On Life

Friday Fodder: Dialogue with a Doctor

“So, how are you?”

“Not so great or I wouldn’t be here.”

“Tell me what’s going on?”

“Do you want the whole list or just the top ten?”

“Let’s start with number one.”

“I have heart palpitations that are crazy, pounding. They’re so distracting, I’m having trouble sleeping.”

“Everyone has those.”

“But mine are so bad, I find myself concentrating on them all the time. Hearing my heart beating at such a rapid pace and skipping beats makes me feel like Edgar Allan Poe’s character in ‘The Tell-Tale Heart.’ I may be going insane.”

“Maybe, but I’m guessing your heart is just fine.”

“But what should I do about the palpitations?”

“You’re just having the ‘flip-flops.’ Stop stressing about them and they’ll go away. Let me listen to your heart.”

(A long pause and deep breathing ensues and you begin to get lightheaded because you can’t remember breathing that deeply, ever, not even as you were walking at 3.0 on a 2.0 incline. Whew.)

“Are you anxious?”

“Only 23 out of 24 hours a day.”

“Do you want to do an EKG for peace of mind?”

“What’s peace of mind?” I say. He doesn’t find it funny.

(The doctor leaves the room. He instructs the nurse to perform the EKG. She enters and proceeds to hook you up to twenty wires, including one on your ankle, which seems ironic because it’s one of the farthest points on your body from your heart. When it’s over, the doctor reenters the room.)

“It’s perfect. You are fine.”

“So everything’s okay? It’s all good? I’m not going to die?”

“Not today.”

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