Some people have a fear of spiders, some of heights, and some of germs. I’m sure these conditions make their lives a little more complex at times, but they have at least one thing going for them: The world acknowledges their struggle.
In fact, the powers that be (whoever “they” are) not only acknowledge that these are real fears but they have legitimatized them with intelligent-sounding names like arachnophobia, acrophobia, mysophobia. Up until five minutes ago, I was feeling a tinge of envy for folks with these afflictions. I was sure they had yet to come up with a name to diagnose my phobia. Thanks to Google, I stand corrected. My fear is scientifically titled nosocomephobia, which in layman’s terms, means the fear of hospitals.
(To be clear, I don’t discriminate. My aversion also applies to doctor’s offices, dentists, and even animal hospitals. Basically, if fluorescent lighting and sharp objects designed to poke and prod a living body are involved, I don’t want to be.)
I’ve realized that nosocomephobia is a particularly pesky fear to have when you’re pregnant. Up until a few months ago, I hadn’t set foot in a hospital for five years. Now, they’re a routine part of my life. Even for appointments where I know nothing “important” is scheduled, I get the same slightly-nauseated, butterfly feeling I got on my first day of school and before every basketball game through high school. (The only exception is when my husband accompanies me. Just for fun, he pretends to lick all the tongue depressors or swab out his ears with the q-tips before putting them back. I’m usually laughing too much to be afraid.)
Seeing that I have a dad with a “Dr.” before his name and a mom and sister with an “RN,” I know that hospitals do plenty to help people. I just don’t want to be one of those people. I didn’t realize I had it so bad until last week. On Tuesday, Tom and I were supposed to attend a maternity tour at the hospital where I’m giving birth followed by a water birthing class on Thursday evening. Friday morning, Jake had a visit with the vet to have his manhood removed.
I canceled all three appointments. Instead, I stayed home and vacuumed out the crevices around our windows and cleaned out the weird-smelling gunk that had collected underneath my toe nails. (What IS that stuff anyways? Whatever it is, I’m sure they have a “phobia” name for it or will by the time I’m done writing this post.)
I know that I am going to have to face my fears sometime in the next three months. And, I will, but to borrow from one of my favorite books, “I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow.”
I hear they have a word for that, too. They tell me it’s called “procrastination.”