06 December, 2015

Do you have stress?

Last week I went for a follow-up visit to the gastroenterologist. I was quite stressed about the visit, the last time I met with him without a translator (my first visit) he was brusque and reluctant to give me any language allowances. I felt unwelcome in his consulting room.

Stubborn me wasn't willing to ask someone to take the time out to help me with translation this time, so I went alone. The truth is I can understand some of what's going on, not all, so sometimes having a translator seems like overkill. Sometimes being able to understand some of what's going on is a pain, because it's hard for someone else to grasp how much you're getting. The other annoying thing is that you can think you understand most of what's going on, it is the little things you don't understand that bother you.

But that's all an aside. I was stressed about this doctor's visit.

Thankfully he was much more willing to meet me part-way. With some help from my iPhone we managed to communicate both ways. My throat still is uncomfortable despite the medication I've been taking and despite there being little evidence from the endoscopy that there was a problem. He assured me that this is a sensitive area and it will take some time to settle down. Then he asked me the question that nearly had me on the floor laughing:
"Do you have stress?"
I hardly knew where to start, but it would have started with the fact that I have three boys, of course. Given time I could have explained that my stress was less than it was back in May-July, but all he wanted was an affirmation that yes, I do have stress.

If his English were better, I might have referred him to this blog post I wrote a year ago about stress and missionaries. I quoted an article that reports that missionaries generally live with stress that is at a dangerous level.

If my Japanese were better (and he was willing to listen) I might have said, "Yes, I'm living in a country that isn't my own, and I'm sitting here trying to communicate with you in a language that I'm not very good at, yes, I think I may have a little stress in my life."

This is a problem that is known to be caused by stress (unlike some of the other physical problems I've had in the past that I know are stress-related, but doctors don't make the link), hence the question. Hopefully as life settles down here, my health will too. The doctor assures me he isn't worried and I'm not to worry either. 

However I am a little concerned about what happens when we do this whole thing again in 2018/19, but that is a bridge that is yet to be built, let alone crossed. Meanwhile I'm still on medication (both Western and Chinese) as we wait for my symptom to totally subside.

No comments: