There are not very many words that will get someone quicker medical care, besides “I can’t breathe,” or “My water just broke!”
I haven’t been feeling well, lately—and no, this won’t turn into another “I’m pregnant!” post…we’re done with those for sure! My tonsils are swollen. Not painful. Not red. Just swollen and making it difficult for me to swallow. I thought, at first, that it might be an allergic reaction, since, you know, I’m allergic to everything. But it didn’t go away.
On top of that, I’ve been having chest pain. A heaviness. The weight of the world crushing me, stealing air from my lungs.
I had an idea of what it might be, but scheduled an appointment, anyway.
The words bring a controlled panic and an onslaught of tests. Oxygen level: Normal. Chest x-ray: Normal. EKG: Normal. A strep swab, WBC, and mono test for my swollen tonsils: All Normal.
I try to work up the courage to say the words, but she says them for me: “Could it be anxiety?”
My chest tightens more, my swollen throat closes, and tears burn my eyes as I nod, not trusting my voice. She asks what I could be anxious about and I whisper, “Everything.”
The family problems that are boiling over after simmering for 30 years.
The teenager I’ve helped raise for 13 years who suddenly tells me I have no place in her life.
The sick relative.
The husband who refuses to communicate.
The weight I can’t lose.
The time I don’t have.
The house that stays messy and the bank account that stays empty.
The schoolwork I have to excel at. Someone told me yesterday that a C is passing, but I can’t get a C. I have to get an A.
The sleepless nights, partially blamed on my baby, but the fact is that I toss and turn long after she has finally gone to bed.
I can’t breathe. I am in a constant state of panic. Of waiting for the rug to come flying out from under me. What’s next?
It’s too much, but it’s too hard to talk about. Even with friends I love, my first instinct is to pretend, “I’m fine.” The words are out of my mouth before I can stop them.
I’m a terrible liar.
Everything is not okay.
I am not fine.