Ahhhh….it really HAS been too long since I last saw my psychiatrist. Chatting with him may cost me an arm and a leg, but damned if it doesn’t make for an interesting morning!
Naturally, I had to get my “confession” out of the way early on so I could kick back in the new comfortable sofa he’d brought from home, and enjoy the rest of the session. As predicted, his response was “okay, and you did this—why?” I reminded him that he’d told me some time back that I could experiment with a reduction, which had the immediate effect of making him blush a little, which in turn made me chuckle.
“Uh, well, I’d still like to try to wean it down a bit, but not for a while,” he replied, typing faster than usual as he spoke. “You’ve got too much going on in your life for us to mess with your meds right now. It’s also possible that you may need this amount to stay on an even keel.” That was a major concession—he hates it when he doesn’t have lots of wiggle room to increase a medication if things go sideways—but the fact is, it’s keeping me sane. End of argument.
This exchange was followed by some heavy-medical discussion about Will’s illness and a lighter one about my career strategies, which I sorely lack right now. True to form, he came up with some suggestions for non-clinical nursing jobs that I could do in addition to my current position (I swear, the guy should work for the Employment Division) and I had to concede once again that he knows what he’s talking about. But then, unlike most people, he knows a lot about a lot of things, and he doesn’t try to bullshit you when he doesn’t.
Still, it amazes me how he makes therapy feel like a fireside chat. He told me a hilarious story about a friend of his who works in a spa whose owner decided that all employees—male and female—had to wear a uniform of a polo shirt and yoga pants. Now, it doesn’t take too much of an imagination to picture a big, tough male massage therapist in a pair of yoga pants, or the potential for humiliation at the hands of other employees (to say nothing of clients!). But somehow, Dr. Awesomesauce manages to weave these tales in with snippets of wisdom about life, love, sex, death, and other matters of consequence, planting seeds that the patient doesn’t even know are there until they suddenly sprout and burst into full bloom at exactly the right time.
This is without a doubt the strangest doctor-patient relationship I’ve ever had in my life. I like to be able to categorize things neatly, and this defies pigeon-holing no matter how hard I try to figure all the angles. There’s no question about who’s the doctor and who isn’t, but then he gets all New Age-y and tells me things like how I’m this beautiful soul with a big heart who loves too much and allows herself to be hurt too often. Where in the DSM-V does that come from?
He’s all business when it comes to my diagnosis and its complications, but then prescribes indulgences such as day trips to the beach every bit as seriously as he does my meds. And then there are the seashells, which are STILL in their same place on the computer desk after many months; in fact, no one else who uses that office or the computer is allowed to move them “because they’re mine and I love them!”
In this day and age of managed care and strict limitations on the time a doctor is able to spend with each patient, one who takes the time to make his patients feel uniquely cared for is almost unheard-of. And while three hundred and forty-nine dollars may be pretty steep for someone of my limited means, it’s a small price to pay for the validation that has eluded me all my life.