My heart is pounding as I sit on the paper-wrapped table in the doctor’s office– waiting. It’s a notable feat that I’m even here, simply scheduling the appointment was something I’d avoided for years. I’m twirling my thumbs and tapping my foot in anxiousness as I await the doctor to enter. I was oblivious to this part of grief until my mother died. It’s the part of grief no one warned me about, where the death of someone you love triggers a fear that is immeasurable. The part where routine doctors appointments become scary, even though I’m a grown adult.
Since my mother’s death I have avoided so many mundane appointments and yearly check-ups because I fear my own health scare or terrifying diagnosis. Simple things became complicated by anxiety and clouded by fear– insurmountable fear.
But I realized, there is no logic in the avoidance of medical checkups to prevent stress. In fact, the weight of the fear gets carried into each new day instead of being confronted. For years I had been carrying an invisible weight of the fear of what a doctor’s appointment would lead to, instead of facing it directly, hopeful that the outcome would be a healthy report.
That leads me here, to this office, draped with a cotton cloth, anxious and fearful. I’m only waiting minutes but it feels longer and with each passing moment I start to regret my decision of coming here. I start silently praying that I’m healthy and that things will be ok. In the middle of my compulsive thoughts and quick prayers, there is a knock and then the door opens and the doctor appears.
She is kind. She is compassionate. She is thorough and she is patient. She has no idea the courage it took to come, nor the way my heart pounds with overwhelming panic as she scans my body. She completes my checkup and with a smile tells me I’m healthy and that everything looks good. I hold back tears as I thank her. As the appointment wraps up and I head back out to my car I realize how quickly I’m walking. I realize how big my smile is. I realize that the tears that are streaming down my face are both pride and gratitude.
I’m so grateful for a healthy report and I’m so proud that I confronted my fear and scheduled the appointment. I confronted a fear and in doing so the weight that had been immediately lifted was undeniable. I could breathe easier. I could let go of the pressure of the unknown.
There was no trophy for my accomplishment. There was no ribbon or certificate. There was a healthy report and an acknowledged trepidation, which would prove to be more meaningful than any medal or prize.
Courageously, I scheduled the appointment.
Fearfully, I attended the appointment.
And consequently, I let go of fear and anxiousness.
Confronting worry is terrifying but it’s the only way to eliminate the heaviness of it.
Schedule the appointment.
Quit procrastinating. Stop delaying. Pick up the phone and do it right now. Your heart rate might speed and your body might feel shaky, but it will be worth it. If you’re healthy you’ll walk out grateful and if you’re not, you’ll get the care you require– care you can only receive once you know you need it.
Right now, scared or fearful or hesitant, pick up the phone and schedule the appointment.
You can do it and in fact you need to.
Schedule the appointment, friends. Please, schedule the appointment.
A wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.