Now that I’ve been seeing him for a year, things between me and the pain doctor have shaken down to a place where we get along well even though each of us is convinced that the other one is
mistaken being completely unreasonable wrong. So I see him or one of his PAs once a month, tell them that, yep, everything is pretty much the same, get my prescriptions, and go home.
For my latest appointment they made me come in at (in my opinion at least) an ungodly early hour, a time when I feel like a cranky, gnarled-up old bridge troll who’s been kicked in the face and then stampeded over by all the Billy Goats Gruff and their immediate families; lord knows what I actually look like.
As I sat down the medical assistant doing my intake asked, “So, are you counting down to Christmas?”
“Well, I’m not counting down, but I am feeing the Christmas spirit this year,” I told her. “I’m glad I’m not still in the funk I was in last year at this time.”
“Hm,” she said, then asked, “Have we ever screened you for depression?” I tried to interpret this as an honest attempt to help, rather than a commentary on how terrible I look at way-too-freaking-early-o’clock in the morning.
“Oh, yeah, I’m bipolar”, I replied, wondering why she was asking me this since she had my file open on the computer and I only mention this every single time I come in and every single time I ever fill out any paperwork.
She continued. “So I’m just going to ask you some questions, if that’s ok with you.”
“Sure.” Whatever got me out of there and back to my troll cave.
“Do you ever have trouble feeling interested in people or activities, or ever feel like there is just no point to anything?”
I was unsuccessful in squelching my snort. “Yeahhhhh, that’s part of bipolar.”
She immediately stiffened and said, “I’m sorry-I’m not familiar with bipolar.”
[This is me, stunned speechless.]
How can you work in a doctor’s office and “not be familiar with bipolar”? How can you work in a doctor’s office and be required to screen patients for depression, and “not be familiar with bipolar”?
In what can only be described as a superhuman act of will (cranky bridge troll, remember?) I did not say any of these things out loud; instead, I attempted to educate. “Unipolar depression is where you just feel depressed all the time, but bipolar is where you go up and down and have really awful mood swings.”
She was silent as she took this in. I really felt like we were having a moment. And then she kept asking her f’cking questions, none of which I remember because it was taking all my energy to use my Inside Voice to answer, YES, THESE THINGS, ALL THE THINGS THAT YOU ARE READING, I HAVE ALREADY TOLD YOU THAT I EXPERIENCE THEM SINCE THEY ARE ALL PART OF BEING BI-POLAR.
I don’t have a punchline for that story because…I can’t even…
So instead I’ll move onto Completely Bizarre Things I Never Expected To Learn Yesterday News, namely that
1. It is possible for humans to contract ear fungi, and
2. There is a statistically significant correlation between people who develop this affliction and people who own cats.
In Completely Unexpected News, I did NOT have to learn these particular facts as a result of contracting this illness myself, FOR A CHANGE!
However, having said that, knowing what I now know, and knowing that I’ve lived with cats for almost my whole entire life:
I CAN NOW THINK OF NOTHING ELSE.
It makes you wonder just what school she graduated from. Unreal – no, unfortunately, real.