Friday afternoon, I was not where I was planning on being the day after my birthday. Instead of enjoying figuring out some UI code, I was sitting in a gurney at the local hospital. It was the end of three weeks of steadily worsening symptoms and more than a bit of fear. In a few minutes, I would either be relieved or I was about to have one of the worse days of my life. And I didn't know which one.
There was a lot going on in my head, mainly of what they'll find when they look in. I learned a bit about myself then. In fact, I would be perfectly fine with an alien parasite bursting out of my chest than finding out it was cancer. But, both were on the table along with a whole slew of other, considerably less deadly, options. But, sitting for an hour and a half on a gurney, my mind got to running through all the morbid possibilities. What would I do? How would I tell people? Could I write about it?
I think life is about experiences. If all goes well, I won't be in and out of hospitals most of my life, so I paid attention to everything. You never know if a plot needs oil in the air supply system or knowing the background color of the photo identification, but might as well learn it. It also helped take off the edge that fear that I was going to find out something horrible. The phrase "if this was a novel" kept running through my head. Horror novel? Teeth. Drama? Cancer. Comedy? Explosions of blood. Anime? Explosions of blood and the alien. Porn? Naked bodies. Techno-thriller? Bomb. Supernatural? Teeth again.
I was still voting for them seeing eyes.
And then they came for me. They were cheerful, I was cheerful... because I'm good at faking it. I asked questions about the numbers on my wrist and the devices around their neck. They wheeled me in front of a number of people and I realized they were all there for the same thing. They gave me drugs, I kept asking questions.
Thirty minutes later, I was back in the room trying to get my pulse below 57. (For some reason, every time I'm hooked up to one of those machines, I try to slow down or speed up my pulse.)
There wasn't any eyes. Thankfully, there also wasn't any chest-bursting or teeth. There also wasn't anything that even remotely could be cancerous. But, that still didn't hide the fact I had a serious problem. Not life-threatening, but still serious. And, its a non-solvable problem too. The damage was done and I'm going to have it for the rest of my life. It might go away for a few months, but if I slip too many times, its going to be right back. It isn't anything that millions of other people don't have to deal with every day, but it is still nerve-wracking when the chipper nurse is keeps saying "maybe for the rest of... you know, your life."
I'm not really upset. There is a comfort in having a diagnostics and a plan. Even knowing that this is going to take four to six months to heal doesn't bother me. It is a problem, a known condition. Sad and scary as it is, at least it wasn't cancer.
Though the alien parasite would have been okay too.