“You’re not crazy,” the doctor said, trying to be helpful. “There is something wrong with you.”
Something wrong. Of course something was wrong.
For the past five months, I’ve struggled. A regular runner, I suddenly found my already slow pace had turned glacial, and if I pushed it just a little, I would become winded. And then it would take me twice as long to get my breath back.
Every. Single. Time.
So I took a break. Running was no longer something that cleared my mind and energized me. Instead, I became frustrated. And sad. But after a few weeks, I went back. I figured after a week or two, I’d be back to normal.
But it never happened.
I ran a half-marathon. At my slowest pace ever.
I ran a 10K. And walked the uphill.
My friends finally convinced me to go to the doctor.
He listened. To my words. To my heart.
The black pulse oximeter he clipped onto my fingertip showed my resting heart rate was 56. He told me to run down the hall – what? really? – and I did. My heart rate leapt to 132.
His eyes widened in surprise.
The jump? Fine for someone who never exercises. Not so much for a runner.
He ruled out a pulmonary embolism (I’d be dead by now). He didn’t think it was cancer. Most likely? Asthma. Even though I didn’t wheeze and I haven’t been coughing.
I rushed home with my new inhaler and scheduled a chest x-ray and blood draw for that day.
The doctor said he’d call me the next day with results.
I’m still waiting. I learned this morning, when I finally called, that results come electronically into my chart and the doctor doesn’t know unless I call the office to tell them I’ve had the tests. Which he prescribed.
Monday. He’ll call me Monday.
And so I wait.
Trying to pretend I’m not freaked out. Trying to pretend my mind hasn’t gone to the dark places that mothers go when they think about their own mortality.
I’m not crazy.
But no relief comes from this confirmation of my sanity.
Something’s wrong with me.