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Health Parenting Personal Essays Women

Special Brownies

You might not believe this story, but I swear every word is true.

I had a ‘new’ friend I met at work (I owned a party rental company and she is one of the foremost event planners in the land) who called and suggested we go to the movies. I love movies. Where else can you stock up on bad things to eat, sit in the dark eating them while watching someone other than you fall apart on the screen? I love movies. 

We met at the theatre and she sat down as the lights dimmed and said, “I brought brownies. Do you like brownies? I put something special in them.” I like brownies almost as much as I like movies. And, something special in them? I’m thinking chocolate chips. Please don’t judge me.

We sit back and she hands me a brownie as the movie starts to unfold. Fifteen minutes later, I remember thinking, “That is the most delicious brownie I’ve ever had, and this movie is going to win every academy award in the world. And, I really think my new friend is going to be a girlfriend for life. She is fabulous. What a great night.” Half way through, I thought to myself, “I gotta have me another one of those brownies.” I will say that I knew they had pot in them by then, but I swear I did not know it when she gave it to me. She would tell you if she were here that I would have to be one stupid chick not to have gotten her point about the brownies when she offered them to me, but I still contend I’m smart as a whip.

A little background here. I had gone to my step sister and brother in law’s house for Thanksgiving and met someone who was singing the praises of Concerta. He believed he had ADD and after spending some time with me at the holiday, he thought I should take the medication too. Thinking back now, I should have realized that maybe it was just the holidays that made me appear to need ADD medication, but then again, I am always all over the place. Anyway, I was on the medication and feeling very focused. It’s great stuff.

So, we finish the fabulous movie, lights go up, and I realize I am one stoned sista. We head for dinner and a restaurant nearby, and I order something or other and my diet coke. A little later, I feel my heart start to race. I’m 56 years old, very single, and my heart hasn’t raced in a long while. Lilly’s talking to me, and I am starting to panic. The food comes, she’s talking away, stoned out of her mind, and I start to try and figure out just how fast my heart is racing. Then my chest starts to hurt. I don’t know this person that well, it’s only our second ‘new friend date,’ but I look at her and think to myself, “I have to say something or I’m going to die here and my daughter will think I was a stoner and she never really knew who I was at all. She will never trust anyone in her life again. She will grow up alone without her beloved (exaggeration for sure, but you know what being stoned does to perspective) mother gone and no one to light her way.” 

I look earnestly across the table and say in my most calm voice, “Lilly, you have to dial 911 right now. I’m having a heart attack.”

She stops dead in mid sentence. “Are you kidding me?”

“No, dial 911.”

She grabs the waiter walking by without a moment’s hesitation, looks him right in the eye and says, “Go call 911 right now, my friend is having a heart attack.” He looks at me, and she says, “Now!”

She comes over to my side of the table and starts talking calmly to me and my heart is racing faster and faster, and I know I’m going to die. The policeman arrives just as the ambulance driver is putting me on the gurney. My friend is telling the EMT guy what happened and the officer walks over. Lilly looks at the officer and says in her most, “I’m a planner and know how to organize all events” voice and says, “Officer, could you step over there for a moment? My friend here needs a minute alone with her EMT.” I’m watching this thinking, “She is one good planner.” He’s looking at her thinking, “She is one stoned chick.”

He says, “No.”

The EMT, who gets it for sure, looks at me and says, “Are you taking anything other than brownies?”

“Yes, Concerta for my quick and brilliant unfocused mind.”

They start to move me out and Lilly is still in planning mode, “Clear this aisle please,” she says clearly. “Bride is coming through.” I really think she said that. She says she didn’t. 

We get into the ambulance and I can hear them talking to the mothership on the radio, “Heart rate 199 and rising. We can’t get a vein for the IV.” The dispatcher says, “Just go now. Don’t keep trying. Head to Southampton Hospital.” I realize this is no joke.

I look at the EMT lady and say, “Am I having a heart attack?”

She puts her hand on my arm and says, “You are going to be fine.”

I grab her shirt collar and say, “Listen, don’t f*^&k with me. Am I having a heart attack?”

“I think so.”

“Well please tell my daughter that I loved her and that I don’t use pot.” She just looks at me.

