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  • Holly Winter Huppert

A Narrow Path


I turned off the alarm first thing this morning, remembering that they cancelled school last night. Oh, snow day. I stepped out of bed and opened the blinds in my bedroom. Did it snow?


Deep snow changed the topography of my front yard. The lawn looked like someone had placed a large, white comforter over it. The bushes were under the snow and you couldn't see the line between the driveway and the lawn. It looked clean, as if someone just scrubbed until everything white. There's something beautiful about a fresh snow appearing to clean-up my yard.


I crawled back into bed and got under my fluffiest blanket with a smile on my face. There's nothing like a snow day when you can't go to work even if you were in the mood to work. It's a welcome day off, no matter when it comes.


My bed was warm and comfortable and there was something odd. What was it? No, there wasn't a sound, I wasn't cold or hungry and there wasn't anything out of place, except...


Oh. That's it. My chest pain was at a level 1, the lowest it had been in 2 long months. What a relief, to be almost pain free. I lay in bed and relaxed into the absence of pain.


Then I remembered: I was waiting for the doctor to call and report on my tests. Did I have lupus or rheumatoid arthritis? I'd done the research and if you type in "Pleurisy won't go away" both of those diseases pop up.


I felt my body tense again and tried to talk myself out of worry, but I couldn't. So I accepted my waiting time. The weather was so bad, likely the doctors wouldn't be in today. And we were expecting another foot of snow tonight, so perhaps I wouldn't hear anything until Wednesday.


That's what I figured, I would get my test results Wednesday at the soonest.


I remained planted in bed so as to not encourage the pain to dial itself up. I read my library books. I scribbled in my journal. I reread my old journals.


Around ten o'clock, I noticed I had a message on my phone, which was still turned off. It was from the doctor.


I listened to the message. "Everything is... actually.... negative."


She wanted to talk to me about moving forward, as in what tests should we do next, but I didn't have the energy to think about that right now.


No big diseases. I tried to let out that long exhale that one releases when good news shows up where bad news was expected. I was so tense from worry that I couldn't drop the fear right away.


It's as if I heard a loud noise outside and the police checked out the noise and then reported: "Don't worry, mam, it's not a vampire.


"What a relief, it's not a vampire! But before we celebrate, let's remember that something made that noise. Just because we've figured out what my pain isn't doesn't mean we know what it is.


Why do I do this to myself? I jump to the worst possible scenario and put myself through magnified stress. You'd think after years of strange medical exams that I would learn to deal with the possibilities that the medical problems would be solved, one at a time.


Oops. See how I am? Beating up on myself for being consumed with fear at a time when anyone would be afraid.


I hugged myself and said slowly so I would pay attention: "It's OK. I'm OK." I said it again. And again.


When a medical scare shows up, I hold my breath, tense and wait for the explosion. This time I got lucky. No explosion.


A little voice in my head said, "No explosion, yet. It's probably coming soon." but I shut that voice down. No need to make stuff up.


I texted everyone who had listened to my frightened monologues to let them know the tests were negative.


The tests were negative.


The doctor should not expect a return phone call from me right now. Likely I will never return her call. Never ever. I can't handle the stress of getting tested and waiting and waiting for the news. Do doctors understand how painful it is to wait? I don't feel like training this doctor, she'll have to figure it out on her own: waiting hurts.


Hopefully the pleurisy will dissolve so I can get on with my life.


I got out of bed and put on a few layers of winter clothing: time to shovel my front walk. I used the yellow shovel and shoveled a narrow path from my garage to my front door.


A narrow path is enough path for now.







© Holly Winter Huppert
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