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So just a couple of days earlier I was busy doing something totally new and enjoying the experience. But somewhere back in that tangled web between my ears that probably looks something like the City Manager’s Weekly Report, trouble was brewing.
Wednesday evening, before, during, and after cocktails, steak, and dessert, I was living large. Thanks to my TCDC All-stars and a good friend/patient/arguably the best athlete TC High ever produced, I was sitting ringside at the USC Trojan Football Awards Banquet. And by the time I’d made myself right at home I was rubbing elbows with the Senior Associate Athletic Director-Development, the son of the first Trojan to ever record a touchdown at the Coliseum, and an All-Pac10 safety and his family. Almost forgot about Coach Pete and Marcus Allen; could’ve hit ‘em both with friendly lettuce wedge fire if I wasn’t so dang focused. Hope I can make that NFL draft day party too.
And shortly after I’d accomplished the Mark Sanchez autograph for the future Mrs. Sanchez, my Godchild Ashley, and just after finally figuring out where I’d parked my car, some serious anxiety started to surface. Tomorrow was going to signal the kick-off of another new experience but it wasn’t gonna resemble the kind of tailgating to which I’d become accustomed.
Not long after the loss of my friend and colleague, Publisher/Citizen Baskin, I made a point of finally being responsible and getting a medical check-up (I sort of figured that if I didn’t, OM Dalila might access some introductory urgent-care.) True, I really do work at taking care of myself; I watch what I eat and work out practically every day (done it since I was old enough to go out and play with the other neighborhood kids.)
But after helping my mom with her difficult journey through the health care system, I’d become way more phobic about seeing Medical Docs than I was willing to admit. So when I finally made it to my overdue primary care appointment a nurse greeted me by asking how long I’d had high blood pressure (My answer was, “Never: until I saw you.”) Well, the hypertension was all anxiety-related; the BP went back to about 105/65 when I measured it at home over the next two weeks. I gave up chicken Milanese/3 days per week and passed a treadmill echocardiogram with style.
When I met up with my Doc to discuss the various test results I seriously thought a Trojan “V” and a high five weren’t totally out of the question. Instead, all I got was, “Have you scheduled your colonoscopy yet?”
So yesterday was the Big Day. OM Dalila chauffeured me to and from; I knew I could depend on her because she had recited the colonoscopy countdown on a daily basis since about mid-October. Everything went fine. I’m here to tell you that even for a total MD phobic like me, the experience was way less painful than watching the bruins on offense. And the benefits go to life and death.
I learned two major things. I’ve always thought I was sympathetic to the needs of scared patients. I know I’ll be better now. And I’ve always thought of myself as an effective advocate for oral cancer awareness. With my filter of hypocrisy a little less formidable, I expect to be a more convincing voice.
Declaring to walking the talk is a great step forward but facing some fears can be the next step toward some possibilities we can’t even imagine.
Have a great, healthy 2009!