Doing battle with daily dragons

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

So, Tell Me About Your $%!*@ing Mother...

This is a 100% True Story. It’s something of an old story, but I just thought of it again today, and since I’m feeling a bit blue, it made me laugh. I love storytelling and tales that are fantastical, but sometimes, real life just beats all of the knights on white horses hands down.

My father would want me to say first off that he didn’t really want to go to the psychiatrist in the first place. Actually, first off, he’d probably say he wished that I hadn’t published this story on the internet for public consumption, but that’s beside the point. If this had happened to me, I’d want to write an episode of “Seinfeld” about it.

I am my father’s daughter in many ways. I have been continually discovering things that he’s passed on to me. My slightly wonky pinky fingers, my hair coloring, my love of science, nature and exploration, my ectopic heartbeat and one of my personal favorites, Seasonal Affective Disorder or rather, in it's ironic acronym state, SAD.

This is pretty much as it sounds. In the winter, when sunlight is at a premium, all of the little happiness receptors in your brain decide to have a holiday in Barbados without you, leaving you feeling a bit miserable. (As you can imagine, living through an English winter with this condition is a feat of endurance with much love and chocolate required for survival.) Maryland is much the same, although you might see the sun there twice a week rather than twice every four.

So, to combat this annoying little slice of cerebral treachery, my father usually gets some sort of prescription happy pills from November through May. In America, for some strange reason, a GP can’t issue a prescription for anti-depression medication, so you actually have to suck it up and go to a shrink.

So my father, mild mannered, nice guy, walks into the office of The Good Doctor.

Now, we all live with certain handicaps. Some even keep us from entering certain professions. So you can imagine my father’s shock when the first thing The Good Doctor says when he sits down in his office is,

“Before we begin, I must tell you that I suffer from Tourette’s Syndrome. I’d ask you to please not be alarmed by any outbursts.”

“Of course,” my father replies, his trepidation levels, I can only imagine, rising.

(Just to interject, can you IMAGINE a worse profession for a sufferer of Tourette’s than PSYCHOLOGY? Albeit, bomb squad member creeps to mind.)

The session starts out mostly normally. It’s just a routine Q+A necessary for the prescription of anti-depressants, so it’s not terribly in-depth. The Good Doctor’s tics, at first, seem to be more of a throat clearing nature than the full on, “AARDVARK! PANTIES!” style of Tourette’s behavior that is so often characterized for comic effect in the media and is actually relatively rare among Tourette's sufferers. However, as the session progresses, my father becomes aware that the agitation level of his physician is growing as the throat clearing starts to become more pronounced until, in a physical and vocal explosion, The Good Doctor leaps from his chair and yells “HEY!”

Let me just tell you how much my father didn’t want to be there in the first place. Being trapped in a room with a psychiatrist with Tourette’s made a winter of feeling slightly off color look pretty attractive in comparison. Especially since the outbursts from the Doctor were becoming more frequent.

After 45 minutes of enduring “HEY!” and leaping up and down like a coach in a major league baseball game, my father was released from the care of The Good Doctor with a prescription and one hell of a tension headache.

Another thing about my father; he’s not a big drinker. Especially when it comes to spirits. But on his return home, he poured himself a triple cognac and went straight to bed.

You just can’t make stuff like that up.