Tonight, I was listening to Seasons of Love from the Rent Soundtrack on the way to the grocery store.
I was reflecting on the appointment I had with the Independent Psychiatrist that was randomly selected to meet me to evaluate. . .well, who knows exactly why he was chosen, but he was a dream come true, regardless of what the outcome may be.
I got to his office early, as planned. I got lost getting there, because instead of taking the highway like I do when I go to that neighborhood (2 times a week, easily), I took the backroads and even forget where I was going. I had the reminder sheet in my lap, and I was still afraid I would forget to go there.
He was running late, but welcomed me in at about 5:10 or so. I was in full babesia mode: air hunger from a visit to the very fragrant ladies’ room. I told him what had happened and he offered, right away to shut his window where the man from chemo-lawn was spraying the bushes.
Next came the evaluation. He asked me so much, I couldn’t believe it. He wrote it all down in really large letters (like 1″). They were either in Doctor english, or a language I couldn’t recognize. He asked me to remember 3 words. One of which was cat. He told me that we had 30 minutes, and at the end of the interview, he would ask me those words. I answered all of his questions about my illness, found out my last MD gave me a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia AND chronic fatigue syndrome. Didn’t know that.
He asked me about delusions, hallucinations, voices and more.
“Who is the President of the United States?” he asked.
“Barack Obama”. Score one for Lyme Mama.
“Who was the President before Obama?” he asked.
“Do we really need to talk about that?” I asked.
“He really messed up our Country, didn’t he?” The Doctor responded.
“Yep. George W. Bush” I said.
“Who was before that.”
“George Senior”. Fail one for Lyme Mama.
He asked me to repeat numbers back to him and I started crying. I couldn’t remember them.
He asked me about my relationship with my parents.
I said, “Dead”.
He said, “Both?”
I said, “Cancer of the Pancreas, both.”
“I wonder what kind of toxins they were exposed to.”
“We lived in a farming community. I was the primary caregiver to both of them.”
“They were lucky to have you.”
Wasn’t this hard enough? And here I was, talking to the sweetest man I had ever met in a Psychiatrists office and now we were talking about my dead parents. Did he want me to lose it?”
“It was the greatest achievement in my life. To help them both die at home.”
And that’s how I got to Seasons of Love. How am I measuring my life? I don’t remember who called me for my birthday, but I sure remember that my sister and brother, who live a few miles away didn’t call. I think about my lack of energy and how little I get done everyday. I think of the 4 hours a week I work, and how few I don’t work. I think about how few real-life friends check in with me, or on my sick family. But I don’t celebrate that Roberta checks in. And Jen brings spaghetti sauce.
Every day I care for my very sick children. It may not be the way a well mother would do it, but I do it. They are fed and medicated and cared for as best as I can.
And my husband does 70% of the cooking and 90% of the grocery shopping. He hates this illness as much as I do. He didn’t sign up for this life where his colleagues are trying to raise money to produce their art work, and he is trying to make enough to cover medical expenses for his sick family. I’m sure he never imagined he would have this life.
But this is what we’ve got. Like it or not. And I need a new method of measurement.
And it sure won’t be the three words. I got them all wrong. I said, “Box?” Then, “Dog.” Then I just cried. He said, “Close. One was Cat.”