Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fist in the Back

I was home from a long day of work and medical appointments before I understood what was wrong with me. It wasn’t just that Nicholas of Starbucks left the cream out of my coffee, insisting even after I asked that he had indeed put it in. (It was a drive-thru and the color I could see through the slot in the top of the cup looked suspiciously dark. Black, in fact.)

“Are you sure there’s cream in here?” I asked one more time. Oh, yes, of course. Oh well.

No, I finally started feeling the fist in my back last night. I had seen my psychiatrist earlier, a boring man who prescribes my anti-depressant. But even the boring man almost pushed me out of his office after a few minutes of conversation. My time was up.

“How have you been?” he asked after I sat down.

“I’m still walking,” I responded. I explained why just putting one step in front of the other was a small accomplishment for me. Several things had happened since I’d last seen him in the fall. Still, after I told him about the worst weeks of my life, and after he’d nodded a few times, it was time for me to leave. Fist in the back.

On to the nursing home. At my aunt’s careplan conference an hour later, a nurse I’d never met and who has never met my aunt, also gave me a little push. Yes, they really had left my aunt in the same clothes four days in a row. True, we had talked about this previously. Really? Really, we haven’t been brushing her teeth? Wow, hard to believe.

But now, now we have others waiting. Waiting for their turn around the table. Where plans are made and not carried out. Where words mean nothing and caring is cheap. Fist in the back. Time to move on.