You might think that someone with various and sundry health challenges, including cancer, might worry a lot about dying. The thought does cross my mind every so often, but not for the reasons you might expect. Surprisingly, I’m not all that worried about dying because my health gives out. I’ve survived so many serious health challenges that I feel somewhat invincible on that front, perhaps excessively so.
For example, this morning, J. and I headed up to the hospital to meet with Dr. Liver. Last week’s ER doc, upon noticing my liver enzymes were wonkier than usual, suggested I make this appointment. I wasn’t all that nervous about seeing Dr. Liver, even though my liver’s happiness is somewhat critical to my staying alive. I didn’t expect Dr. Liver to be all that worried–he’s not a very reactive fellow, and he’s seen my liver enzymes much higher–but you never know what might transpire.
As we neared the hospital, we passed a well-dressed woman in a red Mercedes applying her eye make up while she was driving. We were on snow-covered roads in a 70-km-per-hour zone, no less. I’ve seen people do a lot of crazy things behind the wheel, but I’ve never seen anyone, male or female, apply eye makeup while the car is moving. Suddenly my liver functioning was farthest from my mind; I was terrified of dying in a car crash.
Yes, sometimes I feel like I’m taking my life in my hands when I get behind the wheel of my car. Whether the driver beside me is drunk or high, talking or texting on her phone, eating breakfast, reading a map, or applying eye make up, she so often is not focussing on the potential death trap she’s manoeuvring at high speeds through busy streets. And my awareness of what’s going on around me can only protect me so far. Wouldn’t it be the ultimate irony if, on my way to an appointment with a doctor who has kept me well for so many years, I was killed by a driver applying her eye make up while she drove 70 km per hour in winter road conditions?
So how does this story end? That impeccably mascaraed driver turned where we turned. Yes, Ms. Red Mercedes was driving to the hospital. Perhaps she too was a patient, wanting to look her finest for the doctor she was seeing, or maybe she was heading to her medical office to help patients like me. Good thing she didn’t kill any along the way. (Doctors don’t get paid for patients they don’t see.)
And my appointment with Dr. Liver? He said, as he always does, “Despite the numbers, from a liver perspective, you’re doing okay.” He’s a wait-and-see kind of guy, which I like. He won’t intervene until he has to. And if my doctor doesn’t panic, I don’t panic.
I can only hope I won’t get killed by a distracted driver en route to next week’s bone marrow aspiration. I’m not so keen on the procedure, but I’d still like to arrive alive. Trust me, I’ll be on the lookout for Ms. (or is that Dr.?) Mercedes.