I’ve noticed a phenomenon, much more so recently. Members of the male species don’t know what to do when a member of the female species cries.
I’ve noticed this in the past when I’ve gotten into arguments/discussions/heated conversations with boyfriends. There reaches a point when I’m beyond words and I just break down in tears. And the person who moments ago was vehemently opposed to my point of view suddenly is comforting me, consoling me, agreeing with me. I always assumed it was because he, too, had enough of the argument and just wanted it to be over.
Today I realized that it was the tears.
I’ve had an increasingly annoying and persistent cough for the past 5 months. I went to my general practitioner a few times, took 3 rounds of antibiotics, 2 rounds of steroids, and endured dozens of sessions at the acupuncturist, all to no avail. I’m not particularly fond of going to the doctor (hence the persistent cough for 5 months), so when she said, “I can do nothing else. You need to see a specialist,” I avoided it as long as possible. Until I couldn’t stand it anymore.
He came in, greeted me, and asked what was wrong. I gave him the brief outline of my infirm history. He depressed my tongue, asked me to say “Ahhh,” “Ooooh,” “Eeeeee,” then pronouced I couldn’t sing. I laughed. Both at his corny jokes and his outfit. He wore a long white lab coat and an old-fashioned doctor headband, the kind with a silver orb attached. From his stories, I surmised he has been practicing medicine for at least 40 years, maybe more. He asked if I had had cultures and blood work done. I answered negatively to both.
He took what looked like a long, springy q-tip and told me to tilt my head back. As I did, he poked the springy q-tip up my right nostril. I jerked my head forward. “Hey! What are you doing?” He assured me he knew what he was doing, just taking a sinus culture. “I’m good at this – I got an A in this in medical school. Be glad the guy who got a D isn’t doing it.” Ba dum bum. He instructed me to tilt my head back again. He poked the springy q-tip up my left nostril.
Searing pain shot through my head. The tears immediately sprung forth. I grabbed my nose, hoping pressure would halt the intense pain radiating from my sinuses.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
I looked at him incredulously. “That hurt, that’s what’s wrong,” I sobbed.
“You have a deviated septum. It’s one of the most sensitive parts of the body.”
I continued to cry.
I stared at him, my tears blurring the silver orb in front of me. “It hurts!” I exclaimed.
At this point he became visibly agitated. He pulled Kleenex from a box and dabbed at my eyes. “Please… please… what can I do?”
“You can let me cry. I need to cry. It hurts.”
He wrung his hands. “Why are you still crying?”
“Because that hurt. I’m okay, I just need to cry for a minute.”
He turned his back to me and fiddled with his instruments for a moment. I sobbed a little more, wiped my eyes, then cleared my throat. “Okay, you can finish now.”
“Are you sure you’re okay?” he hesitantly asked.
I nodded. Sometimes you just have to let people cry.