Monday, June 24, 2013

"Sucks, Doesn't It?" A Memoir, Entry 27


Silver Spring, Md
I take a seat across from Pen. There’s a lightness to my being, as if the weight of the world has shifted to somebody else. Pen looks at me and smiles. I relax a bit. Ah, therapy. A cocoon to climb into for the next forty-five minutes. 
       One thing about Pen’s demeanor which works in her favor, is the calm professional face she wears. I respond to that because it gives me a pretty good clue she’s learned to control her emotions and not react visibly to anything. That is sehr gut. I like people who are in control and don’t react to things. It tells me they’re not out to impress. It tells me they know how to react appropriately regardless of the situation. This is particularly important for a therapist.
       Of course, that doesn’t mean I trust her at all. I may be clueless as to what’s wrong with me, but I for damn sure know I don’t trust people in general. I’ve known that for years and years. Since I was a babe.
Anyway, I’m surprisingly loquacious answering her first question about how my week went. In fact, my mouth bubbleth over. “It was probably the best week I’ve had since I left the hospital, Pen. There were only a very few bad moments where I felt like I was going to panic and lose control. Even when my doctor called and said I needed a third pap smear because the first two didn’t take. Well, I laughed at her and said, what, are you kidding? Hell no, I won’t go. Then my husband’s ophthalmologist diagnosed him with macular degeneration in one eye and told him he needed laser surgery. Ok, no problem, I told myself. Shit happens, we’ll get through it. So, I’m pretty sure I’m handling all this well so far, and that’s a really good sign, Pen. My life is finally beginning to settle into a relaxed routine of normalcy. I think you were absolutely right. I just needed to work on this PTSD thing, which, btw, I did a lot of research on this past week, and I’ll be as good as new.” 
I finally stop, look and listen. Pen blinks several times. I stare innocently back at her for a split second before bubble mouth breaks a dam. “Oh, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I’m just glossing over the bad part of my week and you’re probably wondering how I’m feeling about having to do a third pap smear in the span of three weeks. A little annoyed, frankly. You’d think they’d get the first one right. Barring that, the second. For me to do a third is insane. And as far as my husband’s eye is concerned, yes, that was very bad news because he depends on his eyes to earn a living, but so do most people. I felt badly for him, but hey I told him, you still got one good eye left when a lot of people have lost both. We’ll get through this. You see? Despite all this, Pen, I was able to do some journal drawing and not go crazy. I think that’s a positive sign. Don’t you?”
A scant few seconds later, Pen's strongly insisting I go through a third pap smear. I tell her no. I'm not in a good place right now. She doesn’t seem to get that. I further explain that it triggers panic to even contemplate doing another one. So, guess what lady? I’m not going to risk it. Put that in your damn pipe and smoke it. Then vomit. Then choke to death for all I care. Well, no worries on that score, because she's right in front of me still arguing about the importance of screening for cancer.
Finally I put my foot down. “Oh, didn’t I tell you, Pen? I’d much rather have cancer than live the way I do right now. In fact, dying of cancer would be a walk in the park compared to the living hell I’ve experienced over the last few months. Do you realize that if half the population of America went through what I just did, we wouldn’t have so many damn cars on the road?”
Wow, Pen sure likes to do that blinking thing. Well, she’s good at it. She couldah been a contendah for a Broadway sign. I’m so impressed, I back off a bit and tell her I’ll think about it. Psycho Voice, however, has another opinion. 
“Drop it lady! Jeezus H. Christ! Are you  dense? Do I have to draw you a road map here? Do I have to tell you how to do your f**king job?”
       How could Pen not have heard that? Yet there she sits, contemplating her next attack. I'm contemplating too, like, what are the odds that Psycho Voice remains forever buried inside my noggin?
       Not good.