I’m at the CVS pharmacy where I’ve just placed my prescription refill order. While I wait I start browsing the magazines in the news stand. I lightly touch the magazines with the grand food recipes that are beyond my capability at this point: simple spring salads, easter ham, easy spring slow cooker suppers. Yes, these are easy recipes, recipes for the masses. All I can do is look at them longingly and dream of a day when I will be able to do something simple like throw a few ingredients into a slow cooker for dinner. Before you even get to the point of putting ingredients into a slow cooker you have to have the wherewithal to plan for that, make a list, get yourself to a grocery store, shop, and then come home and put all of those ingredients away.

That same morning I woke up with a splitting headache, and the floaty feeling that glues me to my bed. I roll out to go to the bathroom, and nearly trip over my own legs because I am so wobbly from the floatiness. I tell myself, “It’s Sunday. Don’t lose the day. Get dressed now. Go to the diner. Now. Do it now.” But no, the floatiness takes over, the world fades out, and I fall back into bed again. Somehow I find my phone on the nightstand with one hand by just feeling around for it. I call Doc, get his voicemail and leave a message. After some period of time I can’t quantify, I go in the closet to get some clothes. I find some clothes, and then fall into bed again from the exhaustion and floatiness. I now have clothes. I just have to get out of my pajamas and put them on. The phone rings. It’s Doc. We do the Emotional Freedom Technique together on the phone. I tap the appropriate points on my head, face, hands, and torso while I repeat after him, “Even though, even though I am scared and I don’t know why, I deeply, and completely love and accept myself.” We go through this again and again and again. Finally, I am able to stand without feeling wobbly. I am able to get out of my pajamas, put my clothes on, and gather my things to go to the diner for breakfast. I woke up at 9:05 a.m. It is now 11:15 a.m.

I head to the Okayish, Yet Preferred Diner. There was another diner I used to patronize on Sunday, the High Quality, Yet Gruff Diner. At High Quality they do things like make a Spinach Chicken Kabob Salad with dried cranberries, walnuts, blue cheese, grape tomatoes, and homemade greek dressing. Then there’s the crazily awesome homemade macaroni and cheese where they make their own superb cheese sauce, and it shows. However, at High Quality they do not treat you well if you are a solo diner. Even with empty booths in the diner they will insist you eat at the counter. But at the counter, people line up to pay their bill or pick up their takeout. Inevitably, I have people leaning over me as they wait for their takeout orders. I start to feel floaty when this happens. Having people in my personal space makes me shaky.

At Okayish you have to know what NOT to order. Here’s an easy rule. Never order soup there. I think they come prefab from some company. I once ordered Manhattan Clam Chowder that just seemed off. I ate so little of it they took it off my bill. One other time I thought I would try soup again, and I ordered Matzo Ball Soup. It was a vessel of liquid salt with a tint of yellow and a mediocre Matzo ball in the middle. So, yes, no soup. While we are on the Never Evers, never order any pastries here. I think they keep them in the pastry case to the point that they may be ready for shellacking for permanent keep. And don’t dream of the Buffalo Chicken sandwich. It’s just two frozen chicken fingers fried with some buffalo sauce inside a hamburger bun with a sprinkle of blue cheese. They do better with things they actually cook and prepare themselves, such as omelets, pancakes or waffles. They even know how to make excellent home fries, potatoes perfectly cooked, nicely seasoned with salt and pepper and crispiness here and there throughout.

But, the people who work at Okayish are some of the nicest around. Every time I eat someplace with better food I miss these guys. Just a few weeks ago, I was reading McCarthy’s Bar: A Journey of Discovery in Ireland while dining at Okayish when I started laughing right out loud as I was reading the book. The waitstaff wanted to know what I was reading. One waitress said to me, “I want to laugh too! What book is that?” On a recent Sunday the only available table was a small table wedged between two large tables. It was not an ideal place to be seated. The owner said, “I’m sorry, honey. It’s all I have.” I said that I was just glad to be seated. Then a booth cleared up after I placed my order, and they immediately moved me into the booth. I didn’t even ask to be moved. My favorite waiter, Chris, will tease me if I miss a Sunday, and he’ll say, “Cheating on us with another diner, are you?” One of these days I might be bold enough to say, “I got crazy and actually wanted some great diner food, but I always miss you guys.”

