By co-incidence I was given appointments for my latest visit to my shrink and my latest pacemaker check on successive days this week.
Yesterday morning I’d to see my psychiatrist (or nut-doctor as I once referred to him here, before Mwa pointed out that that phrase has more than one meaning) and as my new mode of transport, the 84X, actually passes St John of Gods I opted not to get a lift from Mrs Tin this time and to catch my usual bus instead. I soon realised that I hadn’t fully thought this through.
Unlike the train, a bus is relatively small with a limited number of seats, and one quickly gets to know one’s fellow passengers by sight. For instance, the same two girls stand with me at my stop each morning, and when we get on the same people tend to be sitting in the same seats, so that already I am starting to note when people are missing and obviously on holiday. Not only that, but I have a fair idea of where each person gets off.
And I’m sure they know as much about me, as I’ve got off at the same stop every day since I started getting the bus. Yesterday morning, however, I suddenly stood up six miles short of my usual destination, at a stop just outside St John of Gods. This stop is on a dual carriageway, and St John of Gods is the only possible destination for anyone getting off there. Short of wearing a T-shirt saying “yes, I have a mental problem” it’s hard to see how I could have made it more obvious. It may be just co-incidence, but no-one sat beside me on the bus this morning.
That was pretty much the most interesting part, really. My shrink and I have confirmed that I’m a lot happier, sleep a lot better and am really a whole lot more well than I’ve been for about two years. My only remaining problem is the derealisation, which he has warned me can be notoriously hard to shift. We are trying yet more medication in an effort to break it, so that now by the time I go to bed each evening I am basically a stomach full of pills surrounded by skin.
When the session was over I’d to get another bus the rest of the way to work. Getting on outside St John of Gods is as big a giveaway as getting off there, and things were not helped by the fact that, just as I reached the bus-stop, a fly or something flew into my eye. As a result I got on the bus just outside Ireland’s most famous mental hospital, sat wiping at my eyes the whole way into Dublin, and could almost hear the my fellow passengers thinking “poor fucker, they’ve told him he needs a lobotomy”.
Then today I went to St Vincent’s Hospital (yes, all our Health Institutions are named after saints. I think the government believe that if the term “saints preserve us” actually works then they won’t have to spend any money on making us better) to get my pacemaker checked. I never have any trouble getting time off for medical tests of any kind, since if you black out often enough and spectacularly enough in an office your employers will practically drive you to the appointments themselves, so I left the office mid-morning, got another bus (different route, unlikely to have been any of the same passengers, thankfully) and arrived again at the scne of so many tests, scans and operations. Once again I was strapped to a bed by a young girl who then twiddled things to make my heart-rate rise and fall (I’m hoping to get a lot of hits out of that last phrase).
And guess what? Since I was last there my heart, according to this young lady, has done one hundred per cent of the beating. In other words, my pacemaker hasn’t had to turn on at any time in the last six months.
And while this means that I’m carrying around a thing inside me that’s doing nothing, like a metal appendix, it’s about the best news I could get.