How I Live Now

“So, have you had any dates recently?” Dr Stein says, pen poised over my notes. His pen has a tiger on it, it’s a freebie from a drug company and I’ve got my eye on it.
“Haven’t you been reading my blog?” I fire back.
“Look: I was reading it but you’re too prolific for me,” he says in a mournful tone. “I can’t have notifications from your blog everyday clogging up my work email and…”
“So you mean you’re not following it anymore?” I say, feeling hurt.
“I’m not going to lie to you,” he says. “I just couldn’t keep up with it. It’s no reflection on your writing, which is excellent. I’d prefer you just to give me a summary when I see you.”
“Maybe I ought to do a round-up of important events in the blog every couple of weeks then?” I say.
“That sounds like a good plan. So, how has your mood been?” He says, fixing me with his blue-eyed stare.
“Well I felt that it was dropping a bit so I put the dose of my antidepressant up and…”
“What did you put it up to?” He says. “Ninety or a hundred and twenty milligrams?”
“I put it straight up to a hundred and twenty: I didn’t have any thirties – only sixties, and ninety didn’t do anything last time.”
The theory is that if I put my antidepressant dose up before I’m scheduled to become miserable, it will arrest the downward trajectory of my mood. Once my mood is low it’s too late to do anything about it. Never caught the downward spiral in time yet, but there’s always the hope that this time things will be different, this time I will wrong-foot the depression.
“Well you must keep an eye on things,” he says. “The last thing we want is for your mood to go so high that you can’t have the operation.”
“Maybe I should go back to my parents in the middle of the week so they can see how I am,” I say.
“That seems to be a sensible plan,” he says.
“Shall I fetch Mum? I’m sure she wants a word,” I say.
“Yes,” he says.

Mum is doing the crossword in the corridor.
“Dr Stein has stopped reading my blog,” I whisper to her as I pull her towards his room.
“Mum is in the final of The Times crossword competition,” I tell Dr Stein as we sit down opposite him.
“We are not worthy,” he says, looking impressed, smiling at Mum.
“Thank you,” Mum says, smiling back at him. They share a moment, which is irritating of them.
“So, Mrs Marshall, Tanya has told me that she’s put her antidepressant up. Will you be able to keep an eye on her to make sure that her mood doesn’t go too high and…”
“I thought I could cancel my plans on Wednesday daytime,” I say to Mum “and come back to you after my training and…”
“Yes, of course,” Mum says. “We weren’t going to see her all week but…”
“That’s not advisable,” Dr Stein says.
“You can come and have a relaxing day with us and your orange furry person on Wednesday,” Mum says, stroking my arm.
“I’m worried about the operation,” I say to both of them. “I’m looking forward to the morphine but I don’t want them to cut bits off me.”
“I know darling,” Mum says. “You’re not high then, which is good, or you wouldn’t be worrying about it. Which is something I suppose.”

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