I continue to be surprised by how my body betrays me in this post-child loss world.
A simple, relatively painless procedure brought me to my knees and there was nothing I could do about it.
I had a last minute appointment with a new specialist the other day because my rheumatologist wanted a dermatology consult.
So I hauled myself downtown (first time since all this pandemic stuff started!), parked, temperature checked and entered the brave new world of mostly empty waiting rooms populated by masked people looking at their phones.
Once I was called back into the room, the medical assistant took my vitals and I waited for the doctor. As I waited, I realized that this would be the first time I was seen by a health professional who didn’t know I had buried a child. But at six years into this journey, I dismissed it as inconsequential to the day’s business.
The exam went well and confirmed some suspicions. Just when I thought things were over the room suddenly morphed from “exam” to prepping for a “procedure”. They needed to take a small biopsy to rule out or rule in the diagnosis.
Now, I’ve had all kinds of uncomfortable and downright painful things done to me. I’m no whiner (although I do not like anyone to give me a play-by-play). I sit still, grit my teeth and put up with whatever comes my way.
But as I watched the nurses prep the tray I realized I was getting anxious. I applied all my little tricks-the 5-4-3-2-1 sensory tool, deep breathing, touching each finger to my thumb-and thought I was victorious.
When the doctor injected the lidocaine it really did feel just like tiny bee stings.
And then suddenly, unexpectedly and uncontrollably my world began to spin, my breath became ragged and I knew for certain I was headed toward passing out.
It was so embarrassing.
I apologized over and over and over.
But they were great.
The doctor said it was a vagal nerve response and I had no control over it. My body was reacting to stimuli and no amount of willpower could make it stop.
She finished up, the nurse brought me some cold water and I sat in the room for fifteen or twenty minutes to recover. I tried at one point to get up and realized I wasn’t quite ready.
I drove home but felt drained for the rest of the afternoon.
I don’t know why doctor’s offices seem to provoke my grief. Dominic didn’t enter Heaven from a hospital room.
But for some reason, they do.
And while I am so much more in control of when and how I let the grief roll down my cheeks NOW than I was even a year ago, there are times when my body acts against my will.
When that happens, I need to remember it isn’t a choice.
Every day I am holding in so very much. Choosing to spare the world from my inner turmoil and moments of weakness.
Sometimes willpower just isn’t enough.