Ever since my old therapist chucked me due to new Medicaid restrictions, I have a new therapist named Pepper. It isn’t a pseudonym, her name really is Pepper. I have no idea what her last name is, just that she’s a therapist. I just liked her when I met her during an intake interview and asked if she was taking new clients. So voila. When I think of Pepper, I think of that doll by Ideal from the 1960s. Pepper the doll had red hair. Pepper the therapist has red hair. In fact, if Pepper the doll had an age progression photo done to age her into her late 50s, she could be Pepper the therapist.
But let me digress a bit. So new Medicaid restrictions were causing dumping of us ghetto/trailer folk all round. The first to fall was my eye doctor. People on Medicaid apparently do not have eyes. They literally cut all coverage for eye exams, glasses, etc. Well OK. Next was my dentist. Due to the fire hoops all Medicaid providers must jump through, my dentist dropped all Medicaid folks. Then my therapist dropped Medicaid for the same reason. “I’m just not going to play their game,” said she. I don’t blame her. My psychiatrist, though, was the most emotional about it. Her eyes got watery as she said she really cared about her Medicaid patients, and would do her best to try and keep us. She told me before that she felt an obligation to my late mother to make sure I’m OK. Well, OK.
My psychiatrist was determined to find the loophole in the needle that was in the haystack to keep her Medicaid patients. I sometimes wonder if it was the specter of my mother urging her on, though I’m sure she has other far more likeable patients than me. My mother was the likeable one. The shrink should know, because I drug my mother in with me every time. When I came in the first time after my mom died, she thought my mother must just be parking the car. Awkward. I always had been intimidated by my psychiatrist, she who wielded the power to diagnose my crazy ass on a whim. My shy, awkward ways, my lack of smiling all made her wonder if I had Asperger’s. I think she later figured what I believe to be true, my lowwwwwwww self-esteem and fear of doing the wrong thing is the culprit. I get social cues, so next diagnosis please.
Dependent personality disorder. Oh swell. I might buy it and I might not buy it. I’d be more apt to believe it if I didn’t do so well on my own, and for the most part want to be alone. But my past is my past. When my mother was alive I depended fully upon her. When I was with he whom I called my Soul Bro, I thoroughly depended on him to the point of sustaining emotional abuse. Why do I still see him as the great love of my life? I must be a head case. I’d rather not be dependentocdbloggergirl.wordpress.com, thanks.
And back to Pepper. Pepper is great. Pepper is awesome. I even try to take her advice sometimes. Whereas my former therapist mainly did talk therapy, Pepper is big on cognitive behavior therapy, mindfulness, and shit. I preferred talking and my therapist giving me insight, but OK. She is trying to give me coping skills, assertiveness skills, and learn not to obsess on doing everything to please everyone. Learn how to breathe all mindfully, be aware of other things going on around you. Cool. Sometimes, however, I must refrain from mumbling, “Lady, are you for real?” Such as the Kitty Cat Exercise.
Yes, the Kitty Cat Exercise. One day, I showed up in her office flushed from a hurried walk from my apartment, a good little jaunt. I either missed the bus or didn’t have the fare, and I was late. I apologized profusely, though I am the type who will be late to my own funeral.
Seeing my state, Pepper asked me what my favorite type of water was that I liked to visit.
“A pool” said I, so the idea of me thinking of ocean water and hearing the waves was out of the question, I guess.
“Well, what is your favorite sound?”
“There is nothing nicer to me than the sound of a cat purring.”
This Pepper could work with, so she had me relax, turned on a ‘relaxing sounds’ app on her smart phone, set to purr mode. Then she cut the light in her office out and had me imagine a long-haired grey cat with a bit of white on her nose and me stroking her fur.
I tried to do the exercise, but my mind decided to be a smartass as usual.
That cat sounds like it’s on a respirator.
Then the cat I pictured became Nyan Cat, the animated cat with a pop tart body.
