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Getting The Bird

January 4, 2014

If they gave out awards for Best Medical Provider Visit Ever, today’s appointment with Dr. Awesomesauce would win it hands-down.

Not only is he happy with how well I’m doing, he said he’s proud of me for sticking with my “curfew” and FINALLY realizing that mania—not depression—is my worst enemy. (I guess everyone else on the planet knew that long before I did, but what the hell…..better late than never, right?) I’m not sure exactly when I realized it, but now that I have, it makes all kinds of sense.

After all, mania is what ruined me at my last big job. Mania is what has caused endless friction between me and many other people in my life. Mania is also what gives me the idea that I can think, say, or do anything and everything I want with impunity, which has NEVER gone over well in social interactions, and in fact has made me look like an asshole on more than one occasion. In other words: mania is no bueno and I must do everything I can to prevent it…..or at the very least, put out the brushfires before they blow up into an inferno.

To this end, Dr. A advised me once again to be seriously protective of my sleep, even if it means—gasp!—waiting till the next morning to finish a post or write a report. I am also to take PRN Zyprexa if my sleep gets wonky and I lose more than an hour for more than a couple of nights in a row. Even when I’m out “in the field” as a surveyor. He agreed with me that playing the ‘disability’ card or disclosing my actual diagnosis probably won’t be necessary, but again, it all depends on my ability to tame the manic monster with sleep and meds. Or meds and sleep. Or meds, sleep, and a STAT call to him if the first two don’t work right away.

Of course, the subject of the Yellow Toucan Shirt came up again, as it always does during any discussion of mania. I asked him how the hell he can remember an individual patient’s little quirks when he has two practices and is starting a business on top of all of it; he just chuckled and said, “I dunno, some are just more…..well…..memorable than others”. Obviously the toucan shirt story is one of them, for he then began to look around in his portable-office cart and produced a tiny wooden sculpture of—you guessed it—a toucan.

He handed it to me and said, “Merry Christmas”. Yes, it really happened: my doctor gave me the bird.

Well, I just about fell off the sofa laughing, because its bright colors perfectly matched those of the toucan on that horrid yellow tank top. But I knew why he’d given it to me: not only as a whimsical item to tickle the funny bone, but as a reminder to be ever vigilant against my sworn enemy.

So tonight, Toucan Sam is perched proudly atop my computer tower, from whence he will probably go to live on my new desk in my new cubicle at my new job. He’ll make a good conversation piece (although I’ll have to come up with a new story that won’t be anywhere near as cute as this one), but he’ll also serve as a symbol of all that I have to gain if I can stay on an even keel…..and all that I have to lose if I let my guard down.

Besides, he’s a lot better looking—and takes up a lot less space—than that crazy yellow shirt. Haha!

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