What’s the line between pride and boasting? I think it’s so important that we be able to express pride in ourselves, to a point. I take pride in my ability to listen to other people, to nourish myself fairly well (I aspire to the 80/20, not the 90/10 guideline), to floss every day whatever the research says. I also take pride in my writing, and thank you for giving me this avenue to share my thoughts (and hopefully make you laugh).
But sometimes I veer toward boastful, as I have been recently in speaking about my leukemia. I’ve been bragging about my energy and newfound initiative. I’ve told you I feel ready to take on the world. Cancer schmancer, I’ve been harping.
Enough already, I expect you’re thinking, and you’re right. I should have dialled it back a bit. Were you here, you could see the blush of shame all over my face. Wait, is that shame or is it an infection?
A few days ago, as I was out and about, my cheekbone started feeling odd, tingly, as if I’d gotten hit by a Nerf football. I looked like a tot in a tiara, without the tiara and without the tot. That’s right, full child-like rouge, but on one cheek only. (No, this is not me but some other woman blushing.)
When J. came home, she inspected the offending area thoroughly. She agreed that if my eruption worsened overnight, a visit to Dr. Family was in order. After a sleepless night spent imagining the infection entering my bloodstream–I shan’t boast about my skill at finding reasons to be anxious–I awoke in greater discomfort, so I called Dr. Family, unprompted by J. I knew it was time to go in. Of this I’m proud, especially in light of my recent hypochondria confession.
I told the lovely receptionist, Ms. Gatekeeper, about my problem and asked her if I might see the doctor that day. Ms. G. is well aware that my previous urgent calls have not been for naught. Because the doctor was fully booked, Ms. G. asked if I could wait until the next day. I said nope. I hate inconveniencing people, but I trusted the doctor would understand once she saw me. And so Ms. G. squeezed me in, and thank goodness she did.
Over the course of that day, the redness spread. Dr. Family diagnosed me with cellulitis. I daresay I knew what it was because of its similarity to the rash that had sent me to hospital 6 months prior. She put me on the same oral antibiotics I eventually received at the hospital, with clear instructions to follow up at the ER if symptoms continued to worsen after 48 hours, when the pills would kick in.
I’m proud of how I handled myself. I was firm and assertive and asked for what I needed. I had to see my doctor that day. Seeing a random clinic doctor would have been much more complicated because I am complicated.
I may have even saved myself a trip to the ER or even a hospital admission. Think of the tax increase I’ve just saved you, fair citizens of this province! And yes, I’m proud of that too. If I’m ever caught boasting again, I trust one of you will reign me in.