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The Hospital Desert

So I went to Austin, TX this past weekend and it brought about one of my new fears I have acquired since having cancer. First of all, Austin is a lovely town, if you haven’t been there then I highly recommend it. Great spot to get wasted. But more importantly, it’s a long ways away from Boston so I had to fly there. I never used to have a problem with flying but now I kinda do.

I was in Lake Geneva, WI last year. Lovely spot, very secluded. But that’s kinda the problem. I get anxious when I’m far from a hospital. I call these places “hospital deserts” cause much like a desert, there’s no hospitals nearby. I like being close to a hospital. I live like 10 minutes away from one of the best hospitals in the country, which is like 7 minutes by ambulance. So if something were to ever happen, I can be in an ER real lickity-split. So when I do things like fly on a plane or go to a remote location, I get anxiety that if something were to happen, there’s no one nearby to help me.

It’s sort of an irrational fear. I spend 97% of my time floating around Boston where there’s about 10,000 world-class hospitals so the odds I have a stroke or heart attack when I’m not here is extraordinarily unlikely. But it still freaks me out a little bit, and I’ll bet I’m not the only one. I’m sure lots of people with health problems have trouble leaving the safety of having a hospital nearby. But we have to, right? I can’t very well live my life to the fullest if I can’t leave greater Boston. How will I see the world and do cool shit like ride a dolphin or play poker with a beaver?

I guess ultimately it’s a faith thing. Gotta have faith that nothing bad will happen in the short spans where I’m not near a healthcare facility. But it’s just one of those things I never thought I would have to deal with when I got cancer. I figured cancer meant I’d be bald and get nauseous. Didn’t figure it would mean I would get anxious leaving the city. Then again, didn’t expect to get hemorrhoids either so I guess life is full of fun little surprises.

I dunno, guess I just have to try and keep my mental health together enough to be able to put my fear away and enjoy the times I get to experience new things and places. Ativan helps. I guess the days are over where I get to enjoy cathartic experiences without also being on anxiety medication. That’s ok, being high is pretty fun.

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