I drove towards the new doctor’s office focusing hard on both my breathing and the speed limit. Being stopped by a cop would do nothing to ease my anxiety or to get me to the medical office faster. I waited patiently at the light and tried hard not to finger the lump in my neck.
To the world I was going to the doctor to see about the rash that has plagued me for months. To myself I was going to see about the lump that was increasingly worrying me.
Don’t Google “Lump in Neck.” It’s not good.
As I peered at the street numbers, I took in the trees and the people walking by. It all looked so ordinary. So normal. My hand stole to my neck and I wondered how it would all look tomorrow if the doctor’s diagnosis were life changing. Would that tree still look so ordinary? Would those people still be nondescript?
I thought about my life and wondered what I would regret taking for granted. I thought about the hugs I had gotten from my kids when I dropped them off, the kiss M gave me as he headed off to work. How would I feel if I knew they were numbered?
The lump turned out to be nothing. A swollen lymph node. Probably inflamed in response to the rash. And when I left the doctor’s office the trees were still ordinary trees and the people were still nondescript. But the kisses I got from the girls at pick-up tasted sweeter and the hug I got from M when he got home did too.
There are so many things that we take for granted every day. And while it’s impossible to always live in the moment and to be hyper aware of every little detail, I’m glad I got a brief reminder to take notice of the important details in my life.
My lymph node is still inflamed and I’m finding myself fingering it just as often as I did before I knew it was benign. I touch my neck when I get irritated at the girls for taking too long to get dressed or to eat their meals. I poke at the lump when I’m annoyed at being in traffic. It’s my constant reminder that life could be much more complicated, that it could also be much more fleeting.