They never do but this is how my brain operates. Yesterday, for no reason, my middle finger suddenly swelled and turned purple. That can’t help a person like me think fatally at a time like this.
A few years ago, the doc found tumors in my uterus. They were fibroid tumors and benign but I left the doctors office sobbing. I called my mother in a panic. She was less than supportive in my angst. In fact, she was down right sarcastic and logical and who wants that when you’re in a crisis?
ME: I have fibroid tumors mom!
MOM: Oh. I had those.
ME: She said they’re the size of a walnut.
MOM: Neat. Mine were the size of a grapefruit. They shrink with menopause.
ME: I’m going to die!
MOM: Yes you will. Some day. But these won’t kill you.
Husband used to be like that too. Until the time I went to the doctor for the dark patches of skin I have all over my face. I was sure it was skin cancer.
It was, the doctor said, Melasma Gravidarum, otherwise known as pregnancy mask. That had to be a bad thing as I wasn’t pregnant, right? But no, it turns out those pesky birth control pills I’d taken to not get pregnant had given me the symptoms of pregnancy. (Shakes fist at universe while screaming “Damn you”)
Husband had a friend in town visiting and as a result, wasn’t in the least interested in my possible death diagnosis. In fact, I think he’d forgotten the whole thing. He didn’t ask me about the appointment. He didn’t ask me if I was okay. And so, being female, I chose to not mention it to him and stew in the deep pool of resentment until he was properly apologetic. It didn’t help his case that his friends staying with us had been married for years. Not only did the husband remember my doctors appointment, but he also remembered to ask how it’d had been and he was properly concerned with the outcome. His wife had trained him well.
Husband did not do any of those things. Hours later, when he finally remembered to ask I was less than forthcoming with the correct information.
HUSBAND: What did the doctor say?
ME after a long sullen dramatic pause: She said I have pregnancy mask.
ME after a sigh filled with deep angst: Pregnancy mask. You get it when you’re pregnant.
HUSBAND who was now swerving all over the road: WHAT??? YOU’RE PREGNANT??? I DON’T WANT A BABY! HOW CAN YOU BE PREGNANT?!!!
The screaming went on for a long time. His friend, sitting in the front seat was in tears he was laughing so hard. I was sitting in the back trying to not make eye contact with husband in the mirror. I waited a long, long time before answering. The yelling and cussing had almost stopped. The laughing had not.
ME: No. I just have pregnancy mask. From the birth control pills.
HUSBAND: Damn you. You almost gave me a heart attack.
ME: Lesson learned.
Husband now calls seconds after I’ve left the doctor. He’s even learned to be sympathetic to any and all possible diagnoses' I might have. I call him now before my mom. When you’ve just learned you’re not dying, it’s better to talk to someone who will fake care about it.