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.
Me: It was a joke.
Doctor: I knew that. Ha-ha! See? I can take a joke.
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.
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.
Doctor: Why are you being difficult?
Me: Why is that fish staring here so much?
Doctor: You’re avoiding the question.
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.”