Life

My aunt was afraid of doctors’ checkups

When I was young, my parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, they were all perfect. Then I grew up and I realized they were not. They screwed up here and there. They made mistakes more than once or twice. They did. We all did. It was not what they did in the past that surprised me. It was what they still fear for the future that did.

They have lived a long life, much longer than I did. I thought they had life figured out by now, by living that long and by making that many mistakes in the past. That every decision they made in life, they had so many real life experience to lean on to make the right ones. They didn’t. Many of those decisions were influenced by fears: the understandable ones and the unreasonable ones.

My aunt disliked going to the doctors. She feared of going for check-ups. It was not the pains that she worried, it was the knowledge. If she would die tomorrow, she would rather not know about it today. I agreed. I wouldn’t either and that was why I didn’t go to fortune tellers. I wouldn’t want to know the news today so I could live my last day happily. Auntie didn’t think that way though. She would rather not know about tomorrow but she was still worrying sick today. A little symptom would make her lay awake at night worrying. But she wouldn’t go for check-ups. She googled, she read articles, and she asked around. She followed whatever people told her to do, take whatever medicine people told her that might help. She took a handful of pills sometimes without really knowing if they would work. Because she wouldn’t go for check-ups.

My aunt was a decisive and capable person. With her husband, she made a comfortable living for her family. She flipped houses and lands to supplement her little salary from her governmental job. She sent her kids study abroad. She made sure they lived well and grew up comfortably. She fought to get what’s hers. She was a capable woman all around. But she feared doctors’ check-ups.

She dated her husband when he was going to med school. She married him when he was a M.D. Though he didn’t practice medicine. He was still very involved in the city’s medicinal scene by being a medical equipment salesperson. They were happily married for years. But my aunt feared doctors’ check-ups. And there was nothing anyone could do to change that.

Sometimes not all fears could be “cured”. People learnt to live with them. And every day you survived living with your fear, that was another day of you not letting your fear win. And that deserved respect.

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