I lie to him.
The doctor opens the door with a knock, greeting me with a smile and a question that I can’t hear. This, of course, is the reason I’m sitting in the examination room.
“Which ear?” he repeats.
“My right,” I respond. This is the truth.
“How long has it been bothering you.
“Oh, since last month,” I fib.
I add in a half-truth.
“It started when my son had a cold.”
It’s true that I first noticed the fullness and buzzing in my right ear when my son got sick–in September. I caught a cold at the same time as him and have been snuffling ever since, my ear aching and distorting all sounds that come in on my right side.
But this is a Friday afternoon at the quick clinic after all. And there is no quick explanation for why I’ve waited three months to seek treatment.
So, I don’t tell the nice doctor how, last fiscal year, I used all but one day’s worth of sick time and the few vacation days that I had in my new job for Philip. There was the wellness check that prompted the autism screening. There were all of the missed days of work to get an evaluation and admission to preschool, plus IEP meetings, conferences and other visits to observe in the class or meet with therapists. When July 1 rolled around, my vacation and sick leave were reset, but I’ve already used several days for things related to Philip. So when I started having problems with my ear, I didn’t want to use my limited paid time off for a doctor’s appointment. At least not for one that was for me.
I don’t tell the friendly doc that I knew I could come to the quick clinic without missing work, but that I was embarrassed. How was I going to explain why I had no primary care doctor? That the last time I actually scheduled a doctor’s appointment was for my post-natal visit? Oh, wait, the last time was actually with a shrink for the postpartum depression after I cried during the entire post-natal visit. Then my previous employer switched insurance companies. I made it a priority to find a pediatrician for Philip when it changed and again when we moved. But for myself?
So, I lie to the doctor. I tell him I’ve had the problem for several weeks instead of several months. I don’t want to explain to him why I waited.
And I don’t want to reveal to myself why I am now sitting here finally getting a diagnosis and treatment.
I could lie to myself and say I went because I had the time. I was excused early from work following the staff holiday party.
I could lie to myself and say that I went because the noise at the party had really bothered me. I felt like I couldn’t hear anything. I began to fear that if I put it off any longer, my hearing would be permanently altered.
I could lie to myself and say that I finally thought enough of myself to take care of myself. That I believe I deserve good health as much as my son does.
While there is a bit of truth in each of these lies, I know in my heart that I had planned this trip to the doctor the day before. That’s when I noticed that Philip seemed to have a stuffy nose. That’s when I decided I needed to get healthy not for me but because my untreated cold could make my son sick.
Honestly, I’m already feeling better.
Would I lie to you?
Would I lie to you honey?
Now would I say something that wasn’t true?
I’m asking you sugar, would I lie to you?