Posts Tagged ‘ OCD’

Girl in the Ghetto: A Tale of Being Defiled by the System

Posted on January 13, 2009

Actual Photo. I'm ballsy when sick.

Actual Photo. I'm ballsy when sick.

I am having an anxiety attack. I cannot breathe. I am walking through the ghetto with tears streaming down my face, absently brandishing my wallet in one hand, while sobbing into my fancy, overpriced “smartphone.” I am wailing about the “injustice” that has been foisted upon me.
Innocent me.
Coddled me.
Woe is me.
Me who jokes about being a germaphobe and having OCD…
Me who is presently convinced that both “self-diagnosis” can now be logged as “official diagnosis.”

Where am I? How did I get here?
Let me back up.

I don’t get sick.
Sure, I see plenty of doctor’s, but mostly for pleasure as opposed to business.
I tell him that I can’t sleep. He writes me up a script for some Ambien. Pleasure.
I tell her that I am concerned about premature aging. She writes me an Rx for topical crème, which will ensure taut facial skin for decades to come. Pleasure.
Since these medicinal journeys are largely elective, I choose my physicians much as any New York girl chooses, well, anything…based on location.
I select those on the Upper East Side and those in Grammercy Park. I avoid Midtown because it’s irritating and avoid the Upper West Side, because there are too many uptight Jewish grandmother types with severe hypochondria. Location, Location, Location.

But now I’m sick. Really sick.

And in my 72nd hour of swollen glands, inability to swallow, fever, and horrid body aches, I deem a non-pleasure generated medical visit necessary.
I peruse the list of 43 “general practitioners” located within 2 miles of home. Location wise, Hoboken is the obvious choice. Like a trendy extension of SoHo, I could go to the doctor and then grab coffee and biscotti while I wait for my prescription to be filled. Genius.
But I can’t swallow the biscotti and I can’t smoke while I drink the coffee and I’d have to call the car service, which necessitates, you know…effort. And energy. Of which I have zero.
Based on the facts that Dr. Gilberto Gastell is a quick .7-mile jaunt from the Boat (a 13 minute walk according to Google Maps) and that he can see me at 2pm, I conclude that proximity (even in a way shady neighborhood) and the promise of drugs by 3pm, win the day. I’m off to meet Dr. Gil.

What a difference a half a mile can make. I cannot fathom that my city views and tree-lined sidewalks are technically so nearby.  I am in another world. I find the address and walk into the office, which can only be described as a half DMV, half Immigration Office.
I have to literally back out of the door, so that the other sick people can re-arrange themselves so that I might join their ravaged motley crew.
There are seven rows with six chairs in each row. Filled. Every last one. Plus several standees. They hack. And sneeze. And they smell. I’m not being mean. They just smell collectively…sick. I suddenly feel like I’m getting hives. I prepare to make a break. Hit up the local Walgreen’s. Sudafed, here I come.
But I can’t get out.  There is no visible path.
The lady with the severely broken English demands my insurance card, and it is then that I notice the Post Office-style plexiglass windows, complete with security door, which only opens on one side at a time. I gingerly lift my side, place my card within the safety barrier, and pull it down until it clicks shut. She takes the card and tosses a clipboard full of forms inside, and motions for me to run along and answer them.
I notice a sign printed in Spanish, with the loose English translation at the very bottom: “Please no ask how long wait. Doctor move fast as can.” Seriously. Can’t make this stuff up.
Just then, a nurse calls Hector Gutierrez into the office and in my first victory in what feels like weeks, Sr. Gutierrez vacates the chair directly next to the wall I am currently smooshed against. I seize the opportunity without bother for the usual analysis of those who might be more deserving of the accommodation. Sorry elderly women and sickly children. This one is mine. It’s MINE, bitches! Muhahahahahahaha! The lady next to me chooses that moment to begin extracting the wax from her ear. The dude next to her is doing the “wake yourself up” snore.  I root around my bag for my antibacterial hand sanitizer, and attempt to quell my thoughts that if I hadn’t arrived with some acutely heinous disease, I’d surely contracted at least seven by now.
I focus on the task at hand. Name. Date of Birth. Emergency Contact. Consent. Sign. Date.
I finish in record time and triumphantly deposit the clipboard in the lock box. The nurse requests my $30 co-pay, and I pull out my MasterCard just as a 300 pound man barrels into me after an unfortunate encounter with an errant chair leg. He gives me a dirty look, but not so much as a cursory “Lo Siento” and limps off, just as the nurse is informing me that this is a “cash-only establishment.”
What. The. Fuck.
This is a Doctor’s Office.
This is NOT illegal gambling. This is NOT a brothel. This is NOT your local drug den (though even THEY accept credit cards at this point…)
I stare back in disbelief, “Um, not even like, personal checks? Just cash?!”
“Si” and she slams the partition between us.
I knock timidly… “Um, hi… is there an ATM around here?”
“Down the block.” Slam.
I grab my coat silently cursing America and it’s shitty healthcare system, me and my “pioneering spirit” which begged to shun corporate life in favor of “freedom”, and it’s Freelancers Union Insurance PPO-grade medical practitioners. I brazenly shove my way out in search of an ATM.

