Can we really count on our shrinks? Those guys and gals that take the Hippocratic Oath? I don’t think so. After all, they’re only human. Many are impeccably on time, but there are those that are chronically late. We all know the type, always running behind schedule. Their waiting rooms tend to be on the crowded side of course. The last patient bows out of the office, Kleenex in hand, sobbing maybe. Oops. Another one bites the dust, we tell ourselves…who is next? Then the next one leaves, gleeful, prescription in hand. Next!
Then one day, the doc goes on vacation and ten overly dependent patients are hospitalized. Or she takes maternity leave. Or he takes maternity leave and calls it something else. Twins and it’s twice as long. Triplets? If babies keep popping out, this vacation might last years and the happy shrink couple could travel the world, spending your money, babies scrambling all around the boat, wining and dining at all the world’s ports.
Of course, if you call a shrink, how often do they call you back? Is this an indication of reliability? Nine times out of ten? Five times? If they feel like it? In an hour or two? If you have a deadly rash, maybe you’re best off getting seen right away and not waiting a day or two or three for that return phone call. Cuz by the time you get called back, that deadly rash might be, er, deadly. On the other hand, if what you have is a bug bite or two, I wouldn’t recommend either calling your shrink or biting the bug back. Neither will get you very far.
Are your pills more reliable than your shrink? If it’s an antidepressant, I can guarantee you, the pills may or may not work. I can guarantee you that it’s hit or miss. If it’s an any psych med, I can guarantee you that there’s a good chance you may get side effects, and these may or may not be serious side effects, that you can count on. You can count on being scared of tardive dyskinesia if you take an antispsychotic, whether you end up with TD or not. You can count on everyone having an attitude about you if you take psych meds. You can count on the “raised eyebrow.” The look. The discrimination. The assumptions. Especially if you take, or have ever taken an antipsychotic.
So what’s your mental status today? Yeah, you can count on that question whether it’s relevant or not. You can count on being discriminated against on the job unless you hide the fact that you take psych meds. Yeah, there’s such thing as the ADA, and yeah, it’s 2012, but that’s on paper and reality is that folks are uneducated and folks make assumptions and you know who discriminates the worst?
Yes, medical professionals. Doctors. Shrinks. I’m serious.
Did you show up at an ER with chest pains? And you take psych meds? Oh, they’ll assume it’s anxiety right off the bat. You can count on that. You might drop dead, of course. But if you’re lucky, you’ll almost drop dead but not drop dead, cuz then, you can sue for misdiagnosis due to discrimination. Oh my goodness and then get filthy rich. Now you can share some of this green, green dough with me, please, because I’ve given you this lovely idea, right? Right?
Yeah, you can count on the drugs to do all that for you? It’s near the end of the year and you can count on insurance switching over come January 1st. So you show up at the pharmacy on the 2nd, the day or the long, long lines, only to find out about insurance non-coverage, just like everyone else in the long, long line at the pharmacy, with the pharmacist who has Oxycontin Headache Number 27 (trust me, he’s got it medicated, he saw it coming). He’s got all 50 insurance companies on the line at once, on all 50 phones that the pharmacy has, hanging up this phone and picking up the next, with doctors on the line as well, the ones that have already returned from their wining and dining vacation in Alsace-Lorraine or Italy or Switzerland or whaling in Australia or snorkeling in Antarctica. Hopefully, this pharmacy has cordless phones, otherwise, the lines are tangled and a few pharmacy assistants are strangled, either by accident or due to someone being very, very frustrated. Yeah, you can count on all this, or at least you can count on me joking about it.
Can you count on your dog? You bet you can count on your dog more than you can count on you pills or your shrink. If you did what the humane society told you to do when you adopted your puppy, he or she isn’t going to go on maternity leave of any sort anytime soon. As for other patients, you’re covered, your dog has lots of patience just for you. You’ve got to have patience for your dog. Your dog is always on time. Your dog will wake you up on time and remind you to walk and feed him or her on time, too. If your dog is like Puzzle, she’ll remind you to take your meds on time and do a bunch of other things on time, too. A dog will make a “present” on the ground (or on the floor, if you goof) for you to clean up, reminding you to be a good, good citizen. A dog is someone to take care of. A dog will never serve divorce papers. You can count on that.
