My First Time at the Shrink

Perhaps this wasn’t necessary, but like everything, I just wanted to make sure…

The wait outside the MRI room was particularly strenuous – to my stomach. My imaginations of the worse may have released all sorts of enzymes that created a gastric gripe so bad, that I developed GERD overnight. My GP was tough on me this time. She was stern enough to remind me that she may soon not be able to help me, if this is the way I keep thinking. She is right I thought, but how does a mentally affected person ever control the thought process?

I wasn’t suicidal yet, but I did not want to reach that stage. I consulted with my husband over visiting a shrink, and I think after assessing all my health issues, he acquiesced to the idea and with a shrug, told me to go ahead.

My first stop was still at the gastroenterologist – since the GERD medication did not seem to help and I found myself with reflux pain at the throat, the previous night. He saw how nervous and anxious I was, and with his own sarcastic humor asked me how many times I consulted Google for my problems. I assured him I didn’t, which is why the suspense over my issues is slowly, if not surely killing me. With another doctor assisting him, they both managed to study my case and after a while, putting his pen and glasses down, he said,

“You are too young to have pre-cancerous polyps, and in my opinion, over the years of my experience….I do not usually tell my patients this without a thorough confirmation, but as an exception to your case, YOU DO NOT LIKELY HAVE CANCER.”

He was quick to note my relieved exhalation, and continued,

“You have inflammation, which could be caused by anything that day from eating a rotten egg or swallowing something semi spoilt like some salad that had been exposed too long, or expired milk, or whatever. We definitely will investigate the issue, and we’re working on the approvals for the colonoscopy, until then do not consult Google, and please relax. Just to let you know if this ever helps – if you had been in India, they would not or never undergo a colonoscopy, but simply ask you to repeat tests in two weeks, but since we are here, we’re simply following protocol.”

I wish he had simply said this earlier while he gave me the news! I told him so, to which he only replied with more humor, that he wished he’d known I was paranoid. As I started off to the shrink’s office, I observed the immediate effect the news had on me. The GERD had almost disappeared, the palpitations had stopped. I imagined myself sleeping soundly that night. The sad tragic background music that had been recurrent in my head was replaced with lighter peppy tunes.

The shrink was a calm, smiling man in his fifties, and judging by his accolades, he was comfortingly experienced. He listened to my problems, and after a few personal questions deduced that I was suffering from acute sleep deprivation, coupled with my slight inclination towards OCD. He assured me that I need not take medication, but to undertake a few lifestyle changes – which included taking my coffee in the morning instead of evening and to include more outdoor walks, yoga and meditation. More importantly, not to be attached to my schedule, in other words there should be no hard and fast rule to my daily timetable. And just like that I was dismissed. Another 135$ for consultation. Actually most of my therapy was done by the gastroenterologist.

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