She worries, so her husband has to go to the doctor

November 12, 2006|By SUSAN REIMER

PITY MY POOR HUSBAND. And a great many readers of this column do.

But pity my poor husband because whenever I start to worry, he has to make a trip to the doctor.

It has been true for most of our marriage that whenever dark clouds gather over my normally sunny disposition, he has to get his blood drawn.

This is nothing new and it is not a function of age -- his or mine. I don't know what comes over me.

Maybe it is the end of daylight saving time and the fact that the days are shorter and darker. Maybe it is the windy storms of fall and the naked trees they leave behind.

Maybe it is health insurance re-enrollment time.

But at this time of year, thoughts of mortality creep into my consciousness, and I cannot keep my thoughts from racing toward some tragic end.

So I send my husband to the doctor.

I don't go. If there is something wrong with me, I don't want to know it.

But when the dark thoughts come, I am sure there is something wrong with him, and I send him to the doctor to find out what.

At first, he bristled at my intrusiveness. Wasn't he in charge of his own health? Wasn't he capable of making his own doctors' appointments? All true. But this isn't about his health, it is about my morbid musings. And if we want them to go away, he has to go to the doctor.

Now, he is resigned. Every fall, he knows I am going to wreck one of his days off by scheduling a prostate exam or a colonoscopy or an upper GI series.

He always gets a clean bill of health, but that doesn't mean anything because clean bills of health are like football tickets. They are only good for that one day.

This year, it was the mole on his back.

It didn't bother me when I saw it last spring or over the summer at the beach.

But when the leaves fall, so does the curtain over my blithe spirit, and so I made an appointment for him with a dermatologist. I was thinking melanoma, but it was probably just the time of year.

Off the dear man went like, well, like a hard-working guy who has to spend his one day off in the doctor's office.

The dermatologist examined the mole and shrugged. Didn't look like anything to him.

"But I could remove it if it is worrying you," he said to my husband.

"Remove it," he replied. "Because it is worrying my wife."

susan.reimer@baltsun.com

To hear an audio clip of this column and others, go to baltimoresun.com / reimer.

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