Monthly Archives: November 2007

On diagnosis

If you were in my movie
I’d have you as the doctor
Small black bag
And a big black coat

I’d have you make a house call
To the woman
You could lay your
Diagnostic hand
Upon her belly and her throat

When someone has lived with a disorder for more than half his life and finally gets a diagnosis and starts a course of treatment, you would expect him to feel relief, anticipation, hope perhaps of a better life. That’s certainly what he expected, after years of living with the wrong diagnosis, being treated for the wrong disorder, and suspecting it all along. But when the day finally came—

Anticipation, yes, but fearful anticipation. Hesitation, every morning; a long time spent staring at his medication before finally swallowing it. Panic attacks in the evening, followed by uneasy sleep.

Do you understand? He doesn’t, at first. His wife suggests that he has lived with the disorder for so long that it has become a part of his identity, and he is now afraid of living without it, of becoming a man he does not know. He thinks she may be right, but it does not stop the panic attacks.

All he can do is wait, and hope.