When the exercise was over, Pepper suggested I find such an app so I can do this on my lonesome. I said, “Yes, that sounds like a good idea.” Or I could just go home and pet my cats, same results.
One last thing though, and I don’t want to be maudlin, but I had the most bizarre dream. It is in my dreams that I remember I once had a mother, and that my memories of her and my life before she died are my memories.
I dreamed that my former roommates invited me back to live with them when I wished for $250.00, but I still had my own apartment. Things had not changed though, they were both insulting me and I felt a constant threat of making them mad, or being thrown out of Faux Bro’s life which I was paying to be in. Philippe was with me. If you remember, Phil was the cat they wanted to keep as their own, the other two my nurse had to retrieve from the pound.
Then I found myself at the McDonald’s down the street, a place I had gone to get away from that oppressive environment sometimes during the final days. And there sitting waiting for me was my mother, my dead mother, which I kindly reminded her of her state. “Mom, this is a dream. You’re dead. You can’t really be here. Please stay.”
At the end of the dream, I venture back to my own apartment with Phillipe in my arms.
Thanks for reading and I’m sorry I haven’t been around here or at your blogs, will do better. XOXO
OK, so this was my therapist’s assignment to me a few weeks ago when I was feeling particularly bad. It was written out in the original and transcribed here almost exactly as it appeared before my therapist. She likes how I write, even though I pay her my 3.00 co-pay with Medicaid for her to like it. I think she sincerely likes me, because she wasn’t going to take anymore Medicaid patients, but she recognized my name. Bless her, she’s trying her best to make me up my self-esteem. For almost my entire life I’ve believed I would never amount to shit, so she’s working on fixing it. I have got a lot of boost me upping from writing and the kind reception it receives from y’all, my dear friends.
My therapist listened to me read a bunch of my junk and she laughed a lot, which made me feel very nice. I read to her the stuff that got published on other sites and a tiny bit from my memoir. She found this amusing too when I read it to her. Hopefully you will too.
Yes, ahem, my attributes. Picture this delightful scene: My therapist’s office two weeks ago. A moderately depressed patient complaining of how her life has no meaning and she will never have someone love her back. You know, crap like that.
How original. Wonder how many others told her that today? How many others hold this sort of thing in a bubble until pop, “I’ll unburden my sorrows on my therapist.”
It isn’t always that way with me, though something does indeed pop, and my mouth starts spewing chunks of trivialities so fast it isn’t even funny. Chattering like a chipmunk. Why? Maybe because I feel comfortable with her since I knew her since I was a callow youth, or maybe because she compliments me and thinks I’m funny. Maybe, though, it also helps to know she had renumeration in some kind for listening to me talk about my trivial life and phrase things in my just ever so witty and charming way. Once I gave her a dissertation on the contrasts of regular orange Vitamin Water and orange Vitamin Water Zero, how both versions have a deliciously different taste…when I suddenly stopped and said, “Wow, talk about talking about trivial stuff!”
My therapist, however, doesn’t object me saying what I want to say. Maybe, because I’m anxious with people in general, she believes letting me air out my lungs will help me become a brilliant conversationalist, or maybe adequate. I believe her method is that she asks me questions and I talk, so that when I talk, the things that bother me will ooze out, then we hit that around for a bit. She isn’t aggressive and I truly appreciate it. Before I came to my current therapist, another one got me for one session. This other woman tried to plunge a scalpel inside me, dig around in my innards for trauma, and take an inventory of everything wrong with me on the side. Just way too much for me to swallow, way too much.
My therapist is aware of how hypersensitive I am for one thing and that my self-esteem is pretty low. Listening to the day’s diatribe of all that I lack, she suggests that I make a list of all I have that I can build upon in my life, my attributes. Mom says I shouldn’t be modest about it, tell it like it is. It seems to me a vain thing to acknowledge anything that I do could be good enough, but whatever.