But, that was the morning. The diner outing is past, and now I loiter in the pharmacy wanting a reason to stay longer. I wander the aisles, but I have no need for anything else no matter how hard I look. I’ve already opened every greeting card that plays sound just to have something to do, and for the faint chance that Hoops & Yoyo would cheer me up. There is no need for anything else in this store. The prescription is ready. It’s time to go home.

Letty’s Report

Hi guys,

I missed blogging with you guys. It’s been a hard time. Today Beatriz had a hard time waking up. We woke up late, but then all the snow outside scared her because we had a long drive to Doc’s office. We woke up late because we had trouble staying asleep, something has been scaring her. Then the snow also scared her, and she called Doc to say we were not coming today. Well, then Doc didn’t listen very well and he said that Beatriz needed to pay for the session if she didn’t come. He also sounded mad. He doesn’t make her pay if  we can’t come because she is sick or if the weather is bad. But then he sounded mad and Beatriz had trouble talking. She has trouble talking when she is scared.

Doc couldn’t understand what she was saying so he said, “Can someone else in there tell me what’s going on?” So, I spoke up, and told him why she was scared. He said he was sorry, and that he misunderstood. But I am still mad at him because he was not nice to Beatriz and she started to cry. The more I think about it, guys, the madder I get at Doc. He’s grouchy sometimes, and Beatriz is very sensitive.

Then we had trouble getting out of bed. Beatriz wanted to go into work early since we didn’t go see Doc. But she couldn’t get out of bed. Doc told me to have her do some tapping and do something called “co-consciousness.” We tried to tap (that’s the Emotional Freedom Technique), but she was too out of it. And I did not understand his “co-consciousness” thing. I wanted to tell him, “Doc, if you were just NICER when she called we wouldn’t be here!” I had extra work because of that cranky guy. I don’t mind having extra work to help Beatriz. I just don’t like seeing her like that.

So, I did the only thing I know how to do. I got all the blankets around Beatriz like a cocoon. She likes the nice white one against her skin because she likes how it feels. So I made sure that one was the first one on her. We cocooned until we had to get up.

It’s not what Doc wanted, but I can only do so much. He can help me out by not being a cranky old man.

I like talking to you guys again.

Letty – 10 years old

A New Psychiatrist

All day today I had a huge amount of fear going into my appointment today with the new psychiatrist. I shook. I imagined getting under the desk at work, and staying there for good. I smelled my lotions again and again and again in attempts to ground myself before my appointment. I was such a wreck that I started talking about the wrong topic during a meeting right before my appointment.

I race over to the new psychiatrist, who is 45 minutes away from work. As I fly into his office he comes out to greet me, and I all I can think of is that he looks exactly like Doc from Back to the Future with the same wild white hair and absent-minded persona. I’m second guessing the choice to come see him as I enter his office. There’s stuff everywhere, and the place has this old, dusty feel to it. I just want to leave, and the moment I think that Doc says to me, “Just breathe. You’re fine.”

He said it not in a condescending manner, but in an empathetic way that got my attention. He turned to me and said, “What brings you to see me?” I started getting that floaty, shaky feeling, and I asked, ” Can I tell you in Cliff Notes version?”

And he responded by saying, “Whatever way that will convey the information to me so that I can help you is fine.”

But, even with Cliff Notes version I immediately ran into trouble with the first few words. He finally stopped me, and asked me to rate my level of stress with 10 being the highest, and 1 being the lowest. I quickly rated myself a 10.

He then stopped me, and had me do the “tapping” technique that I also knew as the Emotional Freedom Technique. I had heard of it, but I was skeptical about it for no good reason. He had me tapping certain acupressure points while I repeated phrases he gave me such as, “I love and accept myself.” I know there was more, but I don’t recall the other phrases.

Believe it or not, I was able to get down to a 4 doing the tapping on myself. I was actually able to start to tell him about the trauma that led me to his office. I didn’t finish the story because we spent so much time tapping. But it was miraculous that I left that office in such a calm state. That has never happened in all the time I’ve ever had to convey that story. And, that my friends, is real progress.