Thursday, April 02, 2009

From A to A

From A to Morris Ave, to Broad St.
Left on Jersey, clinic four blocks past Trinitas Jersey Ave Campus (now closed). See doctor. About 1 1/4 miles to this point.
Over to Elizabeth Ave. Up Elizabeth, stop in Salvation Army store, bought really nice flannel shirt for $4.
Continue to Main Library corner Elizabeth & Broad, checked out book of Chilean poems in translation, & bio about Emily Dickinson & Thomas Wentworth Higginson from new shelves. Crossed street to restroom in Dunkin Donuts. Decided next restroom too far to risk a latte.
Through downtown, left on West Grand. right on Chilton over old railroad bridge, paused to look at track bed & remember Jersey Central trains. Left on Westfield Ave to CVS, filled prescription. Up Stiles Street to Cherry. Home.

I was stupid, not seeing Dr. G since last fall. There's no one at the clinic to notice when I haven't showed up in awhile. No excuse today, the weather was too nice . I walked. A lot. Thursday is good day for "walk in" without an appointment. Bring a book, pick up the weekly sales flyers off someone's stoop.

The receptionist looked me up the 'puter & said my file had been closed. It's a very thick file, My therapist used to let me peek at it, the doctor doesn't. It's 75% standardized forms & paperwork. She said I'd have to fill out a a form & see a social worker. So I filled out the simple form. Check applicable boxes. I don't use cocaine or heroin or abuse alcohol, & if I smoked a little grass at a big party a year ago to be sociable I don't think that's any of their business. I handed in the form. A few minutes later a familiar, attractive social worker came in & said, "Robert? We know you. Doctor G. can see you as soon as he finds your file." Then she crumpled the form & threw it in the garbage. When she left, I fished it out & ripped it up. It had my SS# on it.

Dr. G gave me 20 minutes, a long time for him. I told him about the nurse I met at the supermarket who remembered me from the hospital 5 years ago. "Well," he said, " you're pretty articulate & educated ...." He probably didn't want to add, compared to the demented wife beating meth heads the courthouse sends me. I said I was stupid getting off the program of showing up at least every other month. I also said I thought I needed a therapist or group through the summer. They prefer groups at the clinic. Anyway, I've had my chance with a solo therapist. He fished around in a pile of papers on his desk & came up with a list of groups. From last October - groups are always changing. He suggested one therapist who ran a few different groups, said she was "sort of spiritual, you like that." Then another group that was mostly women & had been together for several years, rare for a group, so it was "like a family." That one didn't sound so promising. I asked if I could see the paper. The latter was run by an MSW, the former by a Ph.D. An MSW is usually grounded in practical stuff, excellent for advice, they have a good Rolodex & know how to use it, they're big on staying focused, & sometimes the client has to say, "Whoa, stop pushing, I gotta talk about this some more. " A Ph.D is fascinated by thought flow, & sometimes the client has to push them in order to deal with something now. Dr. G said he'd think about it, talk to some people, & I'd get a call. I said fine, but only afternoon groups, in the morning I'd bring coffee & not talk. Group leaders at the clinic do recruit members for their groups. I was recruited into one about six years ago, personally lobbied, in fact, my last experience, & it was fine until a large, angry woman prone to violence joined it, bullied everyone, & I told her she ought to be strapped to a gurney & shot full of thorazine.

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