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Joined: 13 Jul 2021
Gender: Male
Posts: 343
Location: Seattle, WA

16 Jul 2021, 11:59 am

Hi folks. I'm new here and still finding my way around. I write for a variety of reasons, one of which is to process. I just got through writing about an experience I had recently, and although it's far from my best work - it was kind of a rant, if anyone is going to understand it, it'll be someone here. So, in a desperate effort to be 'heard', I decided to post it here and hope that it is okay to do so. If you ask yourself, "What was he thinking putting it here?" I was thinking, the way I expressed myself could be considered creative...and this is a section of the forum for creative

I went to see my psych doc recently for my regularly scheduled time-for-refills appointment. As luck would have it, he was out and I had to see his replacement. Oh joy. After a quick introduction that left me feeling like I had just been tackled, he launched into his prepared replacement-doctor small-talk. “Doctor F. asked me…fishing vacation...two weeks… I’m not listening; I can’t. I’m thinking. Why would anyone let a patient walk into such a situation blind? Without even a phone call or message to say, “Hey, you’re going to have to reschedule or see a replacement doctor. Call us.”? Do they hate me?

I don’t hate anyone, but I’m not sure I’ve ever disliked someone enough to not call and warn them. But then, such a change probably wouldn’t bother ‘normal’ people. I wish I could say ‘NT’s’ instead of ‘normal people’ without having to force it. Because if they’re normal, then what am I? But yeah, I still have to force it. Okay, maybe they didn’t call me because for them, as NT’s, it didn’t seem like a big deal? I guess that’s possible. Yeah, I can’t expect ‘normal’ people to know that, for people like me, this is an immense deal. It’s not like these people have degrees in psych… oh wait, nevermind.

“Relax,” he says, patting my shoulder on his way by me, sending my ‘almost under control’ nerves into the stratosphere, “just be yourself.” I really tried not to focus on the magnitude of stupidity inherent in that single, simple, statement – not to mention putting his hands on me. It was hard, but if you’re still reading – if you didn’t conclude long ago that I’m over-thinking this, then you already know how hard it was. He had been about to launch into ‘doctor’ mode but gauging my anxiety still too high, he opted for more banal conversation, “How did you manage this weekend?”

There was no question what he meant; it was all anyone was talking about. I lived in the Pacific Northwest and it hit 114 degrees at my home over the weekend. To be clear, it didn’t start out being ‘no question what he meant’. When ~I~ say, ‘there was no question’, it is because I considered dozens of the most likely options, discarding one after the other as they failed to stand up to the conditions. The conditions are, for instance, that he is trying to decrease my anxiety, which disqualified some of the other likely candidates. Or that he was finished with small talk, slid past me…physically segueing to medical matters and then, realizing that I was still too anxious, grabbed for the first thing he could think of – the once in a thousand-year weather event that just happened. No, when I say, ‘there was no question’, it’s because it is the only answer that will balance the equation. And yes, I did all that calculating at conversation speed. Yes, it is amazing. And yes, it takes a lot out of me and I can’t keep it up for long so can we PLEASE get on with it!

“I had a really hard time sleeping;” I said, “it was simply too hot.”

“Do you have air conditioning?” the doctor asked. I shook my head ‘no’. “A fan?” I nodded. “I’d have to let that fan about two inches away from my head the whole time,” he added.

The words were out of my mouth before I could stop them. “Oh, my gawd, no…” I blurted. Damn.

“Why not?” he asked. I looked for a way out. I couldn’t find one. This would not end well. I don’t know why, but it’ll end poorly – that’s all I know. Well, that’s not actually ‘all’ I know. I also know it’ll be my fault. Heck, I can even know in advance that whatever it is that I do to cause the problem, it won’t be on purpose. Once more into the breach…

“I can’t sleep through the movement of air over my skin; it’s too intense,” I managed. True and, I hope, safe. I watched for signs. If he physically tenses up – that’s bad. Eyes narrowing, or suddenly looking at me or increasing his focus – also bad. Not always, of course, but when answering questions of this nature.

“Just toss a sheet over yourself and hope for the best, eh?” He was transitioning again. I had escaped! Unfortunately, I figured that out about ten seconds after I started talking.

“I can’t sleep through the movement of air over my skin; it’s too intense,” I repeated, keeping the tension out of my voice. His head snapped up.

“I heard you,” his tone sharper than previously which, according to the last 4,329 times this has happened, means I wasted no time screwing this up. I’m trying to do damage control in the background and think I find the culprit. I talked to my therapist about it a few days later and she agrees. Turns out he doesn’t know that human skin is sensitive enough to feel the passage of air through a sheet. I guess he doesn’t have to. As for me? Well, I’ve got no frame of reference to even consider something so preposterous as the idea that someone might not be conscious of the air passing over their skin through a sheet.

Because I have no frame of reference to consider the possibility that he experiences the feeling of air against his skin so differently, I assume he either wasn’t listening to me or he didn’t hear me and so I repeated myself. He, on the other hand, took my repeating myself as an attack. “Just be yourself,” he had said. I knew he didn’t really mean it and so I was prepared for the irony of the aftertaste; though it didn’t make it less bitter. I’m done. Physically, emotionally, intellectually – I’m done; and the appointment hasn’t even really started. All in a day’s survival…