Monday, November 16, 2009

back to pre-

toy messenger

I took a walk through prospect park with a friend yesterday, and as we dodged baby strollers and bewitching dogs, I gave her a brief update on my physical health. At least it was intended to be brief because talking about it usually upsets me to the point of tears, but the laundry list of things holding me back keeps getting longer. It feels childish to be so dramatic about it because I haven't been diagnosed with some dreadful disease or syndrome or life threatening -itis. I'm not losing my hair or being pumped with death stalling toxins. I don't need machines to take a breath. Things could be much, much worse.

But it's hard to care about worse, when I am constantly reminded of how much better it could be. Literally everywhere I go, I see someone jogging. Or cycling. Or walking home sweaty from whatever their choice form of torture was for the day. I just finished reading Born Round (highly recommend it), and exercise is mentioned ad nauseum. If you google depression and exercise, the majority of the hits will detail all the ways in which exercise can create a bridge to cross the moat out of your Dark place. Or it can contribute to better sleeping patterns, which in turn can allow you to juggle your misery with care. Or it helps with weight loss, which might be the tug on your self-esteem that has you out of sorts.

Where is the literature on how to escape the depression that ensues when you can't put on your running shoes for more than a 30 min walk? Where can I find an essay telling me I should be grateful for the fact that I can swim at the pool if I don't kick? Can someone tell me how to appreciate the incredible bike that's been sitting against the wall for over a year (minus a few trial runs just to see what would happen)?

Part of me has to wonder if it's all just a total mindfuck. Do I have some unconscious need to be thwarted every step of the way? Is that laundry list of aches and pains actually one item long (me)? I'm doing what I can to figure out if there's a legitimate physical cause for the escalating breakdown of this clunker I'm walking around in, but my patience is wearing pretty thin. I can barely make it through the park without wanting to trip every chirping runner I see.

So here's where we're going to get crafty. Today's picture is me, at age 2.75. Pre-injuries. Pre-emotional breakdowns. Pre-creating barriers at every turn. I'm going to play a little game with myself where I think about this picture (and a few others) whenever I start to get really negative. I'm going to relax*. And I'm going to breathe. Think what you will, but self-delusion works. At least that's what I'm going to tell myself.

*Take a second and notice if you're tensing something in your body. I find something virtually every time I do this. Hello, my name is Clenched, how are you?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

three cheers for freud

dekalb market bread

So far, it hasn't been the best of weeks. After a particularly acerbic morning, I went to the food co-op to shop for marinara ingredients. My mom is coming to town tonight, and in preparation for dinner on Wednesday, I'm cooking the family tomato sauce recipe because "spaghetti with tomato sauce" is her all time favorite dish. The recipe is one that my parents perfected through years of eating spaghetti basically every Monday and Friday night. Monday nights, they ate sauce from a jar (it was also, without fail, my night to do the dishes). Friday nights, they went to the local greek italian restaurant in the strip mall across the street from my high school. Every week, the owner, "Papa George," greeted my parents with an exuberant hello and tilted his head back to peer at the whole family through his thick glasses. Eventually, my dad asked "Papa," as we called him at home, to divulge the secret to his tomato sauce. Papa was more than happy to go over the list ingredients, although I'm guessing he left out a thing here or there because it never quite tasted the same at home.

At any rate, I was standing in the co-op near the avocados, checking my list, when I heard a little boy say, "Mommy why are you so dramatic??"

His mom said, "Why am I so dramatic?" She paused. "Because grandma made me that way!"

It made me laugh out loud and was enough to carry me through the rest of my shop without getting sucked back into the mental bog that accompanied through the sliding glass doors.

Monday, November 2, 2009

regular anger

blurry beast

I called the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) last week to make an appointment for an x-ray. The receptionist told me that she couldn't schedule an appointment until she had received a faxed copy of my x-ray script. I made a phone call to the administrative office of my chiropractor. They said, "Oh sure we'll fax that today and give you a call when it's done!"

I called HSS the next day and asked to schedule an appointment for an x-ray. "Have we received a copy of your script?" the receptionist asked. I said, with confidence that I had played the game correctly, "Yes you should have received that yesterday."


"I'm sorry, we don't have a script for you," you said.

"Okay, well I spoke to my my doctor's office and they called to specifically tell me that the script had been faxed, but I'll ask them again," I said.

"Yeah, we can't even begin to schedule an appointment without a copy of your script," she reiterated with no hint of responsibility for the delay.

So I called my doctor's office again, 3 days later because the previously dictated conversation happened on a Thursday and I didn't have time to make the call on Friday. The office agreed to fax the script over ASAP.

"So if I call in about an hour, they should have it?" I asked.

"Oh yes, definitely," said the office manager.

(after swimming at the Y and working a heinous co-op shift for my overbooked girlfriend)

I called HSS. "Hi I need to make an appointment for an X-ray."

"Do we have a copy of your script?"

"YES, you should have received that sometime this morning," I said firmly, knowing I had jumped through the shiny little hoop they threw at me last time.

"What's your first and last name?"

"XX Johnson"

"No, I'm sorry, we don't have a script here for you. You said XX Dunkin right?"

"NO XX JOHNSON" I said, losing my patience. I wondered if the last person I spoke to had overlooked my script because she too thought I was an heir to the donut chain.

"No ma'am, we don't have anything here for you. Is this for an MRI? or a cat scan?"

"No, this is for an x-ray," I said, wanting to scream at her that I had specifically said at the beginning of this asinine conversation that I needed to make an X-RAY appointment.

"Oh, you don't need an appointment for a regular x-ray" she said.


"If it's just a regular x-ray you don't need to make an appointment," she repeated.

"I called here last week to make an appointment and was told that I had to have my script faxed over before you could schedule anything and you're telling me that I don't even need an appointment? That would have been really great to know UP FRONT."

Silence. No apology. No empathy. No response whatsoever.

"What is the procedure you need done?" she asked, annoyed by my ignorance of what a regular x-ray means.

"It says lumbar spine, hip and pelvis. It's listed under general radiology. Is that regular?"

Sounds of page shuffling.

"I don't know ma'am, let me transfer you to that department."

If only I were a more explosive person. Instead, I got off the phone and literally couldn't move for about 10 minutes because I was so angry. I could have walked into this radiology clinic over A WEEK AGO and gotten the x-rays done. If my chiropractic office knew anything about the clinics that they recommended, they could have warned me that I don't need an appointment for a "regular" x-ray. If any one of the 3 people I spoke to at the radiology clinic had paid attention to the fact that I opened each conversation "I need to MAKE AN APPOINTMENT" they could have sent me on my appointment free way.

If I walk in there and someone tells me I need an appointment for my "regular" x-ray, I may have to be escorted off the premises by security.