Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Watch out for the side effects

If you have a phobia for something, don't try to overcome it without watching out for side effects.

I realized I have a phobia for the telephone.  Funny isn't it, in this day and age?  It's not the telephone per se, but what that contraption actually brings.  And I also figured out why I became the only member of our family with hypertension.  We have no family history.  We had no telephone at home until I was in my twenties.

In the early days of my working life I  used to pace the floor nervously every time I was asked to make a phone call.  Taking a call was like having a gun pointed at my head.  After the call I seldom remember correctly what was said to me.  Years down the road I finally overcame that phobia to a certain extent.  But still, I put off owning a cell phone for years.

My job was much easier when telephones were not so easily available and extensions were not an essential part of telephone lines in the workplace.  But that didn't prevent phone calls from getting to me.  One such call was from a quality control person from our sister company.  As soon as I took the call, instead of discussing the issue at hand and finding a solution, she proceeded to rip my guts to shreds.  I could not understand why I didn't hang up there and then.  Arguing with her made no sense.  Instead, I heard her out.  After that I refused to take her calls even though I knew that the MD's son was backing her.  The next chance I got I left the company.  I was lucky I got away.   A couple of years later they closed shop.

At the new place every work desk had a telephone extension.  It got to a point that whenever the phone rang I jumped.  Which was why I turned the ring tone down to almost minimum.  But I couldn't get away from it.  I tried to ignore the phobia since it wasn't doing me any harm.  But it seems I was wrong.  It did a lot of harm without my knowing it.  It set a silent killer out for me.  My BP went up steadily edging towards the danger point.

A year before I was to retire I was placed in charge of a transfer project.  The project manager based overseas often called for telephone conferences.  The once-a-week conferences eventually became a daily affair as the project progressed.  So did my living nightmare.

My mind seemed to go blank after the first few minutes into every meeting.  It got to a point when I wouldn't go into a conference without the various representatives of the project for fear that I wouldn't be able to answer questions put to me.  But the fact was, not everyone would be available on a daily basis.  I to had answer for most of them.  And I fumbled and stumbled.  And all that time I would be so nervous I had no idea what I was saying or doing.

One day, on a hunch, I went straight from the conference room to our infirmary to have my BP checked.  The nurse told me not to drive home on my own.  I was having stage 3 hypertension.  The next day the doctor put me on permanent medication immediately.  As for the project, I went all the way to the top and said I wanted out.

I had to own a cellphone though just so my family could know where I am.  Except for sending messages I still hate to call anyone with it unless totally necessary.

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