No results back yet from the biopsy. Still waiting waiting waiting.
Something I’ve noticed at my last couple doctor’s appointments: some of my smalltalk circuits have shorted, notably the ones where folks ask me any variant of “How are you?”
My normal, reflexive, societally ingrained response is, “Fine” or “Doin’ okay,” but these days, I can’t seem to say that. It’s a lie. I’m NOT fine, not okay. But if I say, “Meh” or “I’ve been better,” people frequently follow-up with, “What’s wrong?” And I don’t really want to go into the details of my situation every time someone exchanges pleasantries with me.
It’s particularly awkward with health care folks. Obviously, that question is essential for doctors and nurse practitioners to ask, but when the phlebotomist drawing my blood or the nurse taking my temperature asks it, I find myself flailing for a noncommittal answer that won’t invite follow-up.
I’m overthinking it, I know.
I tend to go with something like "Hanging in there" in cases where I'm not fine but don't want to go into detail. If necessary (i.e. if they're picking up on "something else is going on), I can downplay further with something like "you know, for a Monday" or "trying to get to the weekend". It's a little misleading but sometimes beats the alternative.
I always get to the cancer center early and sit there listening to the nurses making small talk to the people they're escorting back and it drives me crazy.
I mean-- I'm halfway through treatment and there are days when I am honestly "fine" and can say that, but mostly I'm either ready to puke or scared about whatever's up that day. So no, I don't think you're overthinking.
My ability to make small talk-- or really most polite conversation-- is completely gone. I have to be careful because I know I hurt my mother's feelings a few times.
But I have to spend so much energy just trying to keep the "what if's" silenced-- if I successfully get myself distracted reading or watching something or just sitting quietly-- I need to stay locked in there as long as I can.
So when people ask me how I am I mostly just grunt. And I find it helps me a little to quickly ask back " And how are you?" Let's not talk about me in passing-- It's too complicated right now.
*hug* I've used the noncommittal grunt a couple times now, but I don't think I'm executing it correctly. I seem to get a "What?" more often than not. And if I have to repeat it, louder, it inevitably solicits follow-up.
Think my new default is going to be "hanging in there."
My reply to medical professionals making small talk (instead of asking me a real question) is often "Well, [shrug] I'm _here_, aren't I?." That usually gets me a laugh, maybe a wry smile, sometimes a "fair enough". Otherwise, it's "as well as possible" or some variant on "hanging in there".