1.) I am fairly well read. I love books and have since I was a tiny child being read to by my mother. Fun random flashback: The Three Little Kittens was one of my favorites all the way back to age 4, and as I had difficulty hunting me down a pumpkin pie today at the store, a part of that story came to my mind. “What?! Lost your mittens, you naughty kittens! Then you shall have no pie.” (or it went something like that).
But back to books. I’ll read just about anything from modern day grocery store literature to the classics. I also love reading out-of-print books from the 1800s and beyond, the oldest one I got hold of was called Sermons on Several Subjects from 1747. Reading the tiny type with its bizarre “s’s” that looked like “f’s” and how convention had it that the first word of the next page at the bottom of each preceding page made for fun reading indeed. My only guess at why they did that was in case you skipped a page when reading or cutting the pages. But I digress as always.
Yes, yes books. I love books. I even love smelling books, from newly pressed paper to very old paper, if no one is looking, I’ll stick my nose up close and get a good whiff. I wonder if I ever got pregnant would I
start munching on books like a human silverfish?
Not only do I read what I read, overall my ability to comprehend whatever it is new, old, or indifferent is better than average. Looking back to my early CAT tests, it seems I was always lucky that way. I just want to say thanks to my mom for reading to me The Three Little Kittens, Richard Scarry, and Felix the Cat. I also want to say thanks to that hateful teacher who taught me to read using phonics. Bitch, you may have hated me and thought I was stupid, but at least your crazy ass taught me to read well, thanks tons! Now if all this matters in the real world I’ll leave it up to you.
2.) I have a pretty decent vocabulary in two different languages. Reading Spanish is pretty easy…Speaking Spanish, um no. Rico suave. I’m good at English, anyway, though I try not to drag it out to people who don’t have as good a vocabulary, which, no offense, includes almost everyone in my apartment complex. Vocabulary doesn’t necessarily mean one is bright, so much as that they are educated fools.
3.) This thing I do, the writing, I’m better than a lot of people. Not nearly as good as many, many people, but better than average. Too bad my mind is too hyper and only lets me do it in tiny increments. If I could just tidy my writing style a bit I could write something worthy of printing (it wouldn’t hurt to actually have an idea to write about!).
4.) I have a sense of humor which has served me somewhat well. It sort of just sort of happens, and I never know if people will find what I write funny, but it often works. I worry about one day finding I have nothing funny to write. What if I run out of anything to write? I write as though I will be dead serious at first, then something happens and the funny comes. Go figure. Free the creativity!
The first time I remember writing a story down that made people laugh I was in second grade, and it was a wonderful feeling, just the best. I remember the gist of the story, a talking baby being interviewed by a reporter right after her was born. Comedy gold! Too bad I don’t still have it somewhere. What’s the point of being a sort-of-hoarder if you can’t hang on to obscure childhood papers?
5.) I am almost overly mannerly, barring a few bad habits.
6.) I aim not to hurt or slight someone. In a way this is good, but lots of times it’s bad because almost everyday I’m worried that someone is cross and about to stop being my friend or that I’ve unintentionally upset somebody.
7.) I like people, but like being left to entertain myself too. I’ve been that way since I was a small child. I had a gigantic imagination that invented stories and characters that I could imagine myself a part of and play alone for hours. I enjoyed playing with other children, mind you, but being different, this kept me from being lonely when no one would play. I like people now too, and I often get considerably lonely, but if I ever struck out on my own or had a beloved that reciprocated in kind, I don’t think I’d want to set up housekeeping straight away. Being quirky makes one only too happy to be left to your own devices.
8.) I’m told I still have a youthful enthusiasm that most people lose. This could be good I suppose and bad too. My voice makes people think I’m “slow.” Yes, someone even told me sometime that some people think so (mind you, he was on hard drugs, but that’s beside the point).
9.) My tastes are various. Case in point: I love subtitled foreign films, but I love a stupid comedy too. The problem with being kinda well-rounded is you don’t really fit in anywhere.
10.) I’m perfectly content to be friends with people much older than me.