A dog doesn’t know what Facebook is. A dog doesn’t know who is president and who is rich and who is poor. A dog doesn’t know when it crosses state lines or the border of a country. A dog has no clue what religion is.
When my dog is in church, she hears my minister’s big voice on a microphone. She knows I stand and I sit. She hears children. Then, the children leave to go to religious education, and only adults are left. Sometimes, we sing. Sometimes, I cry. What else does she know?
I think I can count on my dog’s sense of mystery and wonder in the world, whether we are in church or elsewhere. For certain, she senses a larger spirit of life, something beating in all of us. What is it? What is it? Is it in the thunder? Puzzle is scared of thunder. The big voice in church is only a man, magnified, but thunder is not a man. Thunder is air. Thunder is clouds. You can count on that. And then, the thunder is gone.
You can count on me, writing this silly stuff, sometimes every day, sometimes taking a break for a day or two days or a bunch of days, but I seem to come back and come back with dumb stuff, sometimes pissed off stuff, sometimes stuff that makes other folks pissed off too. You can count on my bad grammar, and you can count on me not giving a hoot about it. You can count on a glitch in cyberspace taking out your Internet connection and not being able to access this blog every now and then, but more or less, I’ve been around since 2005 on hotmail’s blog venue, now defunct actually. Have you been following me since then? Have I been counting on me since then?
Naw, not long ago, I wasn’t exactly counting on me. I was thinking about this while walking in what I call “the woods” (not exactly woods, but Watertown’s version) today. You know, around 2011 until sometime in 2012, I used to go to bed thinking I had no clue if I’d wake up alive in the morning. That happened so much that I even got used to it. I’ll bet a lot of very elderly folks get like that, going to bed thinking, “I might die in my sleep tonight,” and thinking that night after night. Well, this was exactly how I felt, going to bed every night, only I’m not elderly, far from it. See, I had an eating disorder and folks with eating disorders take this risk. Folks with eating disorders live on the edge. I lived on that edge.
I still live on that edge. Only quite a bit backed away from it. Rather safely, I’d say. I’m out of the woods now. Anyone can die anytime, and freak things can happen, but I don’t starve myself anymore, and I don’t binge anymore, and my weight is just fine and stable. I’m happy and I love life. I look forward to each day and when I go to bed, I assume I’m going to wake up fairly soon and start a new day, a new challenge. As a matter of fact, I assume I’m going to enjoy myself the next day, and I always do.
And you know something? This living business means responsibility. Naw, I’m not talking about just that dog of mine, the one I can count on. Not just her. And naw, there’s no one else I’m taking care of besides me. But the world. Folks pop out of nowhere and I never know when someone is going to need me. Just someone out of anywhere. Someone wants to talk. Someone wants me to sit with them. Someone wants me to listen. Someone has an eating disorder. Or someone has an experience I’ve had, and I can help. It happens so often that I am truly amazed. I find myself a helper more often than I am helpee. If nothing else, Puzzle helps someone else, not just me, but she shares her goodness and her joy and her love and her innocence and her little kisses.
Whom can you count on? Your pills, or the shrink that prescribes them? Or me? Or Puzzle? Or God? (Okay, okay, I’m not going there.) How about yourself? You are the one that opened your browser and clicked on my blog, or discovered it in the first place, after all. If you are short like me, then you can count on being very, very tall, because with my six legs (four have paws, you see) we are truly the tallest and furriest tall tail that ever happened to eating disorders recovery that I know of. And one of us has a fuzzy face, too. Now that ‘s something. Two-faced and not even lying. Only they say you should let sleeping dogs lie, shouldn’t you?