This is what happens when you visit a doctor for solace and actully encounter a bigger nut! A psychiatrist, who perhaps needed more help than I did!
We are getting late”, my husband shook me by the shoulders as he shouted loudly in my ear during his fourth attempt to wake me up at 8.30 am in the morning! I opened one eye and managed to glare at him before retreating into the cosy haven of my Jaipuri quilt. “The doctor will cancel the appointment”, sighed my husband. I turned over and settled even deeper into the comfort of my bed.
Years of insomnia and the resultant daily sleeping pill ensured that I managed to fall asleep only at the crack of dawn each day. In fact, we were scheduled to meet a famous psychiatrist today at 9.30 am in order to seek a cure. A common friend who was as concerned as my husband about it had fixed the appointment and was accompanying us. I got up all groggy-eyed and swaying after my husband bellowed again. I groped my way to the washroom and was yanked to the car the minute I was out and had changed my clothes.
I will let you in on a secret! Much that I pretend to be distressed at my insomnia, I love it! The night is mine to do as I please; reading, writing, music, poetry, flights of fancy….it is delightful!
The car stopped, we rushed into the clinic where we were hailed by the doctor’s junior. “The background please, he said as we sat down to give the preliminary details. Age, occupation, past history of ailment was all being dutifully recorded when my husband coughed, “she gets angry if I am talking on the phone while driving or if the music is loud”. The junior continued writing, “nothing wrong with that”, he replied nonchalantly. “She is anxiety-prone, gets anxious when I am driving a little fast”, my husband repeated for impact. The junior looked at him sternly and said, “fast driving can cause stress to some people. It’s normal.”
“She does not like to attend parties and weddings”, my husband continued. The junior stopped writing and looked my husband squarely in the eye, “nothing wrong with that too, some people are like that”. I looked pityingly at my second half. Nothing was going his way. I wanted to whisper into his ear to be brave and hold off till we got to the doc himself. Thus was just a record of sordid details, the sob story session would be held elsewhere, but I refrained.
Obviously my poor husband looked at this appointment as an opportunity to have his goods examined thoroughly and reign in a loony spouse. Who better than a shrink to relate all his troubles to? Even a junior shrink to start with! “She gets very upset when the boys fight”, he bravely continued. This time both the junior and I turned to glare at him. My husband subsided momentarily just as we were called inside ‘the’ doctor’s chamber.
The doctor made us sit and turned his attention to me. “What do you do?” he asked after reading the recorded details. I head Corporate Communications, I replied. “What is that?” I started explaining about brand management as he cut me off with a “sab lifafebaazi hai ji (it’s all bunkum). I looked at him enquiringly, was he pronouncing judgment on my ailment or my profession? “Well, we don’t do any brand management here”, it was my turn to look aghast (of course not, he was not supposed to, wasn’t he a doctor?!). “What we believe in and practice, he continued, is pure science” (of course, and I needed his science to cure me, not corporate communication, which had probably caused insomnia in the first place). By now my husband was very, very quiet and I was confused.
No brand management here, the psychiatrist reiterated, probably to comfort me! I smiled wanly, not knowing what to say. He leaned towards me and wagged a finger, “what we practice is pure science, as pure as sunlight”. Sure, I nodded my head and hastened to assure him.
“I don’t have a magical cure, (I wasn’t expecting any magic from a man of science, I chimed in with a yes, to show agreement. “No cure, not here, not abroad”, he admonished me, daring me to go and seek the magic abroad. I shrank back in my chair, defeated! Look, I am the who needs help, I wanted to say, shouldn’t this be about me!
All through the session, the psychiatrist had ignored my husband, who by now was bursting at the seams trying to keep all his complaints in. Realizing that the appointment was going to be over soon, he chipped in. It wasn’t just insomnia that needed curing. I evidently needed a stern talking to from a professional, in order to make me change what he termed my ‘anti-social’ behavior. His rant against me not wanting to attend social does and marriages, not wanting to meet up with relatives had never had the desired effect, in fact the opposite! I would obstinately dig in my heels and refuse to go. Now if the psychiatrist could endorse my long-suffering hubby’s complaints then surely I would have no option but to see the error of my ways and amend them. “Doctor, she gets stressed out very quickly. If I drive fast, or if the boys are fighting…”, his voice trailed on as the litany of complaints poured out. By now, I had realized it wouldn’t end well for him too. I grinned, crossed my arms leisurely and settled back into my chair as a good relaxed audience should.
The psychiatrist turned and looked at my husband in disbelief, that look was enough to make hubby falter. Just as his voice was petering off the psychiatrist boomed, “You know baahar (abroad), they are very sensible. There is a reason they do not let anyone but the patient come in alone for consultation. They do not lose focus. Here any one can walk in along with the patient”. Just as I was about to enjoy this tirade, his junior came in to remind him of his pending appointment. With reluctance, he let go of my husband and looked at the third member of our trio, my friend. Weakly my husband took out his kerchief to wipe his brow in relief. Not another squeak out of him thereafter.
“What do you do?, he turned to my friend. “I am life skill trainer”, she said. “Ha”, he said, immensely buoyed up, “but what is the use, you have not been able to impart any life skills to your friend, she cannot sleep” he said as he gestured to me. My friend tittered to hide her embarrassment but sensibly did not retort back. He lectured us some more, wrote a prescription for me and dismissed us.
My husband was very quiet and crestfallen while we returned home. And gripped in the throes of despair! The nutcase he possessed was a tough one to crack! And this was to be his masterstroke to finally tame his belligerent spouse, and sadly he had missed the chance.
“Don’t worry so much, the medicine will work”, I tried to cheer him up, secretly exulting in the knowledge that my nights were safe still, my ‘anti-social’ activities could continue with impunity, Lesser wars would be waged against me at home, and my lost sleep wasn’t going to return anytime soon to plague my sanity. My poor husband had, presumably, encountered a bigger nut! A psychiatrist, who perhaps needed more help than I did!