank in new location

The organizations are partnering together to increase food security in the community

Western Financial Place is set to re-open on November 2, 2020. (Cranbrook Townsman file)
Concourse at Western Financial Place to close for season April 16

The City encourages walking on the outdoor track at COTR

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including, YVR and land crossings should ‘not be left behind’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read