A few years ago I was at my doctor’s office for a yearly physical. She gave me a clean bill of health and was about to send me on my way when she suddenly stopped and asked, “How old are you?”
“Twenty-four,” I said.
“Oh, okay,” she replied. “We have patients get their cholesteral levels checked at age 25.”
“What does that entail?” I cautiously asked.
“Just a simple blood draw.”
Hearing the words “blood draw” makes me almost pass out cold. When I don’t respond she goes on to ask, “When do you turn 25?”
I quickly consider lying, but she was glancing for my date of birth in my chart, and I figured if she made it through medical school she can probably manage simple math, dammitalltohell!
“Tomorrow,” I quietly answer, sinking into my chair and cursing the day I was born.
“Oh!” she brightly replies. “Well in that case, you could get your blood drawn today, since you’re so close to turning 25. I’ll call down to the lab.”
“NO!” I plead. “No, that’s okay! I have a fear of needles,” I explain. “I’d rather wait until my next appointment. I think I need a year to mentally prepare for this.”
She waits for me to start laughing or give her some sign that I’m kidding, but instead I’m eyeing the room for a puke bag and an exit. Before I leave I schedule my next appointment for a year later–the following September.
In August I call to cancel my appointment and reschedule for November, giving myself a two-month extension.
In November I cancel and reschedule for February.
In February I cancel and reschedule for April.
In April–over a year and a half later–I finally muster up the courage to keep my dreaded appointment. Everything goes well and my doctor is wrapping things up and getting ready to leave when I breathe a huge sigh of relief and think: OMG, she forgot! I’m off the hook!!
Not so fast.
“Oh!” my doctor exclaims. “I have a note here that you were going to get your cholesterol checked during this appointment. Are you ready for it?”
She laughs and says, “It’ll be okay! I promise it will be over before you know it.”
“Isn’t there a written test I can take instead?” I negotiate.
“It doesn’t work that way,” she reasons.
“BUT I EAT OATMEAL FOR BREAKFAST EVERY DAY!”
“Just get it over with,” she bargains, “and I promise you won’t need to do this again for another 5 years.”
So I suck it up and get my blood drawn, narrowly escaping a complete and total pass-out. A week later I get the validation I was looking for–a letter stating my cholesterol levels are excellent. I add it to the file of evidence I’m compiling to prove my body is a cholesterol happy zone. I’ll be ready for her when it’s time to re-plead my case at age 30. Or by the time I actually keep my appointment…at age 32.