11.) If someone is being hurt I will come to that person’s defense, not my own defense, but Charleston wasn’t built in a day.
12.) I’m all kind and charitable and junk. I almost always give whatever is asked of me. Saintly sucker!
I reckon that’s a wrap.
P.S., If you don’t like this font please let me know. I’m trying out ScribeFire, and I heart me some comic sans MS, but if it’s hard to read I will do something else.
And then the swinging doors to the ER open. Cue music similar to the theme of Tales from the Crypt -only similar though since The Network doesn’t want to be sued.A young blond nurse calls The Patient to her doom, but she must go by the man who collects the insurance info and gives out the bracelets first.I have Medicaid, ” states The Patient, the slightest tune of joyous angels singing hallelujah come into the background. (As we at the network have said before, we commit to diversity, and what’s more diverse than seeing how the other half lives in penury? One needs a ghettoish/trailerish patient every other episode to pull at the heart-strings).“OK,” he says, only giving a second’s glance at the envelope The Patient brandishes before him that contains her Medicaid card. He affixes a paper bracelet with her name on it. Apparently they don’t use plastic ones anymore. They don’t make anything like they used to we suppose, but maybe that’s the fault of the props department. Well, whatever…Let us proceed.
The Patient and her mother are led into a small room where we see our protagonist subjected to her temperature taken; it’s 100 F. Her pulse is over 100 too, but the nurse says “Perhaps that’s because you’re nervous about being here.” (Quick! Someone call out ‘Bingo.’ American audiences really dig the stating of the obvious). The blood pressure is still pressuring, so we see some foreshadowing of The Patient living out the rest of this episode without flatlining, but you never can really tell with these shows. Keep watching!
More dramatic music as the nurse begins a barrage of questions. Are you pregnant? Do you use drugs or alcohol? Are you sexually active? The questions are each answered in a droning tone, “No.”We now hear a voice-over of The Patient saying in her mind, If only my life were so interesting.
“Do you have any medical conditions?” the nurse questions.
The Patient feels ‘IT’ must be stated, her constant friend who is always with her, whether ‘IT ‘ hangs out in the background or screams to the point of drowning The Patient out. “Um I do have a problem.” The words rush forth. “I have OCD and I’m terrified of going to doctors in case they find something wrong with me and I’d rather not know. That’s why I haven’t been to the doctor before now.” During this startling revelation, one that would make the incestuous secrets revealed in V.C. Andrews novels pale in comparison, we hear soap opera-type of music. The nurse is kind and reassures The Patient that things will be just fine….and then The Cup is produced. A flourish of dramatic music as the nurse announces she needs a specimen and points The Patient to the restroom down the hall. The Patient goes towards this sanctuary but she finds herself thwarted. Organ music, the sort used in silent movies to denote villains and dastardly deeds plays at intervals. A young cleaning woman and her cart is blocking the entrance. She stares down The Patient, who granted isn’t sporting her most charming-about-to-meet-God-dying-swan-look. Her curly hair is sticking straight up reminiscent of Einstein. The Patient, tall and plump, is the diminutive one, not quite sure how to handle this situation. She, unable to meet the eye of anyone for more than a couple of moments stared more towards the bathroom than directly at her obstacle. The camera pans out a bit and goes back and forth between nemesises, sounding the organ at each point.
Finally our heroine speaks. “Is the bathroom closed?”
“You need in here?”
The woman moves her cart out of the way, and The Patient thanks her. This is a public service message tucked into the script interpreted as, “Just because you’re among the walking dead doesn’t mean your manners should also be on their last legs too.” We expect this idea to be so popular it will span generations, be woven into samplers, and sell many Blu-Ray discs.
The Patient heads towards the handicapped stall preferred by most portly women when not needed. At The Network, we want to get a reward for positive portrayals of mentally ill persons, but sometimes an artist must pursue the artistic muse, that fire of creativity, which results in a crude sketch of Howard Hughes incarnated into the mind of our heroine.
