By Amy McCollom
The truth is, doctors made me ugly. I realized it this week when looking at myself in a full length mirror one morning while getting dressed. Scars here, dents there, a missing mole on my tummy. (That was my favorite mole.) But that wasn’t even the worst of it.
I can handle scars. I consider them battle wounds of life. Every scar has a story. Like an old jacket with a few rough spots, a stain here or there, scars show that you’ve done more than sat pretty all of your life.
But now I stood there looking like a giant Tweety Bird. Skinny legs, squeezed into these new, black spandex compression socks that just about took vice-grips to put on. My dry blonde hair stood on end like crazy feathers in a duster. My thick, round glasses made my eyes look three sizes bigger than they were. And the markings on my face from the CPAP mask I had worn all night for sleep apnea gave my face a weird pinched shape. I scared myself. Even the dog wouldn’t look at me. I couldn’t blame her.
Maybe I can blame my 30 pound weight gain on the pandemic, but I think it is more likely the result of medication changes that my doctor made. New doctor, new philosophy, new medications. I felt and looked better before, when I had my old doctor.
But that was before the pandemic, and before I had something go wanky with my heart, and before my thyroid levels started dancing all over the charts. Before my achilles tendon surgery. Before we bought a house with stairs. Before I fell on my crutches 17 times. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s Maybelline. Maybe it’s the doctor, maybe it’s the luck of the draw. Maybe it’s my love for donuts, but probably not.
All I know is two years ago I wanted to ride a skateboard again, I could keep up with my grandbabies, and my clothes didn’t have an X in their size. I could see better, hear better, walk better, eat without reflux, and didn’t have to nap everyday.
Too many cooks spoil the soup, and I think too many doctors spoil the health of a not-so-sick patient. Or maybe once you hit 50, all the warning lights on the dashboard start coming on and doctors can only do so much.
I know that the doctors are only trying to help, and it’s not their fault that the cure is sometimes worse than the disease. You would think with all this technology that someone would have invented a time machine by now. I sure would like to remember what it was like to skateboard again. But as breakable as I am now, I end up on muscle relaxers for a week if I get out of the car wrong, so I don’t dare try it.
Some days I feel like a horrible hunching, limping creature that survives on tea and bits of cereal, but other days my grandbabies come over and they tell me I’m beautiful and I forget all about how much of an ogre I was the day before.
It all comes down to perspective. I could sulk or I could smile. Everybody looks better when they smile. And in the dark, under the sheets, we all look like movie stars. *Wink.