There’s the old saying we have all heard:
“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
To this I say…
Words do matter whether written or verbal. They just f-ing do!
Once they are out there you can’t take them back. And words do cause damage. They can do a lot of damage.
My left eye goes blurry. It’s this way for four days, so my husband and I decide to get an appointment at the place where I normally get my eyes checked. I see an optometrist that I have never seen before. She performs a variety of tests and when it all said and done. She says that there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong and occasionally this happens. Unfortunately, I will just have to put up with a blurry eye for a while longer until it heals itself. She says I should have it looked at again in three weeks. I make said appointment and go on my merry way.
My husband and I go home, eat a bite of lunch, and are talking in the living room when the phone rings. I get many spam calls, so I let it go to voicemail. A minute later my phone indicates that a message has been left, so I listen to it. The message is from the doctor saying on second thought should would like me to go see a retina specialist because my optic nerve is bugging her and that I should give her a call back.
I call her back confused because an hour ago I was told I was fine. She says that she just wants to make sure that we cross all our “t”s and dot all of our “I”s because quote “This is where we get into scary stuff like brain tumors and MS.”
WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU LADY?!???!!!!
That is all it took; the damage was done. There was no taking it back. Naturally, a full-blown panic attack ensued along with two and a half days of tortuous anxiety making every slip of the tongue and forgotten to-do a sure sign I had a brain tumor, and every muscle spasm and joint ache (even after putting in 9 miles of running in two days) an absolute hallmark testament that I had MS.
This doctor’s stupidity caused chaos for me, my husband, my parents, my friends, and my co-workers (because they are awesome and care). It even put the ophthalmologist I ended up seeing due to this drama on guard as he tried his best to ease my concerns. (He seemed rather confused why these things were even mentioned.)
The downside is my eye is still blurry, and we aren’t sure why yet. Hope to have more news Monday, but even though I’ve been given qualified medical information that there is nothing that suggests these horrific outcomes. Until I know what it is, I will always have this lurking fear that it is one of those very things that were flippantly said.
Luckily, the ophthalmologist seems to understand this and hence the reason I return on Monday for further testing. He wants to get to the bottom of this to give me complete peace of mind.
As writers and readers, we know all about word choice in making a good description or scene, but it also matters in general communication. And sometimes, things are best left unsaid unless it is truly necessary and if you are truly qualified to say them.