trade-off to the worse

I am sure, there exists no coherency at all. But to me, it seems as if I traded in smoking (severe, but still only potential, health-risk) for endless consultations at doctors of every denomination possible (fears of real sicknesses installed at every turn).

I mean, there is nothing wrong with me, really.  Apart from tons of overweight, a direct result of the wicked combination of not knowing what to do with my oral equipment, my hands and approximately two extra spare hours per day to busy both of the above (that’s how long it takes, to smoke fifty to sixty cigarrettes). While I  still was smoking, these two hours were spent wisely: releasing stress, rejuvenating, keeping my hormonal system at bay, informal but neccessary communication with many staff members I hardly recall the name of any more, and, most important,  NOT EATING.

If I contrast this to today, I am not sure, I made the right decision putting away the Marlboros for good. Shortly after quitting one and a half years ago, I developed a nervous cough. Getting it checked, thyroid hypofunction and Hashimoto were diagnosed. But that’s not really a sickness, more a condition. You just take some pills with the missing hormones and that’s that.

However, they also found my lymph nodes at the throat out of order, far too big and of a suspicious shape. Combined with some off balance findings on my blood tests, indicating inflammatory processes going on somewhere and a couple of my family members suffering from cancer set the entire German health system on alarm. Or so it seems to me. I have to go through all the motions now: every test imaginable, every picture, scan, blood test and further, even more frightening sorts of doctors I have to see. I keep telling them, that all is fine. I am certain, as soon as my periodontosis is dealt with (now that’s something I actually do suffer from and am glad to have seen to) my lymph nodes will turn back to normal, same as the blood test readings. But they love to check. And double check. And introduce you to a much valued colleague just to make sure. Who then recommends you to see another expert. Right down to the oncologist, I had to visit last week. Not that I need one. She actually was very down to earth and real nice. But, of course, before she lets you off her frightening hook with any verdict, guess what: she really needs you to see another specialist….

If you are refusing to follow their strict regime, they get angry with you, demanding better cooperation. So I try to cooperate as good as I can. But this is high season at work. Most weeks I only can manage to take one day off.  I am truly fed up, spending it at various waiting rooms all over town. Just take tomorrow: 08:15 at the endocrinologist (Berlin center East) to check thyroid levels and adjust medication, 10:30 dentist (Berlin center West). So much for a relaxing day off. Checking my calendar during the next couple of weeks, this is going on and on and on.

Sometimes I just want my old, tough, defiant, smoking-like-a-gun barrel, nothing-is-ever-going-to-stop-me, don’t- you-ever-try-and-spit-into-one-of-my-gazillion-cups-of-coffee-per-day, hardass attitude back. Compared to this pussyfooting search for anything billable to type onto the health insurance report  (other than regular aging combined with a few lifestyle diseases), any smoke related health risk seems like a good swap.

Of course I could just refuse to comply. But the system managed to install this tiny fear…


5 thoughts on “trade-off to the worse

  1. PS. I totally get the meaning of your title. I expected more glorious rewards from quitting too.
    Maybe we have to keep reminding ourselves of the bad shit. The coughing comes to mind. And the guilt.


  2. I should really catch up with your posts in the order they were written. So so so sorry to hear you have had all these medical hassles and worries. You know I have been a doctor-avoider my whole life. My idea is that we pay these people to find out what is wrong with us – so it is no surprise that they almost always find something. I guess that is just a variation of “ignorance is bliss” like Joan said above.
    I really want to talk in person and catch up.


  3. I think health is a case where ignorance really is bliss. I can’t tell you how many times I have lived to regret bringing up some little symptom in the doctor’s office. They want to run a test or have you see a specialist “to reassure you” that nothing is wrong. But it never works out that way, does it? If you don’t have whatever they sent you there for, they find some other abnormality to follow up on. “Oh, that pain in your side? The CT says you broke a rib when you fell, but it healed fine. However, they incidentally found a tiny something-or-other in your breast for which you should have a mammogram and ultrasound immediately, if not sooner.” It’s a Catch 22 that fuels the medical machine, tests that should reassure you only deliver more worries. And once you’re worried, it’s almost impossible to say No to more tests. Good luck. 🙂

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  4. I really hate going to the doctor, which is unfortunate because I have a variety of chronic conditions that require monitoring. I never smoked, but I like eating way too much. I hope you can finally stop visiting specialists and that everything turns out to be false alarms.

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