Kage Baker really applied herself to finding bright spots in her illness. She had never been an especially sunny person – Mamma called her “the sad little pine tree” when she was a child – and she grew up with a wide streak of dark suspicion. At her very worst, Kage was downright dour.
However, the sicker she got, the more determined she became to find the good stuff. Some of it may have been sheer perversity – at a time when Fate was determined to hand her a pile of unmitigated shit, Kage became equally determined to refuse it. There really was good stuff, all the way to the end; she cultivated joy, hoarded peace, and wrung as much fun out of her life as she could. Every day. No matter what happened.
Doctors’ visits and paperwork are an endless fount of hilarity, you know. The folks who work in front offices are easily confused – a lot of them are fine, heroic people, but all too often, they are jargon-dependent drones who have forgotten how to use the first person singular pronoun and think Doctor is their employer’s given name. There is a high percentage of pomposity in the medical sciences, especially the support functions. Kage had fun sticking pins in their balloons of delusion. I’m learning to enjoy it too.
For instance, I will not respond tamely to the Imperial address – “How are we?” is not a query to which I know the answer. You, lady with a perfect manicure who cannot pronounce any portion of my name, may be fine and dandy. I neither know nor care: but I, personally, am here because I have cancer. How the hell do you think I am? Not that it matters to her, either – until I actually gave my honest answer, she wasn’t listening to me anyway. Only the shock of my not being socially cooperative got her attention.
Today I saw an internist and a psychologist, in two appointments back to back. When I checked in with reception – and again when I filled out paperwork – and yet again when the internist finished with me and turned me loose: each time, the receptionist informed me I was done. But I wasn’t, and I had the confirmations in hand to prove it; even though she denied my second appointment three times. You’d think she’d have gotten tired of my waving my little yellow postcard in front of her. But no, apparently every time I vanished from her sight I ceased to exist.
Dinosaurs may not have primitive motion-activated vision (though Michael Crichton thought they did). But medical receptionists do.
I finally got the psychiatric exam I was required to have. The doctor was very nice, and even released me back into the wild (I did have a faint worry about that). In fact, looking over my recent history, she said “Oh my! I’d be worried if you weren’t depressed!” So I guess my Prozac prescription will pass muster with Social Security. And the internist was astonished to discover I’ve been recently diagnosed with uterine cancer, and very grateful that I had brought her a copy of my biopsy report. Hopefully Social Security will okay that, too.
So I am taking as much enjoyment as I can from my little triumphs today. Bullying the receptionist is petty, of course; and as soon as I have any energy to spare, I will be contrite and offer up some penitent prayers. Until then, though, I’m going to continue to correct the pronunciation of my name (How do you get Batelmayo out of Bartholomew, anyway?), and insist on being allowed to keep ALL my appointments, and refuse to pretend that my scary illness is a minor complaint.
I am not well. I am not happy. I am not very obliging, either. I gotta get my giggles where I can these days. So live with it, receptionists of the world! I’m trying to.