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…