Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Old Habits

I had an appointment with Dr. Hood, my cardiologist, on Monday. I pretty much already knew what he was going to say. That wasn't what made me cry. It started with the EKG. She didn't have to do lower limb leads, because the newer machine allows for hip placement instead. When she left the room, I looked up and saw one of those large picture charts that you often see hanging in patient rooms. It was the anatomy of the heart, my favorite part of the body. I burst into tears.

My DD is twelve. As per my previous posts, we all know that is an age of discovery and exploration. In addition to all the "forbidden" things I found and learned at that time, I also devoured anything related to the body or medicine. I would get up early to walk to the bus stop. Since I was the first one there, and often lonely anyway, I would read. I had a subscription to Discover Magazine. I was reading and understanding those articles, desperate to learn more. I had medical charts and diagrams that I would study. It wasn't that I wanted to be a doctor or nurse or whatever. I just found it all magical. It was beautiful and touching and real. I remember reading about HIV when it was first discovered. I was alone at the bus stop, and it was terrifying. When I was dating my husband-to-be, I remember reading parts of an article to him about a new breakthrough in chemistry to be marketed as Viagra. We talked about how that would be the biggest money maker if they could make it safe. I have been absorbing and assimilating this type of knowledge for decades. As a nurse, it had a purpose. I was able to take something that seemed ethereal and apply it to the real world in a way that paid my bills and helped others live better.

I still read voraciously about all the new and old science and medicine. In the office, I had to get it together. I tried to remember that I still had those 12 years of nursing. I had served well. I blew my nose and tried to take away the puffy face before Dr. Hood entered the room. He was always very kind and respectful to the nurses. When he came in, he told me he missed me and wanted to know where I was working now. I am proud to say that I did not cry. I was able to convey to him that I miss it, but it is not a reality right now. I didn't say any more than that. I was controlled and careful, just like a good nurse should be when talking to a doctor.

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