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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Anxiety in 140 characters

He sat in the firm chair. Room was bright white. Walls were decorated with medical equipment. Behind the door was a poster that warned of 

the evils of his excesses. Just 12 Alcoholic Drinks a week! On the counter is a plasticy scale model of the neck. The pieces move and 

stretch. A blue textured paper lumpily covers a table with a tray.  the lumps hint of some ominous instruments underneath.  He wants to

peek under but does not. He feels warmer. the room is still cool. A slight tingling in his lips. His head is slightly rushed. Like just

shy of the right amount of blood. He sends a text to his wife then flips through pictures on his phone. He feels calmer looking at 

pictures taken of his family and of the scenery along various hikes.  The doctor comes in.  She is a wonderful doctor. She asks the basics 

like how has he been and so forth. She brings up images on her computer and talks of how slightly or hardly interesting these nodules are. 

He asks the difference between a nodule and a tumor. She says they are the same but nodule describes small lesions or tumors. Tumors sound 

worse. Nodule sounds cute-ish. Like a bump. The Doctor says one is 20% bigger than last year. still small but % is what they go one so 

let’s just scrape out a little.  There is a smaller one. This is more interesting because it has blood flow. Interesting means more likely 

to be a problem.  Still a small chance of a small problem. He feels good still. “We should biopsy both” she says. He asks a few more 

questions. She answers perfectly. He is sweating a bit now. His head is hot. He feels sticking under his shirt. His thinking is a little 

fuzzy now. “I am feeling some anxiety and a little panicky.  I hate it.  I have no control. It is completely irrational”.  “Yes, I know. 

You body will do what it wants. You are along for the ride. But, this a minor procedure. Over before you know it”. “What if we don’t do 

anything”? “How will you feel not knowing”? “I walk outta here and I could not care less. I would not worry one minute about it”. 

“Really”? “Really!”. “Well, it would probably be fine. It is just better to check than wait.  The procedure is a few minutes and just a 

couple pokes”. “I trust your judgement because mine is not clear” he said as tears were now welling in his eyes and escaping from the 

corner. He could feel the anxiety making his heart race, making him sweat and be lightheaded and feel like nhe needs to escape. He is 

sitting, his hands gripping the sides of the seat. Fragments thoughts race through his head. He can feel his hair! All of them. She 

motions for the table. He gets up and follows her finger removing his shirt. The cool antiseptic air feels good. His tingling skin feels 

the cold paper on the table. It feels white. Cool and white. She talks, calming to him and she helps get him in the correct position. 

Breath he reminds himself.  He thinks of pictures. And music. the anxiety subsides some. He hears the blue paper rustle. The mysterious 

instruments are being uncovered, out of sight but not out of mind. The doctor and an assistant prepare for the procedure. he is getting 

more anxious waiting for it to start. “Here we go” she says. A few moments later he feels a needle pierce his skin. Slight pain. It burns 

a little. She moves the needle around scraping parts of the “nodule” and the needle comes out 3 seconds later. He tries to stop thinking 

about the procedure again. And has some success. The next needle is coming. Elvis is singing in his head. “Wise men say, only fools rush 

in…”.  There are 4 more needles.  Then “We’re all done, just lie there now”.  He sits up. Feels fine. Anxiety is about 95% gone. “Sit and 

relax a few “ she says.  “I am fine now” he says as he starts to get up.  “Sit” she says as she tosses him his shirt. Five minutes later 

he is walking the labyrinth looking for the exit, whistling. He pretends his anxiety of all gone but his wobbly legs give him away.  fini

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