Forty-three years ago, I loaded up my Plymouth and moved from the mountains of North Carolina to the coast of South Carolina.
What I didn’t know was that every spring a strange mist would send fingers wafting into every nook and cranny of the Lowcountry, leaving a strange yellow coating over everything it touched.
I was told that this strange occurrence was not supernatural but was simply pollen from the many pine trees that dot the area.
Like longtime residents of the area, I accepted this yearly pollen dust all the while complaining about the yellow mess covering my car.
This year was different.
The day I woke up to my black car being covered with the yearly dumping of pollen, I had a tickle in my throat and a cough that wouldn’t stop.
I was told that this yellow mist was not an allergen, but you couldn’t prove that by me as my cough deepened and I had to admit I was sick.
Over-the-counter meds did nothing to relieve my illness, so I gave in to it and paid a visit to my doctor.
Much to my surprise, he told me I had pneumonia.
I’m never sick, but evidently the doctor thought I was after he took an X-ray and then suggested that I have a CAT scan to check out my lungs, because he thought he had spotted some fluid on my left lung.
The first thing I did when I came home was hop on the computer and check out what conditions could cause fluid to build up in a lung. I immediately decided I was suffering every illness from COPD to lung cancer.
Last Friday, I got up early, gathered my nerves together and drove to the outpatient section of a local hospital. I was sure my life would never be the same after the results of my CAT scan were announced to me and my family.
Bravely I laid myself on the hard steel bed and cringed every time the massive machine moved over my chest, wondering what invasive cells were being exposed to the world.
Over the weekend, I tried to forget what bad news might await me on Monday and how I would tell my children about it.
I didn’t receive a call from my doctor on Monday, so I decided he knew I was going to die and he was reluctant to break the news to me.
Mid-afternoon yesterday, I finally received my call and I almost hung up on my doctor before he could give me the bad news.
Much to my surprise, his first words were, “Your c-scan was clear except that it …” Here it comes, I thought.
He continued, “... shows you have a hiatal hernia (which I knew already) and some scoliosis of the spine (which means I’m old and my back is becoming bent) and you have no fluid in your lungs.”
I breathed a long sigh of relief and dropped all thoughts of preparing for my immediate death.
Then I promised myself I would swear off diagnosing online every little twinge I felt — and there are lots of them when one is past 80.
And I will get my flu shot next winter and a pneumonia shot after my coughing stops from this year’s pollen attack.
Furthermore, I will throw away or give away every yellow garment that is in my closet. Not my favorite color.