I woke and sat up in bed. I had the day off work for a delivery of an unknown time, as they normally are, and thought about the day. ‘I know what I should do – ’ I thought to myself, ‘check my diary.’ I knew my appointment with the psychiatrist was coming up soon and a week or so later my GP. There was enough cold day light beaming through the gap between the curtains to read and not enough to wake me to the extreme alertness of a stout-black double espresso. I grabbed my diary from the bed side table and flicked through its thick summer to summer pages. The page ribbon was far from up to date and so I had to find the appointment speeding through the pages from the ribbon onwards until the flash of ink marked its page like the reel change of an old cinema film.
I saw it pass, stopped and flicked back through the pages one by one until I found it. My eyes glanced up to the head of the page and the date, my heart raced in uncontrollable panic, ‘Monday July 13th’. I’d missed it. While I had been boringly browsing things in the shops during my lunch break Dr Neil would have been asking reception where I was. ‘Shit, shit, shit.’ It wasn’t just me letting them down by missing my appointment, which is something that would grate my hands furiously in guilt but I really needed to talk to Dr Neil about my recent down patch. It didn’t matter that I felt pretty much okay at the moment it was important to highlight what had happened and whether I should expect it again. I also wanted to talk about the details of the referral to the other hospital or more correctly a Gender Identity Clinic.
I grabbed my mobile phone and looked at the time. It had just gone half eight but I didn’t know whether they were open, should I leave it until later or am I even going to have trouble getting in touch with them? My bed was warm and safe. The duvet pampering my skin telling me to stay in bed but it was no good. Trying to rest with this on my mind was a conflict in itself. I wandered into the study and flicked through some mental health unit letters that are normally scattered on the desk. The top letter just happened to be the last letter that had rearranged my appointment from April to July. ‘No opening times – ’ I thought, ‘sod it, I’ll call them now until I get through.’
Cary from reception answered. This was good because she knows me and it didn’t mean I would be passed from department to department in the never ending maze of the hospital switchboard exchange. I apologised straight away for missing my appointment. “I knew it was coming up – ”, I said in self loathing guilt, “I just happened to check my diary today and realised it was Monday.”
“That’s okay.”, said Cary. “We were wondering what had happened as it’s unlike you not to show up for an appointment.” I was at least thankful that she understood and that it wasn’t an NHS funding zero tolerance of sending me straight to the very beginning; a Monopoly ‘Go to GP’ card. “We’ve already rearranged your appointment. October.”
‘October!’ I thought it so loud I wouldn’t have been surprised if she heard it at the other end of the telephone and may be even Dr Neil who would have been writing some important patient notes at his desk and scratching his head over some confusion would have, for a few seconds, stopped and looked up hearing my October outcry. I kindly asked her if there was anything sooner and together we found something for September.
I returned to my bed and slid under the duvet for ten minutes with the television quietly murmuring away BBC Breakfast. A little disappointed that it would be September before I would get to speak to Dr Neil but then on reflection realised it was only around a month or two away and if I really felt it was more urgent then I could tell them and they would rearrange someone to fit me in. Feeling the way I do at the moment, a bit neutral with a hint of scarlet, blue and white, I think I’ll only play that card if I feel myself slide again.
By the weekend the sun had returned and Sunday was a day for myself. I felt like laying out on the grass reading a book or finishing the blog in my favourite summer denim shorts and a beach-like top sipping on a cloudy lemonade. I also felt a bit trapped. There is nothing duller than a week in the office doing more tedious basket weaving tasks in the humidity of the clicking machine of computer keyboards and then returning to the weekend to only stay in the confines of my garden or in the house. I came to a conclusion. Go to the beach for an hour. Have a nice walk along the waters edge and then come back and enjoy the sun-trap with access to my coffee machine.
The tide was out but a breeze tore up the waters edge producing luscious foaming waves with surfers and kite boarders. The sky was mid summer deep blues and the sea unusually aqua green. I strolled along and suddenly everything felt right again. Instead of feeding off the drug of television and the comfort of a sofa I was freeing my thoughts and truly relaxing for the first time in weeks. I felt youthful again, may be only ten years less but even so there was the thought, ‘why don’t I do this more often.’ I may not be quite where I want to be yet or comfortable but providing the rest of my life is idyllic and active enough may be the rest will just follow.
Until next time