Laying on the table, wrapped in my warm blanket staring up at the CT machine I was hit with an overwhelming amount of pain. Not the physical kind, I’m used to that. This was different; this was anger and frustration and another one I couldn’t quit figure out.
Staring up at the numbers on the screen waiting for the voice that tells you when to hold your breath and when to breathe I was uncomfortably aware of the fact that it was just me and the big machine in the room. My mind wandered to the near future thinking about who would be waiting for me when I got off the table and walked out of the changing room.
No one would be waiting for me in the waiting room.
I came alone.
When I was finished with my appointment I got dressed, got into my car and drove down the road to grab lunch with a friend with this nasty empty, angry feeling hanging around me as I drove. As I pulled into the parking lot and reached for my bag the damn broke and I sobbed loud enough that the people walking by my car heard every moment of it.
I looked up for a moment and realized there was a man sitting in his car across from me, watching me fall apart. This should have been my metaphorical shake to pull myself together. Instead I hid my face behind my hands and cried even harder.
In my car.
In a Panera parking lot.
On a Thursday morning.
That’s that emotion I couldn’t peg in CT Machine. Loneliness.
Countless Ultrasounds, CT Scans, MRI’s, exams, doctors and specialists. Meetings with lawyers and research about conditions and diseases and thousands of thoughts, worries, hopes and fears swimming around in my mind and all of these things I manage on my own. I do these things alone.
On the outside it really doesn’t seem like much; everyone goes to the doctor, everyone thinks about things that make them worry. But there is something intimately invasive to the process that often times I doubt anyone who isn’t a part of this community understands.
It’s not just the big machines, the countless blood draws and IV’s with chemicals that make you feel sick or hot or dizzy. It’s the never ending parade of people you’ve never even shared a coffee with touching you in all of the places on your body that are meant for only you. It’s the constant scrutiny of your medical past and having to explain surgical history over and over again.
It’s form after form, bill after bill and never getting any closer to the only reason I continue to put myself through this literal hell.
All of this hit me today while I stared up at the machine, and then as I pulled in to the parking lot the weight of the fact that every single time I have walked through that fire I have done so alone. There wasn’t anyone there with me to hold my hand while I sat in the waiting room today. On the rare occasion that I do bring someone with me, when it comes time to get on the table the only people there to hold my hand are the people who are paid to do it.
When it’s over I’ll get dressed, and go about the remainder of my day. People who know I had appointment today are only effected to the point that they knew I had plans, but I will carry today with me through the night. I alone will wait impatiently for the Radiologist to call with the results and what the next steps should be.
The only person losing any sleep over this is me.
The only person reading articles and reports and studies on these conditions is me.
The only person who is being continuously suffocated by the sheer incompetency of my body is me.
So I suppose it’s fitting that the only person sobbing loudly in a parking lot on a Thursday afternoon about all of this is me.