By the time we get to the hospital my heart beat per minute is no longer on the rise, and it’s clear the danger has passed. We go right in to the check in place and a lady is there to take my information. By now, Lilly and I are laughing. A lot.

“Name.”

“Christine Pot Head.” He he he.

“When was your last period?”

“1992.” 

We crack up, really loud. The information taker is laughing too and a doctor sticks his head in to see why we are all laughing. My business partner who is waiting in the waiting room said later he could hear us laughing all the way out there. Lilly called him from the ambulance. She didn’t know who else to call and planners call people when they are stoned in an ambulance with a new friend they don’t know very well.

An hour later, I’m in an examining room feeling foolishly fine, and the doctor comes in for his final review.

“We see this kind of reaction to pot and Concerta a lot, although never in someone as old as you.” 

We burst into laughter again, and he is laughing too. I’m such an ass, and he has to point it out to me. 

It’s a few years past this near death experience. I’m off Concerta and back to my old lovable ADD self. I haven’t had pot since then, and we have seen many a movie together and laugh a lot about our night at the hospital. 

Usually I think my missives on this blog have a point. This one does not. Enjoy this fabulous Sunday.


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Health Personal Essays

My New Dentist

My new dentist is the most expensive dentist on Earth’s surface. One recent tooth cost $3,200 and it wasn’t even implanted. I look up at him in wonder. I have no idea what he looks like. His eyes are covered by the same thing the guy in Silence of the Lambs wore so he could see Jodi Foster in the dark. And, he wears a mask over his mouth so I don’t give him cooties. And, I still gave him $3,200 for one tooth.

Actually, I love my new dentist, even though by virtue of the fact of what he does, he stands for pain.  

I don’t make excuses about not going. With my new dentist, I don’t call up on the morning of the appointment and pretend I have no voice which doesn’t fool anyone at all, especially the people on the phone who have heard it all before. I do wonder at the fake way in which they always answer, “We’re so sorry. Feel better!” Ha! We all know my line is a lie and so is theirs. Why not just tell the truth? I could call up and say, “I can’t bear the thought of the needle that you pretend to hide, which is two feet long, and is headed to my fragile, sensitive pink gums, and so I’m not coming today. Sorry.” And then they could answer, “No worries, we book two people for each hour because we know the attrition rate for attendance is about 50 percent.” It’s time we all start telling the truth. Isn’t that what Obama was saying this week? “Let’s say out in the open what we say in private.” If it’s good enough for the Middle East, it’s good enough for my dentist.

My new dentist is different than all the others.

My new dentist has great music playing in his torture chamber. He sometimes sings to it which makes me nervous. Just focus. F-O-C-U-S. But he seems to get it right even though he’s clearly multi-tasking. There is a TV above the chair as well. Sometimes I just watch it and can actually not be there while he’s working on me. I know he’s a Republican because it’s always tuned to Fox News. I actually commented on it once, and they offered to change it but I’m sure they would not have been willing to change it to MSNBC and Chris Matthews. When you pay someone $1,600 an hour you really should get control of the channel before you walk in.

I found out he spent a year working on his 38 year old car (ok, not a car, a Porsche) and making it electric. He told me with great excitement (hard to actually see the excitement because of the mouth mask, but I could hear it) that the car will go 100 miles on an electrical charge. Maybe he should be doing something other than dentistry?

I asked him if he cared about my teeth as much as he cared about the car, and he said, “Yes, actually I do.” And, he meant it. It’s hard to find people who care about the service they provide with such force and voracity. My hairdresser definitely doesn’t care about my hair so much. My butcher – no way. And, let us not get into the Gynecologist because it’s so not his fault, but rather mine.

mv5bmtm5mzu4mdcznv5bml5banbnxkftztcwndg0njcxmg_v1_cr710580580_ss90_Awhile ago, he asked me about my discomfort in his office – sort of implying that he had given me no reason to hate coming, which was true. I responded, “I have two words. Marathon Man.” That was the end of that conversation.

I realize that a fear of something that consistently hurts you is not a phobia at all but rather self preservation. This fact means it’s ok to have ambivalence about my dentist. Thank God because I really don’t need any more guilt in my life.

Categories
Health Personal Essays Women

My Blind Therapist

I went to a blind therapist for nine years. Going to a blind therapist to help see yourself better is absurd. I can see that clearly now.

