“You have an umbilical hernia,” my doctor said laughing, “and the weird thing is, so do I.” My doctor laughs at just about everything, which utterly delights me. The first time I saw her, shortly after we moved here just over a year ago I was a complete wreck.
“I hate Dallas,” I said back then, “there is nothing beautiful here and the weather is a joke.”
She laughed and typed on her laptop.
“I miss the nature and wildlife in Scottsdale so much I could cry!” I moaned.
She laughed and typed.
“I used to be a public speaker and had audiences of three hundred; now I can’t make it to the grocery store without a half of my dog’s Xanax.”
Laugh and type.
“I cough all day, every day and I have horrible anxiety because I’m sure I have lung cancer!”
Laugh and type.
“I used to write management training programs for corporations, now I can’t sort out a recipe!”
Her laughing didn’t put me off. It made me think she didn’t think anything was wrong. When I was finished emoting she diagnosed me with “severe allergies” which apparently is very common in Dallas, said I probably had PTSD (which was confirmed by a therapist several weeks later), sent me for a chest x-ray to calm my nerves about lung cancer, and gave me some OTC allergy drug recommendations.
“So, what do we do about the hernia? “I asked, “What did you do about yours?”
“Well let’s wait and see. I just push mine back in from time to time.” she said, “and I just pushed yours back in. Let me know right away if you experience any new pain and if you do, we’ll think about surgery. But for now just carry on and exercise as you normally do, abs and all. But before you go,” she went on, “how are your menopause symptoms these days?”
I’m fine,” I said, “but I’m on hormone replacement therapy and you’re not and the last time I saw you, you were having a very rough time, so I’m wondering how your menopause symptoms are.
“Well,” she laughed, “I was drinking way too much red wine and I think it was making my hot flashes worse, so I switched to Scotch and I’m feeling soooo much better.”