To the Letter

The doctor said the “b” word today.  I was in for my annual “Wellness Assessment”.  Don’t you just love the deceptively innocent way those two words just roll off the tongue?  “Wellness Assessment”?  It might as well be called the “Malady Assessment”, given that the conversation always centers around what’s wrong with me.  As usual, our conversation ran through a variety of subjects – from blood pressure, to asthma symptoms, to vertigo.  I mentioned in passing that there was a mole on my back which the Lovely Lady had suggested “looked funny”.  Those words could be used to describe many attributes of my physical appearance, so I had not been overly concerned.  The good doctor, however, took a look just to be sure.  “That does look funny,”  he suggested.  I am used to people agreeing with the Lovely Lady, especially since she is so often correct, but I wasn’t happy about his siding with her this time.  “Set up an appointment.  We need to do a biopsy.”  Yep.  That “b” word…No, not with a capital “b”.  Well, I hope not, anyway.

I have to admit, I wasn’t at all disturbed by his use of the word, or even that I have to go back tomorrow and submit to the procedure, which is likely to hurt a little.  What I was really dreading today was the doctor’s reaction to my other vital statistics.  The cholesterol is still over the limit, the blood pressure a tad over the acceptable range, and the weight more than a couple of pounds over the norm.  I was sure a new diet (that would be the “d” word) would be discussed, or a program of exercise (the “e” word), or worst of all…the dreaded prescription (sorry, no letters for this one – I won’t even discuss it with him).  I dislike pills.  And no, it’s not so much about the unintended side-effects, even though I learned all about those from Alice.  You know, after she went down the rabbit hole.  I just don’t do well with pills.  At least, not long-term.  I start out with the best of intentions, religiously taking the proper dosage at the proper time, with the proper companion material.  Taken with food?  No food, but water?  Lots of water, but don’t lie down for thirty minutes?  All the instructions will be followed exactly…for two or three days.  After that, things seem to get a little fuzzy.  Did I take the dose at noon?  I didn’t drink all of the water.  Will it be okay?  I’m really not hungry now.  Can I wait to take the medicine until I want to eat?  Okay…that last never happens.  I’m hungry all the time.  But, you get the picture.  I don’t want to take medicine.  Give me a shot; let me endure the little bit of pain now and get it over with.  I hate things that are drawn out and require discipline.

Today, I was ecstatic that the doc didn’t rail on me about the “d” word, or the “e” word, or even the pills.  He suggested (gently) that I could get back to “e”-ing any time soon, but that was it.  I’m good to go!  Oh, by the way…come back again for the “b” word.  There was no urgency, but the lady at the desk says tomorrow at four is good, so I’ll see him again very soon.

My guess is that you’re laughing at my sense of priorities about now.  I’m not really worried about the possibility of the “C” word (yeah, it should probably be a capital “c” there).  I’m just fine with someone cutting something out of my back; I’m even okay with them checking that something they cut out for the “C” word, but I dread every appointment with my doctor where the “e” word could be used, leading to a little physical exertion on an ongoing basis.  And, the “d” word!  Any real discipline in what goes into my mouth on a daily basis would be disastrous!  I do play around a little with the “d” word fairly frequently.  Sure, I’ll pass up that bread, and maybe that dessert.  I’ll even skip the meat in a meal occasionally.  But if, on the spur of the moment, we have to select a quick meal, that Thickburger at Hardees will do just fine, thanks!  Sure!  Make it a large order of Curly Fries, too!  I certainly wouldn’t allow the “d” word to interfere with what’s really important to me.

I find myself shaking my head as I see the words (or letters) in b&w.  But, isn’t that how we are, all through life?  I think I may have mentioned my chubby friend from elementary school who, uninterested in running any more during our physical education period, hid behind a sapling half his girth and declared, while hiding his eyes, “I’m staying right here for the rest of the period.  No one can see me here, ’cause I can’t see them.”  Much like the fabled ostrich’s head buried in the sand (a myth encouraged by the fact that they really do lay their heads and necks flat on the ground to blend into the scenery when a predator is near), there is no safety in denying danger.  That path guarantees defeat.  That said, it is not necessarily safe to confront danger, either.  There is always the chance of defeat, of losing the battle.  But if we stand and face the peril, at least we have what is aptly known as a fighting chance. 

Have you ever been faced with a giant in your life?  My experience has been that bullies rarely (if ever) go away when you turn your back on them.  They can only be defeated by standing and resisting.  It will almost certainly hurt.  There may be pain involved, possibly extreme pain.  But, the long-term rewards are indescribable.  Then again, it is possible that the enemies you’ve faced were a little less significant.  Sometimes, the danger is as tiny as a thorn that sticks in the skin, wearing and irritating.  Left where it is, the result can be just as serious as the destruction induced by the giant.  Loss of function, infection, blood poisoning, even death can result.  But if we make the effort and take the time to remove the thorn and to repair the tiny amount of damage done, the relief is almost as indescribable as defeating the giant.

You understand that I’m talking to myself tonight, don’t you?  I’m happy that you’ve hung around with me as long as you have, and if some of the ideas are helpful to you, that’s great.  But, I’m psyching myself up for the long-term “d” word and yes, even for the “e” word program that is undoubtedly ahead of me.  I’ll go in tomorrow for the “b” word, too.  We’ll see how it all works out, but giants will be faced and thorns will be pulled. 

You can come along with, if you like…company is always welcome.

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
(Chuck Swindoll~American pastor/teacher)

“…when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
(Ephesians 6:13)

With acknowledgment and thanks to Chuck Swindoll for the concept of “Killing Giants, Pulling Thorns”.

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