The patient unscrews the cap. “What is it that makes capturing your own urine in a container so fascinating?” says the voiceover of The Patient. We hear a tinkling of piano keys and cymbals to drown out the sound of The Patient voiding. She fastens the lid on her handiwork, washes her hands and the bottle for good measure, then out into the frightening world of the hospital once again.
Conferring around the writers and producers of ER, we come to the conclusion that Emily Post never mentioned manners or propriety in regards to brandishing urine specimens in front of a live studio audience. We decide to have The Patient conduct herself with discretion in the matter (after all, we’re hoping she’ll win an Emmy). The Patient hides her ‘prize’ with both hands holding it in a vise against her stomach. We infer her thoughts in the matter as thus: “If the golden hue of regular urine be offensive to the eye, perhaps this color will be twice as bad.” The secret liquid in her hands, at the risk of sounding vulgar, looks as though one has mixed Red Bull energy drink with tea. This is partly due to a urinary analgesic that she uses and the disease itself.
A small office is where The Patient is shown to give her contribution. A plump African-American woman accepts the gift by telling her to set the cup down in the sort of plastic tray they give hospital patients to spit. (A little note from the writers and producers of the show: As we at The Network have stated before, we are committed to diversity, blah blah, etc., but the head writer feels that unless the person of color is speaking Swahili, has a Jamaican accent, or can mimic Flava Flav, to describe every person who isn’t WASPy “seems kinda racist, kinda.” So we only offer up one token African-American to show our commitment to whatever we committed to, but there are actually three in this series. In other words, we are afraid we would sound racist when we didn’t mean to be).
Flava Flav of Public Enemy
He isn’t just a brother,
He is THE BROTHER!
Then the blond nurse leads her to her room. “Taps” is playing in the background now. The Patient sits down on her bed and the nurse brings her a gown. “You need to take your shirt and bra off and put on this in case he needs am x-ray ….”
“WHAT?!” cries our heroine. We hear the sound of a banging down of keys on a piano. “Is that routine?” The Patient’s voice shows an escalating panic, which makes one curious whether she will run away, collapse, or maybe even fight.
“It’s just in case,” the nurse reassures her and leaves. It appears this episode ER is quickly turning into Girls Gone Wild: Hospital Edition. But no, the actress who plays The Patient wishes to be seen as tasteful; therefore, she exudes to the audience the modesty of Botticeli’s Venus as she quickly dons the hospital gown.
A male nurse comes in and introduces himself. Wow, he doesn’t even seem gay, thinks The Patient (Diversity strikes again! A male nurse AND not even gay. Take that, Stereotypes! Mind you if I had any say in character development, I’d have him so campy people would think he’s the incantation of Liberace or a character from La Cage Aux Follies…Just saying). He tells them that the doctor will be there shortly and that The Patient could watch TV until then.
The TV is flat screen and can be pulled up close by a patient waiting for the doctor to come and pronounce her dead. Voiceover says, “This wouldn’t be such a bad place to stay if a doctor isn’t around to mess with you.” The Patient has no interest in watching TV, but mindlessly flipping through the channels as her mind ponders deep thoughts is something to do. Oh Ellen is on. Flip, flip, flip. Wonder what Scott would do in such a situation as this, she thinks of a fellow blogger with OCD who doesn’t seem totally !@#$%^ by being afraid of everything unlike herself. He wouldn’t have waited long enough to be compelled to go to the ER instead of a doctor, you dumbass. He wouldn’t think he had diabetes/kidney failure/ cancer/AIDS. Oh well, different strokes for different folks. Then her thoughts flip channel and she thinks of all the times she’s wished she was dead in passing. Oh. No. I DIDN’T MEAN IT GOD! What if it’s true that you have to be careful what you wish for because you might just get it. What if I’m about to get what I deserve, and…..and……
….And the doctor comes in shutting off all irrational and rational thought. “I’m Dr. Boring,” he announces good-naturedly over dramatic musical chords.
