Going to the doctor is one of those universal things. We think that it’s about getting medicine and getting better, but that’s only what it looks like. It’s all a façade.
Yesterday I had an appointment. I, Esmeralda Patterson, the girl who doesn’t need anyone, went to the doctor. I’d been fighting it, truly I had. I made excuses. I told myself I could handle all the pain. It would go away on its own; I just had to power through it. I hardly had a choice to “power through” it anymore; the pain was overwhelming me.
I walked the five sketchy blocks the nearest clinic. I sit in the waiting room. A nurse comes to the door and calls my name.
Or at least, she calls a name. It’s not my name.
Silence. The man opposite me, the only other patient, clears his throat.
The nurse squints at her clipboard. “Esmeralda?” She says with a roll of her eye.
I follow her out of the waiting room and into a tiny room. She straps the blood pressure cuff on my bicep. I wince as it pinches my skin.
A minute later, she unstraps the cuff, stabs a thermometer in my mouth and snaps a heart rate monitor on my finger. She raises an eyebrow. “Hm. Your pulse is a little high.”
No, really? Maybe my heart is racing because I’m just a bit nervous. Maybe it’s because I think I’m dying. Maybe it’s because I really hate this thing of relying on others.
She tells me to go into examine room number five and take a seat, and then she vanishes. I don’t feel much like sitting, but I ease myself unto the lofted cot anyway. The tissue paper on top of it crinkles with each minuscule movement. The sound grates on my fraying nerves, and so I jump down. I rip the paper doing that, but I don’t care much. I just want to vanish, just like the nurse did. I stand there like that with eyes closed and inhale slowly. This is it, I tell myself. This is my breaking point. This is the moment when I can no longer handle it all on my own. I forced myself to be okay with that.
An hour later, I walk out of the clinic doors, with medication and doctor’s orders in hand. I feel relieved, but not really because of my prescription. Believe me when I tell you that hospitals and clinics are one of those universal things. Everyone thinks medicine has always been solely about medicine, but that’s just not it. Medicine is about vulnerability.