(note: as you may have guessed, it's not really Friday anymore. But please trust me that it was Friday when I originally scribbled down these thoughts. Enjoy.)
I am writing this from the waiting room at the Prairie Trails Medical clinic. Here's what I wanted to do today: I wanted to have a day for thinking.* Maybe tidy the house. Eat one of my CLIF peanut butter bars in bed and make crumbs.*** Slurp some (non-tepid) tea. Write. And in all this, remain wonderfully crumpled in bed until at least 9 am.****
And yet here I am, dressed, brushed and stubbornly makeupped.***** Seated with me is a generation sprouting white hair and walking canes (it is Crescentwood, after all). They are the elderly but together we are the sick and waiting. Bored, I pick up the local reading material, and I am amused to see that it is the Teenage Survival Handbook, endorsed by the RCMP Foundation. Not quite my game at this season in life, but I read it anyway and fill my head with information on “this changing body of mine” and the dangers of suicide. It's pretty heavy reading for such a small pamphlet. I put it down.
It's slim pickings here in this clinic. And no wifi for my phone.
What I wanted today was a break - a chance for quiet, to pick up those in-the-head thought-crumbs that collect over the days and weeks when life is too busy. You know the ones. Yeah, those. I need to sweep those up a bit. Tidy up. It's been awhile, you see, and they are collecting in my head; I need to process.
And although I do this quickly and rather haphazardly throughout the week, this method only works for so long. Eventually, time alone is required. Like today.
But rather than today's tidying, I am getting another morning of dealing with my body. And it's various health issues. This time, it's a possible strep throat. While normally not a big deal, for us Immunosuppressants (my title, not an official name), it can be. So despite wanting a day “off”, I dutifully sit in this grey and padded waiting room chair and wait.
I did not want to come, you see. I really did not.
My mind protested of course, and I admit that I spent the better part of the morning not relaxing as hoped but leaning into indecision about whether to make the call to the doc. Not a comfortable bedfellow, this indecision. My head pouted, tried to say that there was nothing to worry about; that this terrible sore throat was just the body’s way of taking away our day off. That everything would be a-okay. Even while I showered, these two -- the mind and the physical body - warred with each other. Truthfully, by the end of the shower I may have been clean but I was exhausted.
Finally, at 10:10 am, a smidgen of caution won out. Truly my throat was sore, to the point of not being able to swallow. Or talk well. After much debate, my mind agreed to at least try and call the doc and see if they could see me today. It being a Friday, it was doubtful that they could.
But as you know from me sitting here, pamphlet about my "changing body" next to me and a gaggle of seniors milling about, the doctor just happened to have a spot available. Of course. So my body won; it will get to see the doc today. And my head - my head will just have to be content with a mental health afternoon. It's a give and take.
footnote: In the past, I have been viewed as an uncooperative patient. While I am not entirely innocent of this, such a label has brought with it a slew of difficulties.****** If I were to reflect on some of those instances of my being perceived as “uncooperative”, I would say that my past “hesitancy to immediately participate in the prescribed health plan” was and is often due to my trying to balance the (immediate) needs of my mental health verses the (equally pressing) needs of the physical body.
*as much as my mom tried for me not to be, I am indeed, one giant introverted soul. Sorry, Mom.**
**not a literal giant.
***CLIF peanut butter bars and make crumbs: first, because if I were to have an admitted addiction, it would be to these bars. Second, this has to remain a secret activity (if it even was or is an addiction) because someone living in this same house happens to be deathly allergic to them. Seriously. As in one little dab of the peanut buttery goodness on his lips and *poof* he would be gone. Finished. So while I do eat these illicit bars in bed, I do so only when I am assured of being alone for the day. And I am careful. Occasionally I even change the bed sheets afterwards. It’s work. But it's worth it for peanut butter.
****morning meds time.
*****the clothes are from yesterday. Wait. Who am I kidding. I can't lie: I am in clothes from two days ago.
As for the makeup, I admit to feeling the need to put on some before a visit to the doctor. This need to be appealing (despite being ill), is troublesome to me. And yet I do it. Further, I have speculated and continue to wonder if it hinders proper diagnosis. As someone who is apt to dismiss my own symptoms of distress (due in part to being a chronic lifer of illness and as such, having a rather skewed understanding of what “feeling good” actually means), I frequently hear from doctors "well, you look okay". Yes, yes I do. I am also wearing concealer, highlighter and mascara. And perhaps a bit of lipstick to hide the anemia.
******there is a slew of things I could write about the imbalance of power inherent in our medical system. One day perhaps I will. But for now, I will eat my CLIF bars, enjoy this "new" kidney in me and live another day.
(medical diagnosis post-note: turns out it isn't strep after all. Just a cold virus running amok in my tonsils and such. Thank goodness).