This is a busy time of year, we’re getting back into the swing of things post the pandemic, it’s tax season, property tax is due shortly and for me I added all the “take care of Jen” items to my already full plate. That consisted of the dental deep cleaning and the annual doctor visit for the requisite tests to make sure you’re still in decent health mode.
Back in October of last year, ironically on my what would have been my mom’s 84th birthday, I woke up with such anxiety and my heart and pulse were beating rapidly, more than I felt comfortable with. It was 7 a.m. on a Saturday. I got dressed, put makeup on (even if this was my last hurrah), I thought it necessary to do all the things that my slightly vain Jen thought best.
I told my husband and son that I was going to urgent care because I didn’t feel right and that I would keep them posted. Immediately they stopped what they were doing and told me that they would go with me. I told them no, I didn’t want to have anyone with me. I was fine to drive, I told them, and I just needed peace of mind that I was OK. They acquiesced only because the urgent care was 2 miles away and they knew, if need be, they could get there quickly.
I left the house, I arrived at urgent care, I parked the car, put my mask on, got my temperature checked and walked inside. I was the second person there. They saw me quickly and the nurse asked me what was wrong. I told her my heart was racing, and I needed to just make sure it wasn’t serious.
So of course, they weighed me. Thank goodness it’s in kilograms and I haven’t a clue how to convert it. But being curious, I asked, was I heavier or lighter? She said, “You’ve lost about 3 pounds.”
I thought OK, that should give me a little relief. Ooops, spoke too fast, she then took my blood pressure. Yeah, let’s just say, I need to work on that a little more, but stress could play a part in that as well. And oh, drawing at straws here, my neck and shoulder were a little tense from having slept funny. And the nurse said pain could also elevate your blood pressure, who knew?
As I waited for the doctor to examine me, I sat there thinking, “Lord please help me to be OK.” The doctor came in. She was so kind and understanding, she listened to my heart, did the tests, drew my blood, and told me my heart was healthy and if I needed to or wanted to, she could have me wear a heart monitor for a couple of days just to be sure. I opted not to, having just passed the heart healthy test. About a week later my blood test came back, nothing odd there either, so that too was a good thing.
In late February I scheduled our tax appointment on the same day as my deep teeth cleaning. They’re both located in the valley, and with gas prices out of control I thought get it all done in one day, so I don’t have to put 50 more bucks of gasoline in my car two days after putting in 45 bucks. So, $222 later the teeth cleaning was done, then I drove to the accountant, and that was not as bad as I thought it was going to be, but we owed money. I secretly wondered what it was like to get a refund. It had been years since we got one. There was a time when we’d get back enough money for the April property taxes, our annual house alarm monitoring fee and a little extra, too. As the song goes: “Those Were the Days!”
Then I visited my dad, and we chatted in the parking lot of his work. I had purchased some items for him, and he wanted to reimburse me. He rounded up a couple hundred dollars and I said, “Papa, thank you, I just paid $222 for my teeth cleaning.”
He said, “No problem, Jen you’re always there to help me and I appreciate that.” For a moment I pondered, do I dare tell him about how much we owe in taxes? I told him, not expecting anything but his listening ears, and he reacted with how in the heck do you guys owe that? I said, “We’re fine Papa, we prepared for it – ISH, sort of, mostly, kind of.” And I said, “Such is life.”
Then 10 days later I went to my doctor who does the female exams so I could continue with my peace of mind health journey.
Let me segue a moment: Last summer, after my COVID vaccine, I had my mammogram. I waited the eight weeks to be sure no funky thing was going on post the vaccine. When the result came back, it said they needed to do an ultrasound on an area to make sure it was OK. I had never had a mammogram that wasn’t perfect. In fact, the last one I had, the nurse showed me my x-ray and said that I had the most symmetrical sternum that she had seen. Imagine my dismay and fear of needing a further test.
It bewildered me. First, from a metaphysical standpoint, I cherished and still cherish being a mother. I shared this anecdotal story with a friend when I told her I needed an ultrasound. I said, “This just doesn’t make sense, breasts represent motherhood, and being a woman of course, but they also make milk for your babies, and I nursed my children.” I continued, and I don’t have issues with my mom that would create something subconsciously to become something tangible. She nodded and nodded in agreement as I continued my soap-box-standing moment, hmmm… come to think of it I haven’t seen her since then. Kidding!
Two weeks later, after marinating in all of this, I went to get the ultrasound. Thankfully the doctor reviewed it right away and there was no sign of anything wrong. So back to the part before I segued, my doctor checked my chart, my blood pressure had gone down to a palatable number, I weighed the same amount in kilograms, and she gave me my exam and told me the results would be back in about a week. On my way out I stopped at the nurse’s station to thank the nurse who had checked me in and on her desk was a tiny red booklet. It looked familiar. I asked her where she got it, and she told me someone had put it on her desk recently. It was titled “Personal Bible, Verses of Comfort, Assurance, Salvation from the Little Bible Ministry.”
I told her I had the very same booklet, and I had it since the 1970’s, when I was a young girl. In fact, I told her I still carried it in the side pocket of my wallet. I pulled it out and showed her. She was in awe.
I don’t recall who gave it to me but inside it had a place to write your name and address. Which I did, and then there was the part that said, presented by, and I had written God. The other patient sitting at the nurse’s station looked at me and she, too, couldn’t believe it. About a week later the next set of my test results came back, and it was normal.
I remembered that many years ago I had worked at a job and the owner was under a lot of stress and pressure due to the economy not being as good as it had been. One day he suffered a heart attack, and we all did our best to keep the office running well until he was able to return. His vendors would call me to make sure he was OK, and there was this one man who over the course of time he and I had become more cordial, and I always looked forward to speaking with him. He called to make sure the owner of the company was on the mend. I told him as far as I knew he was and hopefully he would be able to not be as stressed out when he returned.
The man then said, “Jennifer, money comes and goes, but what matters most is your health.”
Jennifer Danny is a Santa Clarita resident.