In the spirit of not breaking my internet promise to post every single day, I will describe the second half of my terrible Thursday, the part I find most funny, and the part that I think you will find, well. Whatever.
I haven't been sleeping well for six months. I suspect the cause is the many issues, obligations, and dramatic events of the last three years. I resolve, after two hours of restless sleep and many events, conversations and items misfiled in my brain, that I must get control of this problem. So I call the headologist and tell her I NEED to see her. She says come at 2:15.
I have had, for about a week, a really sore right knee. I don't know what I did to it, but it hurts. Also, I have $10 left on my metrocard, and each bus ride is $2. Also, I have spent a heartbreaking amount of money lately on electronics - not because I wanted to buy electronics but because I had faulty existing electronics and need them pretty desperately to do my job. Also as a general rule, I am anti-taxi. Taxis are for rich people and I am not rich. (I do take them when it's late and I am drunk, but that's for a whole other safety reason). I also spent a terrifying amount of money this week on a trip to Africa. Moving along then.
I did what I normally do on Thursday mornings, only it didn't go well. I needed to get to 5th Avenue since there is no bus up Park Avenue, but the blocks are short in that part of town so I knew I could hobble and probably make it on time. I was already in a desperately sour mood when I hobbled to the bus stop at 57th St. I waited seven minutes for the crosstown variety, and boarded it at 1:57. The crosstown bus went about half a block, and then it stopped to pick up a person in a wheel chair with no left leg and half a right leg.
Now, most people would understand that losing five entire minutes so the bus driver can activate the lowering platform, move the wheel-chair onto the platform, raise the platform, wheel the legless creature into the bus, raise a bank of seats and wheel the chair and the legless creature into position and apply the stabilizing straps to the wheels of the chair is no special inconvenience next to spending the rest of your life with the exquisite inconvenience of having no left leg and half a right leg.
As you almost certainly already know, I am not most people.
So then it was 2:03, and I was agitated about making it to 5th avenue and getting a northbound bus. We got moving again and two blocks later, at Broadway, the legless creature most deserving of my compassion and understanding needed to get off the bus. So that entire process of stabilizing, wheeling, positioning, activating, lowering and pushing had to be performed in reverse. About the silliness of this process, I will only say that I, with my sprained right knee, could have pushed that wheel chair two blocks in less time than it took to perform these ministrations.
One block later, at 2:10, the bus driver got a call on his secret wireless informing him that it was time for his union-mandated coffee break. He parked the bus, disembarked, and vanished into Starbucks for a full four minutes. He returned, looking caffeinated and happy. I was the opposite of happy in at least nine ways, but I think you could probably infer from all my previous ramblings that I would almost certainly be near hysterical when at 2:13, the bus broke down at 6th Avenue. We were all ordered off and we were not given transfers because the bus driver was "out" of them.
I considered walking. My right leg really, really hurt. So I waited until 2:17 for the next bus, paid another $2, and we got to 5th Avenue uneventfully. It was then 2:23. Between me and the headologist, there remained 1 long block (which I already knew I had to walk) and twenty two short blocks. That's 1.1 miles, total. If my knee had not felt like it had been Nancy Kerriganed, I could have walked that in about 17 minutes. But I had gotten mysteriously clobbered right square on the knee. I just couldn't remember who did it or how it happened because I am suffering from sleep-deprivation amnesia.
So I waited, and waited, and waited for a northbound bus. It got to be 2:30. It got to be 2:32. I hailed a cab and spent the last $5 I have to get to the headologist's office, where I arrived to find that since I was a half hour late, I would have to be worked in whenever she had a spare moment. It was then 2:45, and I needed to get to Soho by 4:40, which might as well be Kansas as far as transportation in New York City goes. I was getting very nervous.
At 3:00, I was given a questionnaire to fill out. It asked me circle words that describe my feelings.
I won't sport with your intelligence or violate patient confidentiality by telling you what my form looked like. Go ahead and assume I circled a lot of words. Including stupid.
I turn in my form and after a number of minutes I can't recall, I was called into Headologist Bootstraps' inner chamber. She picked through my file, read my form, looked back at my form, and then gave me the compassionate perfectly mentally well smile that lots of people give me. Don't have any problems? Come on over. You can have some of mine, and then maybe you'll stop smiling at me like that.