Dr. Boring… Are you for real?
We at the Network feel we should interject here that once Clooney left the show, we had some trouble getting A List talent. But then we couldn’t even get C List writers after the show was cancelled, and yet we defiantly kept recording . Hence we have characters named Dr. Boring and The Patient. Que sera, and if you don’t like it, change the channel. Some station somewhere must be playing Saved by the Bell. By the way, anyone have Screech’s porn effort? Anyone? No? Oh, well, my friend, The Rodrigo, has a super crush on him, but never mind.
Dr. Boring has been informed that The Patient has OCD and a phobia of doctors that’s bigger than the state of California, but he seems like such a kind soul. The Patient says for fear of causing offense, “It’s not that I don’t like doctors. I’m afraid of knowing I have some terrible disease…I’d rather just not know.” May the audience agree there’s nothing more silly than an avoidant personality, great material though perhaps?
“May I listen to your breathing?” Dr. Boring doesn’t want to freak out the nice mentally unstable patient. No sudden furious ‘doctoring,’ for which The Patient is extremely grateful. He listens to her lungs and seems not to be disturbed at his findings. And then…
The results are in! Cue drumroll! And the winner of America’s Got a Kidney Infection issssssssss The Patient! Cue confetti falling. And the award is a generic antibiotic prescription! “You can have a follow-up in three days at Dr. Suchnsuch’s office. But,” says Dr. Boring, seeing the fear in The Patient’s eyes. “But you don’t have to.”
“If you aren’t better in a few days come back. The Cypro might not wipe out the infection completely or we may have to do some x-rays to rule out other problems like kidney stones.”
Cue yet another bout of dramatic music as The Patient asks dramatically, “Do you think there’s something terribly wrong with me?”
Dr. Boring is matter of fact. “I don’t think so.”
As the doctor is about to leave, he says to The Mother, “She’s tough staying away this long. Her urine was really dirty.” No doubt The Patient’s mother inwardly beamed with pride.
For more diversity than you could possibly shake a stick at, this part of the show is dedicated with reverence to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, jr., who said in his famous speech, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty I’m free at last!
“I’m free! I’m getting out of this without them finding something terribly wrong with me. Freeeeeeeee!” thinks The Patient, not believing she is going to walk out of those sliding glass doors with minimal trauma. Hallelujahs are sung in the background. The blond nurse’s parting words to The Patient’s thanks is “Remember doctors can help you get better if you do have a disease.”
Whatever! I want to go to McDonald’s drive-thru and get an Orange Lava Burst Hi-C drink and hope I don’t vomit it up.
After the illness
Two weeks later The Patient is telling of her ordeal, and though she now is recovered the memory remains so fresh that she lets not a single droplet of urine pass without inspection for blood. She has also taken to sleeping with a Barbie doll, as though among Barbie’s lengthy resume over the years, warding off urogenital diseases and causing regression in 32 year-olds are new jobs. She omits this last tidbit, sleeping with a Barbie doll due to the general idea that her death is imminent might be a little embarrassing.
“And so what did you learn from this?” ask the therapist
“Well, I learned that I ought to have a doctor…Yes, that I ought to.”
“You should have a doctor. You would feel better knowing you had a clean bill of health.”
“Duly noted,” The Patient replies. “But doubt I will anytime soon.” Cue wacky music that fades out as we enter our final scene.
It turns out that the hospital didn’t file her Medicaid, so they will have to sort it out with the hospital for her “Level 3 care” Level 3? We at The Network would hate to see what Level 1 care would be. A slap on the back and a, “You take care now and don’t die?”
When our heroine looks at the bill that thankfully will be paid for her, she is more than startled. “ $1033.00! MOTHER F-F…”The theme from Psycho plays as we fade to black.
I am going to make my way in this blog on a metaphorical bridge of thoughts and perceptions from day to day to try to connect the known with the yet unknown. My bridge is like a single plank which will require the supplement of others.