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Facing Health Issues Alone; Sometimes You Just Want Someone to Hold Your Hand

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“Sometimes you just want someone to hold your hand, say “It’s going to be okay,” and rub the back of your neck.

When you are single that someone is not around.

About six weeks ago, I had some excruciating abdominal pain. At 2 am I drove myself to the local ER room and was poked, prodded, and finally put down with a course of morphine and some other fancier drugs. There was part of me that was sad that my new girlfriend lived 50 miles away and was not there to reassure me. And there was the other part of me that thought, yeah, I can do this alone. It’s better for everyone if I not wake them up in the middle of the night, it’s probably nothing…

Of course, we never know. For me, it was my first trip to an ER room since I was a teenager. I was lucky enough to have Obamacare insurance and my card was accepted as they got me to a room and into a paper gown and stuck some electrodes to my chest. Of course, there were moments when I wanted my momma. She was a few miles away, sleeping soundly. I mean, what could she do but worry?

So the machines went “ping” and the drugs kicked in, and I got drowsy and compliant. They took an x-ray to see what they could see about my pancreas. (I’m no doctor, so I’m making this up from a drug-addled memory tape.) There was nothing wrong according to my x-ray. We waited a few hours for the bloodwork to come back, and that too was normal. (No heart attack.)

I was BRAVING IT ALONE. But I wanted to be cuddled, stroked, and I wanted an adult to take care of all the decisions and actually listen to all the things they were trying to tell me. I got back to my house about 6:30 am and I let everyone know I was fine, but I’d had a scary night.

This Friday night, however, the painful abdomen monster reappeared, and my girlfriend was right there with me. At first, I didn’t want to wake her. I struggled with the pain, taking a bath, stretching, eating yogurt (thinking it might be indigestion). But the time came and I rallied my troop. And boy what a difference it was having a co-pilot. A pilot, actually, though I drove to the hospital.

All I needed was someone to stand in for me, advocate for me, and let me be the sick patient. I could focus on my pain, breathing deeply, and the questions the doctors were asking me. But she was the general-in-charge, and that felt amazing. Mainly, though, she just held my hand and said she loved me. She said it was going to be okay. She looked worried but held the confidence of a seasoned parent with a sick child. All you need to do is reassure them and get them the medical attention they need.

It’s been three days since my second hospital visit and I go to the general practitioner today to see what they can make of the available data. X-ray, catscan, blood work, me. I thought about doing some WebMD searches and diagnosing my own illness, but … Well, I’d rather have someone else take the responsibility for that. The web is scary anyway. I’d freak myself out on the web, so I’ll keep calm and ready myself for my trip to the doctor’s office.

And another nice touch, my girlfriend wants me to text her exactly what I find out, even though she won’t be available until after lunch. It’s really nice to have someone else who cares, who’s on your team in the first-line-of-defense. Now, to the shower and to the car. Healthward, ho!

Remember kids, your health is no accident. Take care of yourself, exercise, get sleep, eat well, and when something breaks, get yourself to a doctor, with or without backup.

Today, I am very happy to have backup.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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