-The Shawshank Redemption
"This one is what we call 'intermittently compliant.' We can't attribute it to a lack of resources or ability to understand, though—"
I interrupt. "Oh, I understand what an awful patient I am just fine, thank you."
They laugh, my physician and his new nurse practitioner-in-training, and I laugh along with them until the appropriate amount of time for the laugh has passed and they return to the conversation about me, the one that he told me they would be conducting "as if [I] wasn't there."
I don't mind. It's kind of interesting to be a medical case study, to let him use me and my "intermittent compliance" as a learning object for this young would-be practitioner. I was a bit rude to her, really, reluctantly answering the perfectly reasonable questions she asked about my history as she looked over my file. I was tired, she was new, and both of those facts meant little in the face of what she's now discovering with the help of my long-suffering physician: I'm a textbook example of a lousy patient.
There is another pause in the conversation, a place for me to interject, so I do.
"I'm in the middle of renegotiating my contract, you know."
My physician looks marginally intrigued. The new nurse practitioner-in-training looks confused. I press on.
"Instead of doing the three full time jobs I've been doing for the last 6 years, I'm only going to have to do one, maybe one and a half."
My physician purses his lips, scribbles some note on a sheet in my file—a purple one, I think, as though that means something. The new nurse practitioner-in-training busies herself at the sink. I look at my nails. I make two more offerings.
"My son and I are taking swimming lessons together this summer. He wants me to get a bike so that I can ride with him."
More scribbled notes, more confused looks although these are tempered by soft words of encouragement about the benefit of physical activity.
We finish the checkup, doctor and nurse-to-be gently reminding me that when I'm dead, I'll be lucky if my employer sends an arrangement to my funeral ("Maybe the $75 one," the new nurse practitioner-turned-comedian-in-training notes), that they won't take care of my son.
I drive home as I do every three months, determined to do a better job this time, to take better care with what I eat, to monitor my health more closely, to exercise, to get enough rest, to drink enough water, to live as though I want to keep on living--
I want to keep on living. I just don't particularly want to do it by dealing with this chronic (and entirely manageable) illness in a way that is decidedly not intermittent because I'm not quite ready, after 10 years time, to accept that this is not some passing phase but part and parcel of me.
One thing is certain: I don't want the words "Intermittently Compliant" on my tombstone. Time to get busy.
This entry was written in response to the Week 5 prompt at therealljidol. Thank you for reading.