“You have a lot to live for Kimbers,” he said as we pulled into the pain clinic’s parking lot.
I could feel my blood rush to warm my cheeks. A man, my Dad, with a few uttered words of emotional support in my lifetime, caught me off guard. This was the first time he had mentioned anything remotely related to my mental health since my discharge from the psychiatric unit. I looked down towards the pain clinic forms, not knowing what to say.
“You’ve been through so much in such a little time,” he said with a crack in his voice. “Everyone loves you and wants to see you keep on keeping on. You’re so much more than what makes you sick. You’re the star in your boy’s life Kimbers. And mine.”
With that he patted my thigh, cleared his throat and opened the door.
“Don’t let these assholes use you as a God damned guinea pig. Remember this is your back, not their fucking science experiment,” he grumbled in true Dad form. It was the perfect thing to say to move out of that very awkward moment.
I wrapped my scarf tight around my face as a gust of brisk wind tousled through my hair. It’s amazing how much the temperature dipped from the time we left my home a few hours ago. We picked up our pace and quickly made it through the pain clinic’s doors.
“Kimberly?” a tall woman behind the desk said.
I nodded my head.
“I’m Anne your nurse. How about I take your coat and we head on back to the exam room.”
I looked back at my Dad who was giving me thumbs up.
We walked through a maze of hallways and I was introduced to 2 other nurses whose names elude me. They all seemed really nice. A far cry from the nurses I have dealt with at home.
She guided me to a small exam room and instructed me to take a seat. She took the large stack of forms I had to fill out and said, “It’s a lot of information eh?”
She did the regular nurse things. Blood pressure, temperature, height, weight and how was my pain on a scale of 1 to 10.
“It’s about a 4, but I did just spend 2 and a half hours in a car. Plus my Dad was driving. I think we were almost killed 6 times. That’s actually a good ride.”
We went over my very large chart that my family physician had sent.
“Any other medical conditions?” she asked.
Being afraid of her response, I quietly said, “I have bipolar disorder.”
“Pain can kill a spirit you know. Well I’m sure that you know that. Pain doesn’t help depression and depression doesn’t help it. We totally get that. We fix one and hopefully we can help lessen the other. Sounds like a good deal eh?”
I sighed in relief.
“The doctor is going to take good care of you. There is so much to try and do. We don’t give up like your other doctor did.”
She stood from her chair and helped me get my coat back on.
“We will see you next week. Mrs. M.”
“Thank you. You don’t know how much these means to me.”
“I’m so glad to hear that.”
I made my way back to the front of the office where my Dad was waiting impatiently.
“I think this is a good fit.”
“Good. That’s good.”
I followed him out the door when he turned to me and said, “Hey, you want a free calendar?”
He flipped through the pages and noticed that someone had already scribbled through it.
“I don’t think that was free Dad.”
He smirked, slid the calendar into his coat pocket and hurried back to my car.
Nothing in life is ever free.
You have to work for it.
Some people just have to work harder at it than others.