Anyway, here is a truncated version of the conversation we had.
Headologist B: I think we must get your sleep problem under control.
Nina: I agree.
Headologist B: I want you to try Restoril --
Nina: WAIT! Isn't that an anti-psychotic???
Headologist B: (compassionate smile) No, it's a sleep aid. You are thinking of Risperdal.
Nina: It was just a tuna-fish sandwich! I didn't really throw it! It was more of, like, a toss! A gentle toss!
Headologist B: (compassionate smile) Restoril is a sleep aid. Have you been throwing things?
Headologist B: (compassionate smile, raised eyebrow) No?
Nina: Absolutely not. I have no idea what gave you that idea. As ideas go, that's the wrong idea.
Headologist B: would you like more Xanax?
Nina: yes, please.
Headologist B: OK. We could also try putting you on a very low dose of anti-depressants. Does that sound like a good idea?
Nina: What would be wrong with a whole big walloping mouthful of them?
Headologist B: I suspect that you have a mood disorder, and anti-depressants might aggravate the problem.
Nina: I don't have a mood disorder. I just have problems.
Headologist B: Don't you have a cousin with classic manic-depression?
Nina: Yes, but I have not talked to her in years. We are not friends, so I couldn't have gotten it from her.
Headologist B: (flipping through chart) I see that you once described your mother's behavior as erratic.
Nina: My mother was Mary Poppins. Shut up.
Headologist B: Did you throw a tuna fish sandwich at the wall recently?
Nina: Gentle toss.
Headologist B: (compassionate smile) Would you like to try some Lexapro?
Nina: Would you like me to try some Lexapro?
Headologist B: I am more concerned with your insomnia. Let's try to solve that first.
Nina: I agree. But can I still have Xanax?
Headologist B: Yes, but not the big ones.
Nina: (scanning the room for things to throw) You totally don't get me.
Headologist B: Actually, I do. (hands me a pile of prescriptions with notes and directions on them).
Nina: I don't have a mood disorder.
Headologist B: You might have one, and you might not. But I do have a feeling about you.
Nina: What is your feeling? That I am crazy?
Headologist B: (compassionate smile) I have been doing this a long time. Don't worry about labels. We'll discuss this after you try this new sleep medication. Come back next week.
So I left Headologist B's office at 3:30, thinking that surely I could hobble over to 2nd Avenue and catch the M15 bus down to the pharmacy and at least drop off the prescriptions before trekking over to Soho. So I board the bus with my slips of paper and my backpack and my sore knee. The bus goes two blocks before... care to guess? No?
A woman in a wheel chair (this one had legs but hers didn't work) needed to board the bus. So I lost an additional five minutes watching the bus driver activate the lowering platform, move the wheel-chair onto the platform, raise the platform, wheel the legless creature into the bus, raise a bank of seats and wheel the chair and the legless creature into position and apply the stabilizing straps to the wheels of the chair. I am pretty sure you know that we got stuck in traffic around the 59th street bridge and that the wheel chair passenger most deserving of my compassion and understanding had to disembark somewhere in Turtle Bay. And that it was fully 4:00 pm before I got within hobbling distance of the pharmacy, and that by then I knew if I got off the bus instead of taking it all the way to Houston St and catching an M27 bus to Spring St, I would be late.
So I remained on the bus, rolling the words "mood" and "disorder" back and forth across my brain. In the hour and fifteen minutes I was on that bus, which, by the way, only travelled four miles in that amount of time, I discovered the appalling truth: worrying about whether you have a mood disorder can seriously disorder your mood. I had slumped against the window and closed my eyes, determined to shut it all out. Right about the time I started to feel slightly less disordered, a woman boarded the bus carrying a duffle bag with two cats in it, two very pissed off and uncomfortable cats. She sat down across from me, and the two cats poked their heads out of the top of her bag, looked me square in the face, and screamed at me for forty of the minutes I was on the bus. It was as if someone had picked up cat-head, cloned him and wrapped both crazy felines around my head. By the time I got to Soho, I was twenty minutes late and very nearly crying. As I got off the bus, I turned to the driver to say thank-you, as I always do. He put his hand on my arm and said, "It's gonna be ok, baby."
This concludes my narrative of my terrible Thursday. I only told you about half of it. The first half I won't be talking about.
Have a good pre-Easter Saturday.