Have you always suspected, as I have, that work (ach!) is bad for your health? Welp, maybe it’s the other way around. Yesterday a client’s convoluted PhD dissertation seems to have worked a small miracle.
To my annoyance, an appointment scheduled a year ago for a routine check-in with the cardiologist came up right in the middle of a very challenging editorial project, which we’re trying to get done on an extremely tight deadline. Really, I didn’t feel I had time to take off two or three hours to drive to the doctor’s office, sit around, jaw with the guy, and drive home for no very good reason. But neither did I feel like haggling with his staff, whose response (I knew from experience) would be to reschedule me for some equally inconvenient time.
So I took the laptop with the magnum opus with me, hoping to squeeze in at least a little work while sitting around cooling my heels…
I hate doctors’ offices SO much — and especially hate their waiting rooms, where you’re invariably subjected to television yammering on top of the overall suspense and discomfort and worry of a doc’s waiting room — that every time I go to a doctor these days, my blood pressure goes through the roof. To convince this cardiologist that I’m not, after all, at death’s door, I have to keep a running record of my b.p. for about six weeks before showing up in his precincts; that’s been the only thing that proves my issue is “white coat syndrome,” not near-terminal hypertension.
So I’m sitting in the waiting room reading variance analysis in Chinglish and in the background there’s the usual stream of babble about the 82,000 people evicted from their homes by a roaring wildfile that went from 5 acres to 25,000 acres overnight and they didn’t even have time to go home and rescue their pets which are now crispy critters and Donald Trump’s endlessly hideous emanations and car wrecks and child rapes and mother rapes and Syrians and and suicide bombers on and horrifyingly on (why do they think people who are dealing with some personal health crisis want to listen to stürm und drang?)…and, to focus on the copy, I have to really concentrate. Like focus on each. word. one. after. another.
As usual, His Eminence is running late, so I get a lot done — this is very nice. So I finally get in there and the cute young tech takes my blood pressure, and holy sh!t…it’s NORMAL!
I say, “Are you sure?”
He says, “Yeah, it’s right on the mark.”
Mwa ha ha!!!!
So His Eminence has nothing dire to say and no excuse to wave his prescription pad around, and this is very excellent.
Even though he and I agreed, a year ago, that in real life my blood pressure is in the safe range, I always register blood pressure numbers in the “alarming” range while in a doctor’s office. Particularly in the presence of a doctor with some frightening specialty. There’s nothing like an oncologist or a cardiologist to set your heart to going pitty-pat… Hell, even a dermatologist can do that!
On the way out the door, I thought, “That was weird!” Then I realized that I must have been so tightly focused on the golden words that my mind completely shut out the noxious surroundings. Because I wasn’t sitting there dreading having to talk with a doctor and gnashing my teeth at the time wasted and listening to annoying prattle or dire news, the blood pressure was not creeping toward the stratosphere.
Too, too good!
Keep on writing, li’l Chinese scholars…