The Waiting Game
by Kathe Campbell

  Nature had shaped my face at twenty, and a good life reshaped it by fifty. But at seventy-five, instead of charismatic laugh lines about my mouth and eyes that twinkled charm, energy, and youthful ideals, worry wrinkles were haunting me.

  Coping with a bad case of jitters, I picked up the phone to make an appointment with my doctor, for I had found a good size lump on my thigh. A lump, I pondered. Just what I need. I've lost an arm, now I'm about to lose a leg. How wonderful, as I pictured myself a sorry crippled old prune keeping my little ranch and stock in good fettle.  Along with rheumatoid arthritis and spinal stenosis, just one more thing to raise my walking drugstore status.

  My doctor inspected the lump and advised sending me headlong under a gargantuan machine resembling some medieval torture device. "I really don't think it's anything to worry about, Kath," he remarked as I pulled on my jeans and begin that awful waiting game.

    Whether my doctor was worried about me or not, those were the words I liked hearing. It was an expression of reassurance that allowed me to return to daily routines without anxious wondering what lab reports will bring. When feeling uptight, I'll simply take deep breaths to avoid sleepless nights and panic, and probably heal easily in these days of modern miracles . . . or so I told myself.

  But, alas, unable to think past worrywart butterflies, I pushed in a half dozen CD's and plunged into a major kitchen and pantry make-over. Saving aside a box of items for the food bank and reorganizing drawers and cupboards made one afternoon fly. The next day I tackled the linen closet, and day three found me fine tuning two bathrooms. Physical exercise and wearing myself to a frazzle left me gratified, and did wonders for my disposition. Now if I should suddenly call it a day, the grandkids could say . . . "Yes, our Granny kept such a lovely home!"

  Four eternal days passed with fear creeping in like hoar frost, characterized by episodes of chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath and profuse sweating.  Should I call the doctor's office? How long can it take for a lab crew to check out those samples? Surely the old adage, "no news is good news," has merit.  There was no doubt about it, despite my doctor's reassurances, I was dying.

  Still a miserable wreck, I crawled into bed exhausted, but woke up wired in the middle of the night, pacing about, my befuddled canine pal dogging my every step. Wooziness and nausea consumed me, and I had trouble reading the newspaper or absorbing a movie on TV. My imagination was on a rampage again, and if I wasn't sick before, I was doing a bang-up job giving myself a full-blown panic attack.

    The following day I again bugged my sweet daughter with my tale of woe, did my volunteer duty, and the dog and I took a little ride in the truck to drive out worry demons. But in the end, can the amazing truth be that the God of the whole world might be interested in little ol' me? It must be so, for He said, "fear not," and I knew somebody up there had His eye on this pitiful sparrow.

    When I heard the doctor's nurse on the phone, I froze. Why was Maura calling, and not my doctor?   "The x-rays, ultra sounds, and lab results show nothing, Kath. Doctor says all is well. It's just a large non-invasive fatty lump. Watch it, and if it changes, be sure to come in, okay?"

    Heaving a giant sigh, worry wrinkles gone in a flash, and feeling like a kid again, I trumpeted aloud to my faithful pooch as he felt my relief and jumped in circles . . . . .

  "Now wasn't that just the dumbest - getting myself all tied up in a dozen knots over this crazy thing, Corky?  I'll not be putting us through that again!"

  Wanna bet?

  Kathe Campbell lives her dream on a Montana mountain with her mammoth donkeys, a Keeshond, and a few kitties. Three children, eleven grands and three greats round out her herd.  She is a prolific writer on Alzheimer's, and her stories are found on many ezines. Kathe is a contributing author to the Chicken Soup For The Soul and Cup of Comfort series, numerous anthologies, RX for Writers, magazines and medical journals.  kathe@wildblue.net



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