The very idea of seeing another therapist has me in the lavatory wiping cold sweat from my face. I considering vomiting. My phone dings, reminding me that the appointment is in five minutes. I’m here, I’m signed in. But I’m hiding in the lavatory instead of the waiting room. I hate those waiting rooms.
Mushroom risotto. It took a lot of time and energy to prepare. And, though it tasted great going down, it’d be horrible coming up. Would probably get caught in my teeth. I don’t have enough time to vomit and brush my teeth. So, there it is. I can’t vomit because I don’t have time.
My stomach is less convinced. It doesn’t care for logic. Asking a therapist for help is hard enough, I won’t add on bad breath. I wheel to the sink, wash my hands, and check my makeup. It’s just some eyeliner and lipgloss. No harm done. I head to the evil waiting room.
“Liv Good?” A woman who could easily be a plus-sized model smiles at me.
“That’s me. I like your glasses.” Copper and purple are swirled together along the frame. The rims have sparkling gems, probably cubic zirconia.
“Thank you. Come with me, please.” I follow her to an office and park next to a couch.
She sits in what looks like a very expensive swivel chair and crosses her legs. “I’m Dr. Patel. You may call me that, or Doc, or Doctor, or Deepanwita if you can pronounce it. Is it Liv or Olivia?”
“It’s Liv. It’s Norwegian. And I know what it’s like to have people mess up your name.”
“Liv Good? People have trouble saying that?” She presses her pen to a notepad.
“No. My dad. His surname is Skjeggestad. He wants me to change my name to that. But I prefer my mom’s name. I think you can understand why.”
She nods. “Is that what brings you in?”
“My dad, in general, yeah. I mean, that’s not my biggest problem.” I motion to the chair. “The hip and spine arthritis, dealing with that, obviously is my biggest issue.”
“Why do you say that it is obvious?”
“Because you can see it? It’s an inconvenience to myself and others.” I bite my tongue. Here comes the lecture.
I wait. But she just smiles.
“Okay. I know I’m not supposed to call myself an inconvenience. But because of me, and people like me, there have to be special bathrooms and curbs with ramps and reserved parking spaces. Plus, the chair takes up space. It gets stuck in the rain and snow. If I do things that others consider normal or fun, I become an annoyance. I’m in the way. And it’s proof that I’m not taking care of myself. Then I become a burden to others. They end up having to take care of me.”
“You think people aren’t interested in taking care of one another?”
I stare at her. “Not really. Maybe some of them, if they have time. But on the whole, no.”
“I see it when I go shopping. People wish I wasn’t there. And imply that maybe I should just stick with home delivery. Pay for the service. But I like seeing what’s at the store, comparing prices and finding sales. More than that, I like to pick my own produce.”
She smiles again. I’ve said way too much. And haven’t touched on my ad for roommates or the paranormal creatures in my home. “None of this is what I’ve come to talk about. I just want to know if I’m crazy… wait, no, not crazy. I mean, I’m doing something and I need to know if I’m doing the right thing. Or if there’s a downside of which I’m not considering.”