Thursday, August 9, 2012

WFMAD: Day Eight.

(Day Seven was another write-in-private day. And yes, inevitably, at the end of the month I will post my reflections about what I realized I could say in public and what I couldn't and why and how I feel about that.)

Today’s prompt: Write a scene in a doctor’s office. It can be one from your own life. One that you imagine a relative went through. It could be a famous person, stripped down and wrapped in a paper gown, about to get The News. Try to alternate the patient’s thoughts with details from the room. Introduce other characters; nurses, other patents, medical students, the doctor, the patient’s beloved companion, the person the character sees in the mirror.

So most people bitch a lot about this awkward paper gown, but the truth is, I find something about being essentially naked in a public place, in a place I shouldn't be naked, a little exciting. Maybe exciting is the wrong word; makes me sound too much like a pervert. Although I guess if being naked in public is your thing, it's your thing. What I'm saying is, it feels almost rebellious and freeing in a way. Sure, hundreds of years of technological advances probably could have produced a better paper gown, and yeah, it's impossible to get tied all the way around your body. But I sort of like feeling the air conditioning on my bare back. I like my bare back.

This probably also makes me really insensitive since so many folks receive so much horrible news in these places, but when I have a check-up at the doctor's office, I always feel a strange sense of absolute calm. I feel calm in the waiting room; I feel even calmer in the actual exam room. I think it has to do with letting go of control. For that moment, I know that that place is exactly where I'm supposed to be, and there is nothing I have to do other than just sit there and do what they ask. There's a higher law happening here, and it's a law of science and doctors with warm smiles and soft hands. Do what you do; I'll just sit here and listen and let the white walls and bright lights dim any sense of urgency or emotion. I am a blank blob and that feels okay sometimes.

"Hey, Lara! How are you doing today?"

That's another thing. They always pretend they know you when they don't know you, unless there's something wrong with you and they really do see you all the time. But otherwise, they have so many patients a day, and you saw me a year ago, lady. You have no idea who I am! But you make me feel like you do! And I like that.

And sometimes I wonder what would happen if the things they told me weren't good, or if the trust I so faithfully gave them was ruined, and I think about how these things are handled in books and TV, and I think about how my family and friends would support me, because that's what family and friends are for, right? And I think about how Something Bad would put me into debt for all time but America is improving all the time and eventually something will get better in that department, right? But mainly I think, it will be okay. Because it is always okay. Even if I don't want things to be okay--even if sometimes I just want something fucked up to happen once in a while--things are always the same. People always smile at me; I always give the right answers; everything is always just fine. There will always be People magazines to read in waiting rooms, boring landscape paintings on the walls, pamphlets about ailments that do not ail me. And everything will always be just fine.

I am a blank blob. And that feels okay. Sometimes.

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