My friend Chris is a therapist. She actually has helped me more than the blind man did; and we split the check at the end of our sessions. I can’t get my insurance to pay for our dinner or lunch (actually it’s hard to get insurance to pay for anything these days, but that’s another posting). Nonetheless, she has such amazing insight into my life that I realize that sometimes listening to friends who know you really well is much smarter than listening to someone you pay and tend to not tell things to because you want them to think you are a good patient making progress that they can write about in their next paper. Damn, that is a run on sentence, but I think it’s worth it. Also, I get to feel good at the end of our times together because I think I help her too. You don’t get to help your therapist, it’s a one way street and that’s not good for curbing personal narcissism, nor your self esteem.

There is no shame in therapy when you are a New Yorker.  Most of my friends have been in some kind of therapy or other. When I mention it in circles from my midwest past, they think it’s odd indeed. Ok, maybe not odd, but rather pathetic or scary. It always surprises me that people think therapy is strange or shows something lacking in your personal make up. An old boyfriend of mine used to say, “An unexamined life is a life that didn’t go very far outside the box it started in.” I like examining my behavior and the behavior of those that have had an influence on me.

Presenting yourself to a blind therapist is not easy.

“You might not have noticed, but I’ve gained some weight over the past few months.”

“Really, how much?”

“Fifty pounds.”

I’m not telling you what he said next. But it was at that moment that I knew I needed to leave the therapy.

He also said some amazing things.

“Just when are you going to start behaving the way you want to be remembered?” comes to mind. How good is that? I wake up many a morning and decide that is the day I’m going to start acting the way I want to be remembered. Like the New Day, New Diet plan that after ten years I still believe is going to start each morning, (talk about self deception) by noon I’ve done something or other that is not how I want to be remembered. Alas.

An old boyfriend who died recently, Kenny, went to a therapist four days a week for twelve years. None of us who cared about Kenny  saw one bit of difference in his destructive behavior and finally talked him into quitting. We all met for dinner after his last session, and he sang the praises of his therapist. “You will not believe how honest he was in the last session. He said the only thing I could fault him for was not stopping the therapy sooner when it was clear it wasn’t going anywhere.” None of us said a word. Kenny was not a stupid man. He stood before the Supreme Court of the United States of America – twice. Blind is not just about seeing through your eyes.

I think women have a harder time in therapy then men. We tend to want people to like us and confronting the therapist can often be part of the treatment. I never did that really. Nor have many friends I have who are in therapy. Men don’t seem to care. “I’m paying him,” one guy friend said to me at dinner when I questioned the roughness of what he said to the therapist, “I don’t really care what he thinks.” I want to be that person, not just in therapy, but in life. “Hi, I’m Christine, and I care what I think, not what you think.” What freedom! I’m cured!

After I stopped seeing the blind therapist I found out he became a Rabbi. Does that make him a Rabid Therapist? Tee hee. I’m not Jewish, but my daughter is, and I wondered when I heard he became a Rabbi if I would have converted to Judaism if I was still seeing him when he had his ceremony or whatever right of passage makes you a Rabbi. After all I became a narcissist when he specialized in narcissism.

This next part may seem far fetched, but I assure you it’s true.

My ex husband emailed me last fall to say that the blind therapist turned Rabbi had been in touch and asked him for money for his campaign because he was running for Congress. I checked it out and sure enough, the blind therapist, turned Rabbi had turned candidate. I knew I’d made progress because I actually contacted the blind Rabbi Therapist Candidate to tell him I thought that was extremely tacky. He agreed and apologized profusely. Turns out my ex was on a list that he was given to solicit, and he didn’t catch it.

I realize that being in therapy is sort of like having a life preserver while bobbing up and down in the large ocean of one’s life. “I’m in therapy and will find out why I don’t tell you the truth.” As if the why makes it any better. It’s like the Catholic confession. Be a terrible person all week and no worries; say you are sorry in confession and poof, it’s gone and you are no longer responsible. Or, in Judaism, when God wipes the slate clean each year and you get a big do over the next. I love Judaism for that reason alone.

I’m still examining my life, but have found other ways to do it. I am going to stick with writing which is a form of therapy right? It’s much less expensive. You don’t need to rush to make the appointment time. You don’t have to wonder if you are the favorite patient or not. The list goes on and on.