Qu’est-ce que c’est?

Doctor: How are you feeling today?

Me: [shrugs shoulders]

Doctor: I see. What can I do for you?

Me: Don’t know.

Doctor: What’s the problem?

Me: Lots. Changes. Things.

Doctor: I noticed.

Me: What did you notice?

Doctor: Well, for starters, your feet are on the couch for the first time. You must be getting used to this place. Your shoes are still on. I bet my dry cleaner will love sending me that bill.

Me: My shoes are clean. My shoes are always clean. My shoes are dirt-repellent. Don’t blame me for your other patients’ dusty shoes.

Doctor: We’re not here to talk about shoes.

Me: You started it.

Doctor: Just tell me what’s wrong, Calvin.

Me: Why do you keep calling me that?

Doctor: Because it’s how you introduced yourself to me.

Me: I wasn’t serious. You already knew my name before we met. It was a joke – an icebreaker.

Doctor: I think there’s more to it. Are you trying to run away from something? I read an article by Freud on childhood trauma and dissociation. . .

Me: [sighs] This isn’t that. It was a joke. I swear, you psychiatrists have no sense of humor.

Doctor: You’re swearing now? Who are you swearing by?

Me: Your mom.

Doctor: Wow.

Me: It was a joke.

Doctor: I knew that. Ha-ha! See? I can take a joke.

Me: Hmmm.

Doctor: Yes.

Me: I think I’m losing my grip.

Doctor: Let me hear it.

Me: I keep forgetting. I forget things I’m supposed to do, I forget why I’m doing something when I’m right in the middle of it. Spellings, punctuation, pronunciations. I’ve made more grammatical errors in the last month than I have my entire life. The memory lapses are back again.

Doctor: Go on.

Me: My attention span is messed up. Sometimes I can do the same thing for hours, and sometimes I can’t hold a simple thought for more than a few seconds.

Doctor: [writing in a notebook] Yes?

Me: I can be relatively calm one minute, move slow, drag my speech and everything, but then the next I become hyperactive. Move quicker, more and curse a lot. Curse unnecessarily.

Doctor: Continue.

Me: I keep getting disoriented, losing my balance. Sometimes I’ll have dark thoughts and . . . what are you writing?

Doctor: Nothing important. I’m just playing with myself.

Me: Bit inappropriate, don’t you think?

Doctor: No! Tic-tac-toe! Tic-tac-toe! Tic-tac-toe!

Me: Oh. But aren’t there more important things at the moment?

Doctor: We’ve been over this. Always the same symptoms. I’ve written them down many times before. All you need is a good night’s sleep.

Me: Tried it. Doesn’t work.

Doctor: I can write you a prescription for sleeping pills.

Me: They don’t help. They just leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Doctor: You did this to yourself. You shouldn’t have tried going without sleep in the first place.

Me: First of all, you help me, you don’t attack me. Second, that blue fish in the tank has been looking at me for too long. Third, I didn’t have much of a choice when I decided to give up sleep – it was largely out of my hands.

Doctor: Do you want to talk about it?

Me: Not today.

Doctor: I can prescribe some very potent pills.

Me: No.

Doctor: Why are you being difficult?

Me: Why is that fish staring here so much?

Doctor: You’re avoiding the question.

Me: Huh?

Doctor: I said “You’re avoiding the question”.

Me: Huh? I can’t hear you too well. I hurt my ear playing music.

Doctor: Okay, then.

Me: Can I leave now?

Doctor: Our time’s not up yet.

Me: What am I supposed to do for the rest of the session?

Doctor: Undress and lie on that table there. [points to a metallic table behind partially opened curtains with a thin mattress and light blue plastic cover]

Me: What is that? Why do you have that? Why would you have that? Why am I seeing it now?

Doctor: Why are you being so difficult?

Me: I don’t like doctors. I don’t want to be here – they made me come. Also, I’m not comfortable around a therapist that tells me to take off my clothes and get on a table that should be in a different office. Are therapists allowed to perform physicals?

Doctor: I have my methods. And you don’t decide in whose office certain furniture belongs. Did you go to medical school or did I?

Me: I didn’t go to med school, but I know –

Doctor: Shhh. Haven’t you ever seen couches in a dentist’s office? Furniture doesn’t belong anywhere specific. Take off your clothes and get on the table. The sooner we get done with your physical examination, the sooner you can leave.

[a few minutes later, Me is on the table and Doctor is examining him]

Doctor: What’s up with this?

Me: What? The weight thing?

Doctor: Yes. Again?

Me: It happens.

Doctor: Are you on drugs? You can tell me.

Me: Is that what you automatically assume is going on?

Doctor: At your age. . .it’s normal.

Me: [gives Doctor blank stare]

Doctor: Stress then?

Me: Maybe. This table is getting uncomfortable.

Doctor: You need to take better care of yourself.

Me: [shrugs shoulders]

Doctor: Better yet, you need someone to take care of you, because you’re stubborn. Lie down and stay still.

[almost one hour later, Me is putting his clothes back on, Doctor is going through some files on the desk and throwing more things into the garbage can]

Me: I’ll give you a call, keep you updated if anything comes up.

Doctor: No. I’ll call you.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Ready, Set, Done.”

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