And that’s how I got here. Having an anxiety attack. Not breathing. Walking through the ghetto, tears openly streaming… Not looking even a quarter as crazy as I feel.

In my defense, it was just all so MUCH. I haven’t had even a gulp of fresh air since Friday, and this was not exactly the biscotti-laden transition back into the world that I dreamt of…

That was nearly two hours ago.
Four ignored business calls, two over the top Spanish soap operas, and sixteen resolutions to burn every bit of clothing currently on my person and finally my name is called.

I emerge twenty minutes later with a prescription for 10 days worth of antibiotics.
Uhhhh, yeah… I could’ve done that.
I want a prescription pad for Christmas next year. Seriously. That would totally be the best gift ever. “The Prescription Pad… the gift that REALLY keeps giving!”

“A bodily disease, which we look upon as whole and entire within itself, may, after all, be but a symptom of some ailment in the spiritual part.” ~Nathaniel Hawthorne “The Scarlet Letter”

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Obsessions and Concessions

Posted on September 3, 2008

The Art of Moving with a Partner

The night is April 1, 2006. I am lounging on the floor of my Gramercy Park apartment, which I am scheduled to vacate (as in move out of, not like, go to dinner) in 45 minutes, which is perfect because this episode of South Park is the BEST (the one where the Mormons basically discredit their entire being because they can’t read those silly tablets exactly the same as they did yesterday. Dum Dum Dum Dum Dum.) I can watch this ep and still have 15 minutes left over to throw my belongings into some bags before my boyfriend of 3 months and the three Rastafarian movers he has hired, arrive. So, I sprawl on the floor sipping some coffee. I trust, I chill, I giggle.

(One hour later) They are so high…clearly these are legit Rasta men, not just East Williamsburg posers. It’s cool though…funny actually. I am not concerned. It takes us 12 hours to move. Literally. And at 5:45 am on April 2, 2006, my boyfriend and I stand outside of our new Washington Heights dwelling and watch the sky turn pink with the promise of a new day, a new phase, a new adventure.

My boyfriend has turned into my husband and our moves have gotten markedly more complex since that Spring evening two and a half years ago.

Life evolves, situations and people grow. Particularly when it comes to acceptable moving styles. For instance, I now lean towards boxes and movers with insurance. I’ve learned to find the Zen in throwing things away. I really enjoy it. Perhaps too much. Throughout the past month, my husband has, on several occasions, inquired as to the whereabouts of the girl who thought that 15 minutes of pre-move prep time was sufficient. I replied that she didn’t own a couch. Or a coffee mug. Or guest towels.

I think he secretly misses her and her existentialism. Frankly, I do too (a little).

This is where the art of balancing ones obsessions with a modest amount of concessions comes in. For instance, at 11pm last evening, I wanted to start switching the outlet plates from the yellowing, cruddy 1989 throwbacks to the shiny, clean, chocolate brown plates that I had purchased. My husband looked displeased. I conceded. That can be done later. See? Compromise. I am a master of marriage. Sadly, I don’t think he sees it that way. I think he may be wondering if my sense may have accidentally been thrown in the trash chute along with the 4,000 business cards which bore my maiden name and the journals from 2001 which were too sad to bare. I am not entirely sure he is wrong.

Additionally, moving is not dissimilar to taking a vacation to some exotic locale. Like, say, Siberia.
I have no friends. I am the social equivalent of the hunchback, Ephialtes in the movie “300″, and I forget what a conversation that doesn’t include the words “tired”, “stressed” or “what do we owe you?” sounds like. Normalcy is relative and not as overrated as I once thought.

As an aside, I’ve never been more satisfied. My home is magnificent (truly everything I visioned as a child), my husband is hot, and I leave for Maui on Tuesday. Sorry if the rest of this entry gave a different impression. Take from it what you will.

This makes it all worthwhile. One of the two awesome things I come home to...

This makes it all worthwhile. One of the two awesome things I come home to...

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Not Your Mother’s Apothecary Table…

Posted on August 20, 2008

Why Pottery Barn? Why? Tell me why your designs and tips are the holy grail of ornamental style? How have you somehow convinced me that blue and brown with a splash of golden yellow are the only appropriate colors for decor? Why am I so completely intoxicated by your “Artisan Craftsmanship” and your “Jacquard Loom Pillow Covers”? I adore the way you name your “collections” after children born and/or conceived in Cape Code circa 1988. Harrington Lamps, Kayley Bloom Rug, Monroe Pillar Chandelier, Tanner Coffee Table, Campton Armoire. I could continue. I could probably continue for 155 pages of unadulterated delight and overpriced madness, but I have to work. You, Pottery Barn, have prevented such actions for the past two weeks and my fear in this moment is that I may lose my purchase power and we will be separated for longer than I care to imagine.
Pottery Barn, you are the holy grail of Shabby Chic. You lack the pretension of Restoration Hardware and are loads less chaotic than Pier One. You have helped me fulfill my dreams of 144 inch flowing window sheers, and for that you are the quintessence home furnishing nirvana.

Get your Hundi Latterns here!

Get your Hundi Latterns here!

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